- Generation Z is defined by the Center for Generational Kinetics as the group of people born after 1996.
- Traditional retailers are still learning exactly how to target younger shoppers whose interests differ from millennials. Most teens look to peers rather than advertisers for influence.
- Social media and the rise of influencers have allowed teens to create and popularise their own brands rather than buy into trends.
- Some of these young designers have had their brands repped by famous musicians and influencers like Lorde and Kylie Jenner.
Though most traditional retailers aren’t certain about Gen Z yet, what they do know is that younger shoppers lack brand loyalty and spend more money on food than on clothing. Today’s teens “gravitate toward brands that promote a diverse, gender-neutral, edgy, and above all, authentic, vision. The old rules that the fashion industry has lived and died by (like status symbols and mass trends) ring hollow to them,” Refinery29 reported.
Gen Z also spends a lot of time on social media. 92% of US teens go online daily, and 24% are online almost constantly, according to a 2015 report by the Pew Research Center. And their social-media leveraging power has been an asset in helping teens build their own clothing brands and launch businesses that represent what they stand for and, ultimately, make them money.
Teni Adeola, fashion designer and founder of the clothing brand Slashed by Tia, is just one example of an entrepreneur using social media to build an internationally known brand. In addition to being a student at the New School, Adeola manages a showroom, runs an e-commerce brand, and has had a fashion show in Paris. Her designs have been worn by stars like Lorde, SZA, and Kali Uchis, and it all started with social media.
“I met some models who had a huge following. They were like, ‘I like [your clothes], I’ll model it, and post it on Instagram,'” Adeola told CNBC.
She’s not the only one who has found success this way. Many other young designers have recently found commercial success, having their work worn by celebrities or being shouted out in major publications. Keep scrolling to learn more about them:
Isabella Rose Taylor has found commercial success at 16, selling her namesake brand in stores like Nordstrom and Gap. When she was just 13, Taylor made her debut at New York Fashion Week, where she was the youngest designer to ever participate.
In 2017, Taylor expanded beyond clothing and launched a home decor line with Pottery Barn Teen.
Taylor has been featured in Teen Vogue, Elle, Forbes, and Entrepreneur, and has made multiple TV appearances.
Source: Business Wire
Slashed By Tia is a brand founded by 20-year-old Teni Adeola. Designs typically sell for upwards of $US150 online, and she also creates custom pieces for celebrity clients.
Adeola’s designs have been worn by stars like Lorde, SZA, and Kali Uchis.
She spoke to VFILES about her goals for the future: “In five years, I’m not on like, Squarespace battling to fix my site anymore. I have a team, but I’m strictly designing, and my clothes are in stores I shop in now.”
LAMBERT is owned by 19-year-old Tyler Lambert. Celebrities like Kylie and Kendall Jenner have been spotted in his clothes.
When asked about how he spread the word about his brand, Lambert told Teen Vogue, “A lot of it was through social media.”
Source: Teen Vogue
Luka Sabbat, 20, is an actor, stylist, and entrepreneur. He stars in ABC’s “Grown-ish,” has modelled for designers like Tommy Hilfiger and Dolce & Gabbana, and has over a million Instagram followers. He recently attended the 2018 Met Gala.
While he himself is not a designer, Sabbat’s personal website features a curated shopping tab selling designer products he promotes for hundreds of dollars.
Kyemah McEntyre’s career was boosted by social media when the prom dress she designed and crafted for herself went viral. Since earning Internet fame, McEntyre has launched her own brand, Mind of Kye.
View this post on Instagram
As an artist I have a completely different point of view compared to most individuals. I am extremely analytical and observant. Throughout the world, we have people who do not notice each others essence and humanity. We Stunt our collective spiritual growth by allowing assumptions and stereotypes to cloud our mind and thus our physical reality. We let these negative ideas get the best of us, and in turn a world of isolation is manifested by our lack of sensitivity and desire to sympathize with each other. This results in a world in which people live within the confines of their own space, isolated from each other and separated from the rest of the world. Sometimes we get trapped in our own prejudice ways. We don't notice how the idea of a particular type of person changes the way we live our lives. The most creative people are the ones who step out of their comfort zone and take advantage of the world around them. My abilities as an artist allows me to experience the benefits that versatility fosters. Being exposed to all kinds of people and cultures is the muse for my artwork. I am an aspiring artist who is very passionate about the connection between art and the world. I believe that in order for society to gain a wider horizon, we have to be willing to acknowledge other people from differences, beliefs, morals, and values. #kyebreaktheinternet I love you guys, because of you all I continue to keep pushing no matter the circumstance. Let's try this again ✊????????????
McEntyre’s designs have been seen in New York Fashion Week, The New York Times, and on the Red Carpet. She’s now 21 but was still in high school when she starting gaining recognition for her work.
Vejas Kruszewski, now 21 years old, won the prestigious LVMH Prize in 2016, at the age of 19. While many retailers are still trying to pin down Gen Z, he seems to have a better idea. Kruszewski told Vogue, “It’s not about being in every store, but it’s about being in the right stores at the right time.”
Like many of these designers, he met his business partner through social media. His most recent line is called Pihakapi.
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