How Gen Z is changing fashion

Photo by Freya Griffiths

Fashion has the ability to allow people to celebrate their individuality and creativity. With fashion having a role in culture, society, religion and history: Nerve Now speaks to 5 university students on Generation Z’s approach to fashion.

Younger consumers are becoming concerned with the social and environmental backgrounds of brands. With this changing Gen-Z shopping habits, brands are aligning their produce with these values. But with the brands that aren’t, they are slowly being avoided.


19-year-old student at Bournemouth University, Nell Antick, explains how she belives that fashion is a way to visually express herself. 

What do you think of dress codes? 

"At secondary school, we were always told that dress codes make everyone equal. But weren’t we always told to express ourselves too? Feeling comfortable and creative in what I wear is an important part of my life. Dress codes degrade this. I also found at school that there was a significant difference in the way school dress codes treat male and female students, this was always down to how certain parts of girls’ clothing supposedly distract boys. There have been many protests about how school dress codes attack girls by body-shaming and blaming them for sexual harassment. Dress codes need to change if we want to see all genders raised equally and bring about change in the sexist system of today."


21-year-old student, Matt Simm, has an interest in shoes and fashion. He believes that fashion reflects who someone is through their personal style.

Why did you start collecting shoes?

"I have always loved shoes and I feel so grateful when I can get the new releases of Nike. All of the different models, eras and colourways that are associated with them, that is why I collect. Retailers have implemented a raffle system or first come first served system which makes you feel so lucky to get the shoe if you can."


18-year-old student in Epsom, Holly Cox, spends time selling handmade pieces on her Depop page and has an eco-consious approach to fashion.

How do you think Gen Z has changed fashion?

"I think Gen Z has really changed people’s attitudes and outlooks on fashion. More and more people are finding their own style and are not afraid to wear what they feel comfortable in. Gen Z has also trend recycled by bringing back certain parts of 90s and 00s fashion. Although there is a clear style in this generation, I believe more people are deciding to dress in their own unique way and by doing this, it has encouraged so many others to wear what makes them happy."


Although Gen Z is somewhat more aware of fast fashion and its environmental consequences, many would ask why fast fashion is still thriving. A report by ‘thredUP’ revealed that the second-hand market is supposed to hit $64billion in the next five years, overtaking fast fashion by 2029. But Gen Z is also seduced by what is ‘new and now’, fast fashion retailers churn out these on trend pieces every day, with many young consumers still supporting these brands.

Moreover, as many Gen Z consumers focus on being conscious with their purchases, they are sharing information from animal rights organisations such as PETA and their fur-free or against animal testing campaigns. In 2017 and 2018, several luxury brands such as Gucci, Burberry and Versace pledged to go fur-free.

Gen Z has also shown a great interest in unisex clothing through oversized fits and loose fit jeans and many women browse the men’s section to find these pieces. There has been a growth of genderless fashion, defying the constructs of who wears what and clothing designated to certain sexes. For example, ASOS’s clothing line ‘Collusion’ creates clothing for all bodies not just a specific gender. The concepts of masculinity and femininity are ever-changing, challenging what is conventional for men and women to wear. In the 1940s, manufacturers settled on pink for girls and blue for boys and this has been carried through to now. Gen Z see gendered colours as outdated and look for fashion with less stereotypes, less sexism and less prejudice.