From the fringed flapper dresses of the roaring twenties to the groovy bellbottoms of the swinging sixties, every generation can be defined by the way they have shaped the fashion of the times, and the millennials are no exception.
Gender expression is a big thing for millenials, and it no longer means only wearing pink and dresses if you are female, and trousers and blue if you are a male. Gender for millenials is a much more fluid concept, and people are being encouraged to express themselves in whatever way they identify. Models on the catwalks are more androgenous in their looks, and there is more of a blurring in the lines of masculine and feminine.
Millennials are generally pretty passionate about the environment and where their clothes are coming from. After the Bangladeshi factory fires shone a light on the horrific working conditions of some clothing manufacturers, there was more of a demand for clothing that is sustainably sourced and where working conditions were more acceptable. This spike in eco-consciousness has also led to more popularity in thrifting clothes as fashion bloggers brag about their latest goodwill find, rather than a Gucci buy.
Unlike previous generations, millennials no longer want to be seen as a walking advertisement, and so are wearing fewer logos on their clothes. Big brands that were previously known for their obnoxiously large logos, such as Abercrombie and Fitch and Michael Kors, have moved with the times and changed it so that the focus of their designs is no longer their vast logos.
Don’t label me
Whereas in the past, it was easy to categorize people of the time depending on the fashion they wore, everything is much more fluid now, and personal style seems to change from day to day. It makes it harder to put people into boxes, which is precisely what millennials are about – mixing casual and formal, modern and classic, masculine and feminine, and looking fabulous while doing so.
Of course, one huge way in which millennials have changed fashion is the use of social media to showcase outfits. Everyone from celebrities and fashion bloggers, to the girl next door, can share what they’re wearing, where it was bought, and for how much. Brands now know that sending out an outfit to a fashion influencer has a better return on investment than a billboard ad, and fashion bloggers use their clout to make money through paid ads, sponsorship, and affiliates. Fashion isn’t just about what’s in the pages of glossy magazines anymore; it’s about what real people are wearing and loving.
Another thing that millennials are demanding is more representation in fashion shows and advertisements. People of color, plus-sized models, and models with disabilities are finally being shown on the catwalk and in print – almost as if those individuals wear clothes, too! This is a positive step for the fashion industry, which isn’t known for being particularly inclusive. There is still a long way to go, but this generation has shown that they won’t just accept the status quo.
Of course, all generations have changed fashion, from women being able to finally wear pants, to synthetic materials being easy to buy, but it seems that the fashion influences from the millennial generation are as political as they are stylish. This leaves us wondering what mark Generation Z will leave on the fashion world!