Gen Z Has a Lot to Say—3 Rising Fashion Girls Proving Why We Should Listen
Gen Z Has a Lot to Say—3 Rising Fashion Girls Proving Why We Should Listen
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Gen Z Has a Lot to Say—3 Rising Fashion Girls Proving Why We Should Listen

Gen Z Says is a series where we tap different members of Generation Z who will give us the latest insight on what’s cool in the fashion space.

Undoubtedly, no matter the time period, the younger generation has always had an effect on what’s deemed “cool” or popular in the industry, but one can also counter that with Generation Z—it’s a force that is unlike any other. Whether you agree or respectfully disagree with their stance on skinny jeans, you can’t deny that their confidence and their pull on what’s trending are unmatched. They are always willing to experiment in the realm of style, are championing conversations surrounding sustainability, and, most of all, aren’t afraid to speak their mind and ask for better when deserved.  

Although I still qualify as a member of the generation (Hello, fellow ’98 babies!), I’m constantly learning from my younger counterparts on a daily basis, and my older teammates are always curious to know what’s new on the more youthful scene. The industry is also taking note, as brands of all sizes are investing time and money into capturing the attention of Gen Z. Just look at Marc Jacobs, who launched his Heaven collection based on the rising aesthetic of kidcore, or Nike creating an in-house shopping app dedicated to younger women. Whether or not you’re following the path the younger generation is creating, it’s clear their momentum isn’t stopping anytime soon.

We’re always on the lookout for new voices to speak on style, and this buzzing generation felt like the perfect place to start. Ahead, we tapped three rising cool girls who are making their own space in the sartorial world and asked them everything we’ve been dying to learn about them (and Gen Z). From their stance on personal style to how this past year has changed their confidence, fashion sense, and overall connection with their platform, you’re going to want to listen to what they have to say. We promise that with just one look at these girls’ outfits you’ll want to quickly hit follow. Trust me—each of their perspectives is even better than their ’fits, which is why we’re bringing you a special, individualized story from each of them in the coming months. So read on, stay tuned, and get ready for a whole lot more of Gen Z Says. 

Meet Nawal. She’s known for her elevated take on modest fashion and has created an online audience that’s rooted in sisterhood. She's creating space for modest style in Australia, and her style meets the lines of edgy, retro, and cottagecore. 

What inspired you to start creating your own content online?

I always admired modest-fashion influencers based in the UK and U.S. They were so ahead of the time and very expressive. In Australia, I saw the lack of diversity for so long, and I thought I would post my outfits for fun, and if it helps someone else, then that would be a bonus! In Australia, we didn’t have many modest-fashion companies, zero modest-fashion representation, and a lot of women had a similar wardrobe due to the lack of resources. I wanted to help other girls experiment and let their creative side out without having to jeopardize religious or cultural values. 

What is unique about your approach to fashion content?

I really do preach authenticity. I know it sounds cliché, but I love telling my sisterhood online to have fun with fashion, dress in a way that makes you feel confident, and never feel pressure to conform. My mom always dressed with her own unique flair, and she let me embody this idea that fashion doesn’t look one way. 

Now more than ever, people are paying attention to what the younger generation is doing in terms of social media, fashion, pop culture, etc. Why do you think the attention toward Generation Z versus other generations is so much more amplified, and how do you feel about being part of that grouping?

I think it all comes down to social media and the fact that we are present, conscious, and unapologetic. We have access to so much information, and although it’s a good thing, we also understand a lot of bad things. Gen Z vocalizes issues with the power of social media and places this overdue pressure on industries to change their ways. I’m so happy to be a part of this next generation that speaks up on everything from worldly humanitarian crises to diversity and authentic representation in media. We want change, and we’re using all the tools to do so.

What impact do you hope your generation has on the fashion industry?

I would hope we represent real women, real bodies, real stories, and, overall, real humans. Young Nawal would have loved to see an empowered and educated Muslim woman in the fashion industry. I would hope we change things for the better.

I’ve noticed that, for many people, this past year has changed the way we view personal style and beauty. How has this changed for you? 

It allowed me to be more experimental with beauty, especially because I was confined inside and could have some fun with it! I also naturally put on some weight due to high stress and zero physical activity, and I became very insecure coming out of it all. I used the time to find myself again and get back into what styles make me happy and confident. 

Describe your style in three words. 

Groovy, vintage, and modest.

Are there any brands or pieces you particularly love at this moment?

In terms of trend, I’m so into Penny Lane coats. I need to get one for myself.

I’m also loving chunky jewelry, ’70s disco boots, abstract prints, grunge ’90s “rockstar” outfits, and something I always love are fun bandanas styled with my hijab. 

Fashion, and how it’s portrayed in the media, has its own way of storytelling. What story do you want your platform or work to tell?

I would want it to tell the story of a Lebanese Australian Muslim hijabi girl who, besides her constant identity struggles and societal obstacles, found love in fashion. She saw the need for representation and authentic conversation so took it upon herself to be that person. I would want my platform to be told to be a place of peace, empowerment, connection, and friendship. My platform isn’t just statistics to me, but it’s a sisterhood. 

Meet Devin. She’s known for her Y2K-inspired ’fits that look like they could have been taken straight out of Paris Hilton’s closet. She’s not afraid to step outside of the norm and has quickly gained a mass following due to her unique sense of style, message of confidence, and carefree social media essence.

What inspired you to start creating your own content online?

It was around quarantine that I started to say, “You know what, enough of wearing sweatpants and feeling blah.” I would experiment with so many different outfits and bribe my little sister with candy to take pics of me in every little corner of my house. People then started to recognize my love for fashion and the way I exude my fun personality through my ’fits as well. It was so new to me, but I was also so grateful for it because fashion has always been my passion. Experimenting with outfits during quarantine was my form of being creative and escaping from most of the hard days where fun seemed to get further and further. I get a lot of inspiration from my mom, who inspires me every day. She is the real-life Carrie from Sex and the City to me, and my love for fashion purely stems from her.

What is unique about your approach to fashion content?

I am a firm believer in being yourself. The way I feel my best self is through the outfits I wear and photos I take on my Instagram. I don’t like to follow the norm or do things because it is what is trendy, and not everything has to be strictly coordinated. I just like being myself and making people feel the confidence to do something that everyone may not love. I resonate with the Y2K pop era. Growing up, the only thing my mom let my sisters and I watch was Beyoncé’s B’Day DVD of music videos—I might as well be her. That era has always stuck with me and given me the confidence to incorporate that cultural element into my personal style and overall personality. 

Now more than ever, people are paying attention to what the younger generation is doing in terms of social media, fashion, pop culture, etc. Why do you think the attention toward Generation Z versus other generations is so much more amplified, and how do you feel about being part of that grouping?

I am so happy and proud to be a part of this grouping. First off, the Gen Z group is one that is extremely creative, unique, and of all different tastes. Not only is this group very powerful in terms of trendsetting, but I think that we have such a fun and optimistic outlook on most things. Whether it be going out there and putting on a crazy cottagecore outfit or a fun “baddie” Y2K club fit, we appreciate so many different flavors and are so accepting of one another.

What impact do you hope your generation has on the fashion industry?

I hope that my generation pushes the fashion industry to think outside the box. I think sometimes many designers do things because they are safe and know it will work. Fashion should be about taking risks, revisiting the past, and not sticking to any norms or status quo—like the Marc Jacobs Heaven collection. This is something that I feel like our generation has influenced. It is fun, vibrant, and bizarre. Fashion should be all about that!

I’ve noticed that, for many people, this past year has changed the way we view personal style and beauty. How has this changed for you? 

This year, I knew I had to stay true to myself and stick to my roots. Raised listening to Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Britney, that was who Dev always has been. I began to just do me, and people loved that I would reference my favorite Y2K songs just because genuinely that is all I listen to. It’s the little things that changed the way I viewed my personal style. As far as beauty, I am someone who has always loved a natural, fresh face with lots of blush. I can’t resist! Lately though, I have been experiencing colored eyeliner, which has been a blast. I think everyone should try to shift their style to where it feels right for them and never stop exploring.

Describe your style in three words. 

Funky, timeless, and unexpected.

Are there any brands or pieces you particularly love at this moment? If so, please list!

I particularly love anything vintage designer. Currently, I adore vintage Fendi Baguettes, Manolo Blahnik heels, Chanel rimless glasses, and cult-favorite Jean Paul Gaultier sets. 

In terms of trends, huge, chunky rings have always been a staple to my style, so ones from La Manso and BonBonWhims have been my favorites.

I also love to experiment with fun hair looks with 2000s-inspired plastic clips that you can find at the dollar store.

Lastly, brands I'm loving at the moment are With Jéan and Mirror Palais.

Fashion, and how it’s portrayed in the media, has its own way of storytelling. What story do you want your platform or work to tell?

I want my own platform to tell a story about self-love and finding creativity, vibrancy, and comical adventure through the clothes you wear. I am so grateful to get the DMs saying that I serve as a confidence booster through the way I portray myself because that is what I want my platform to serve as. I am a pretty goofy person who, most of the time, is either watching Family Guy or Rick and Morty. I remember being young and almost feeling trapped to not follow my true personal style or what people might think. I want my platform to be a fun and airy space for anyone to think, “Well, I can do that, too.” Being carefree and almost optimistic through what you wear is how I want to make people feel when seeing my platform. 

 

Meet Lauren. She’s known for creating content surrounding size inclusivity in fashion and making it clear that she’s not letting any societal standard stop the way she wants to dress. You’ll always catch her in pieces that are colorful, eclectic, and fun.

What inspired you to start creating your own content online?

I’ve always been interested in creating content online, especially in the earlier days of YouTube, like in 2012, but I never got around to actually posting until I noticed how little representation there was for plus-size people. This is what inspired me to start posting outfit pictures and eventually TikToks! Especially with how inclusive the fashion industry has gotten, I felt it was important to keep that momentum going instead of letting it stop.

What is unique about your approach to fashion content?

I found it really difficult to find someone my size with my style, and I searched high and low, scrolling endlessly on all the social media platforms. I think my relatability to wanting to achieve that Pinterest-perfect outfit and not letting my size stop me is something people found unique.

Now more than ever, people are paying attention to what the younger generation is doing in terms of social media, fashion, pop culture, etc. Why do you think the attention toward Generation Z versus other generations is so much more amplified, and how do you feel about being part of that grouping?

Generation Z grew up with the internet, and I believe its accessibility is what led to our generation getting that spotlight. We’re able to come together, virtually, now more than ever in the simplest way possible. I think this kind of connection is what allows my generation to pick and choose what we want to go viral or not.

What impact do you hope your generation has on the fashion industry?

I hope my generation is able to continue to break down barriers and stereotypes and truly bring inclusivity within fashion. Both size and racial inclusivity deserve to be prioritized, especially when the fashion industry has seen years of oppression or lack of diversity.

I’ve noticed that, for many people, this past year has changed the way we view personal style and beauty. How has this changed for you? 

Twenty-twenty definitely gave me, and most people, a lot of time to reflect on who we are and what we truly enjoy. I feel as though people took the time to realize they shouldn’t sweat the small stuff anymore and just do whatever makes them happy because, as we saw, our time isn’t always certain. This new mindset led me to dive more into my creativity and express it with no fears attached. I’ve also stepped away from minimalism and clothing that just made me comfortable and jumped right into maximalism and clothing that truly expresses my personality. Twenty-twenty also gave us a chance to do trial and error on a bunch of different trends.

Describe your style in three words. 

Funky, trendy, and thrifted!

Are there any brands or pieces you particularly love at this moment?

I’ve recently made more of a conscious effort to shop more sustainably, whether that be at sustainable brands, small businesses, or buying secondhand. Currently, I’m obsessed with spring and summer fashion, and House of Sunny, in particular, has caught my eye. I’m really into ’70s fashion, especially psychedelic prints, and the House of Sunny Paradise Party Top totally has my heart.

Fashion, and how it’s portrayed in the media, has its own way of storytelling. What story do you want your platform or work to tell?

I would hope my fashion and portrayal of it on my platforms tells others that it doesn’t matter what size you are—you should wear whatever makes you happy! I also hope, being plus-size myself, I can tell other plus-size people to embrace their body because style doesn’t equal a certain size. I’ve even put in my bio “It’s just clothes” because I want to emphasize the clothes don't wear you. You wear the clothes. 

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