The Autumn 2021 Trends That Are In, According to 5 Gen Z Fashion Experts

Gen Z hasn't just made us self-conscious of our side-partings. They've made us embarrassed of our skinny jeans and brought us the word "cheugy" (google it, if you dare go down that hole). But it's not all negative. This up-and-coming generation is also more politically active and socially conscious and has some big thoughts on fashion, especially when it comes to sustainability. But does that mean they dislike the trends that are coming up for autumn/winter 2021 and are completely rejecting classic fashion brands?

As I'm very much a millennial born in the early '80s, I'm unable to tell you what Gen Z actually thinks about the upcoming season, so I reached out to Depop to give me the intel. If you didn't already know, the resale site now has over 26 million users, and of those, 90% are considered Gen Z. It is arguably one of the places to find out about Gen Z fashion. Depop reached out to five of its sellers and buyers and asked each one to review one of the big power fashion house collections for the coming season. Each one gave some interesting Gen Z takes on the runway looks, so keep scrolling for more. 



(Image credit: @gingertom__/@areaeighteen)

Reviewing Prada is Tom, who runs Area Eighteen, a brand that advocates for gender-fluid fashion by blurring gender lines across product selection and styling. He started out in 2018 selling cute vintage clothes in his nana's spare bedroom. Today, Area Eighteen exists as a space to represent the underrepresented and as a source for the finest high-quality vintage.

As a brand that advocates for gender-fluid fashion, we were over the moon to see a mixture and a balance of masculine and feminine silhouettes throughout Prada's A/W 21 presentation. Our eyes gravitated towards augmented shoulders, flowing skirts and bunched-up, ruched sleeves. In a post- (mid?) pandemic world where work and loungewear have merged together, we feel like people are starting to consider what work clothing may look like once we’re all "free." 

Self-expression may be at an all-time high, similar to the roaring twenties after the 1918 pandemic and First World War, and it's highly likely that the population will be more inclined to dress more extravagantly for everyday situations. What was a normal day is now a celebration, and it feels like Prada is letting us know that faux fur and glitter jackets are a big mood for the Tesco shop.

This show was a collaboration with Raf Simons, which is evident particularly in the slouchy, extra-long trousers, careful layering and youthful touches. Skintight mesh clothing on men is a trend Gen Z has picked up on recently, and the longline coats with big balloon sleeves and intricate button detailing were pieces that really caught our attention in the show.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Prada)


(Image credit: Courtesy of Prada)


(Image credit: Courtesy of Prada)



(Image credit: @janettojo)

Depop seller @janettojo is reviewing Dior. She's 22 years old and just finished a degree in psychology and is now going to work on her shop full-time. She feels most inspired when she's watching '90s and early '00s movies.

This collection is such an interesting spin on the dark-academia aesthetic, with muted grey and black tones running through the entire collection. It's giving me Audrey-Hepburn-meets-preppy-schoolgirl vibes, which is a combination I didn't know I needed to see but that I adore nonetheless.

As a lover of headbands, silk scarves and knee-high boots, I was very pleased with the styling choices made. One of the biggest standouts for me is the grey two-piece suit—the flare of the pleated skirt reminds me a lot of the Dior New Look silhouette. The collection obviously draws a lot of inspiration from the aesthetic of Japanese schoolgirls, with white shirts, pinafores and pleated miniskirts all being featured. I especially love the Kogyaru-inspired looks with the white socks, which is something I will definitely be incorporating into my personal wardrobe.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Dior)


(Image credit: Courtesy of Dior)


(Image credit: Courtesy of Dior)



(Image credit: Courtesy of Olivia Tuffrey)

Next up is Olivia, a self-proclaimed Depop addict, who is reviewing Chanel. She is passionate about sustainable fashion and has her own zine, Mad About Doin', which promotes circularity in fashion and slow-fashion culture.

The first thing that caught my eye with the Chanel A/W 21 show was the brown palette. It's been creeping into our wardrobes for some time, but I'm thrilled that it will still be a trend and much-loved colour choice for the season coming up. Plus, this palette teamed with bursts of pink and flashes of orange and blue proves just how versatile it is.

There is a chic yet very Gen Z approach to each look in Chanel's A/W collection. The wide-leg suit trousers, delicate collars and scoop necks—plus the cutesy slip dresses and cropped blazers—all with a slightly oversized feel, are exactly what Gen Z are looking for.

In terms of pieces, I'd love to strut through London on my way to work wearing the black-and-baby-pink floor-length fur coat, which I'd pair with my chunky black ankle boots, a classic tote and a low bun. Putting a Gen Z spin on things, I would love to style the brown satin wide-leg trousers with my oversized white poplin shirt, a pair of fresh white Nike Jordans, a Y2K brown shoulder bag and lots of gold chains and rings.



(Image credit: Courtesy of Chanel)


(Image credit: Courtesy of Chanel)


(Image credit: Courtesy of Chanel)



(Image credit: @notjusttrash)

Reviewing Balenciaga is Molly, who is based in Brighton and initially built up her following as an Instagram influencer when she was just 17. She pivoted to using her creativity to rework, upcycle and sell vintage on Depop. Molly counts singer Beabadoobee as a top buyer and has actually styled her for her music videos. Her ultimate dream is to be a full-time stylist.

Being sentenced to life in lockdown this past year has led to much being moved online. This extends to fashion shows as well. Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow is a digitised snapshot of Demna Gvasalia's future predictions of a life post-COVID. The show is extremely aware of its context: The COVID experience has left many of us feeling as though the world we once knew has died, but the clothing suggests we're ready to start fighting back.

The runway, to me, symbolises the stages of commercial to consumer, supply and demand and its impacts on our ever-changing world. The way in which the clothes were styled and the contrast used in each individual outfit is striking but also extremely relatable to my generation. We are a generation who understands our purpose but lacks the respect from our elders to make the change we all so desire. Contrasting a suit of armour with a floaty dress or an oversized jacket with flip-flops outlines this confusion.

I think it's safe to say that lockdown has brought out the DIY side of us all. We're moving in a more sustainable direction and learning how to rework and customise our old clothing. Balenciaga's collection comes through as forward-thinking, with looks made up of shorts sewed on top of jeans, old-style workwear jackets and ripped denim and knitwear. It suggests that the brand is taking a more sustainable stance by using old fabrics to repurpose clothing, which is sure to stand out to Gen Z.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Balenciaga)


(Image credit: Courtesy of Balenciaga)


(Image credit: Courtesy of Balenciaga)



(Image credit: Courtesy of @pattonstudio)

Finally, Rumbi, 25 and based in Nottingham, is reviewing Hermès. Rumbi is heavily inspired by Y2K pop culture relics like Moesha, Girlfriends, The Fresh Prince and Nollywood (Nigerian film industry). She loves dramatic pointed mules, little chiffon tops and G-strings with diamanté details at the back.

At first glance, the collection has all the classic autumn/winter staples that one would expect to see: long sleeves, high necks, embroidered sweaters and my all-time favourite staple, leather trousers. But of course, it would not be a Hermès collection without a unique, elegant twist on the classics, and this collection definitely delivers. I was thrilled to see broad-shouldered jackets, mid-length dresses, trench coats tightly cinched at the waist and an array of elegantly androgynous silhouettes which conjure imagery synonymous with a chic femme-fatale aesthetic, and that's right up my alley.

Furthermore, the collection artfully draws upon my favourite traditional autumnal colour palette, from a rich, chocolate brown to a deep red as well as navy blue, midnight black and a touch of beige for the ultimate nod to sheer luxury.

The pieces that stood out include the crisp, dark denim trousers with fine stitching and leather trims as well as the delectable structured leather jackets. I'd definitely wear the chocolate-brown jacket with contrasting panels and matching trousers with a pair of brown wellies and a tweed flat cap. I'd also be sure to wear matching leather gloves to keep the frostbite at bay and spice it up with a thick tortoiseshell resin ring over the gloves.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Hermès)


(Image credit: Courtesy of Hermès)


(Image credit: Courtesy of Hermès)

Want more? These are the biggest autumn/winter 2021 fashion trends to know. 

Elinor Block