I never expected to have an existential crisis about my emoji usage but we’re in the year 2021 so that’s pretty much par for the course. For context, when I was asking my Gen-Z cousins about fashion trends, I also discovered they would never use the laugh-cry emoji. I hate to break it to you my fellow Millennials but one of our most-used emoticons is a signifier that we’re no longer relevant (well, at least that’s how I’ve interpreted it *inserts laugh-cry emoji*). The good news is that while I might be, ahem, “old” in some ways, Gen-Z fashion trends are something I can get on board with.
I spoke to a range of Gen-Z influencers from all over the world—from Indonesia to the UK—on the biggest trends for 2021 and what they're wearing right now. I also spoke to Depop, which currently boasts over 26 million users, of which 90% fall into the Gen-Z category. The top five searched-for trends, which they told me don't seem to be budging at all right now are, in order: North Face Puffer, Jordan 1, Balenciaga, Brown North Face Puffer, and corset top. Depop is also seeing popularity surge in resin rings and a +800% increase in searches since September (thanks to the likes of Bella Hadid wearing the jewellery). An interesting collection of very '90s-style looks.
But what do people who identify as Gen Z make of all this? Do they agree? From Awa, a Swedish singer based in the UK to Jade, a creative consultant in the U.S., there's one consistent theme that emerged: nearly every Gen-Z trend they told me about seems to be based on an originally '00s or '90s look. While I might have experienced these the first time around, I do like the latest updates on the 2021 versions. So keep scrolling for everything you need to know on the biggest Gen-Z trends right now.
"I love Netflix shows like Girlfriends, I love to see that representation on screen with women like Tracee Ellis Ross, which makes you feel like you can do what they're doing. Plus, the fashion is so great, I'm really into small '90s/00s looking tops right now. In general, though I'm also trying to be more aware of my footprint and buying things that last for longer."—@thisisawa
"For me, I'd probably say relaxed trousers. They're like the acceptable form of sweats to wear out. They can be chic, minimal, and elegant without doing too much, whether you throw on an oversized blazer, a tank, or a fun print. My whole style is based around elevated basics and I think loose pants are a staple!"—@jadeswildparty
"I would say, pattern clashing is a big one, thinking outside the box a little when piecing an outfit together. A lot of bloggers and influencers I follow are really on the hype with clashes and mixing different textures/layers. I’ve noticed oversized/early '90s/'00s styles are becoming more popular too."—@anishakalsi
"Before the pandemic, it was Gucci, Gucci, Gucci, and bursts of colours. But now it's more loungewear and a laid-back look. In terms of shoes, I think what’s in trend now is Prada and Gucci's chunky loafers—this is almost the new Balenciaga Triple S in my country."—@nuhevita