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Depop and Bain & Company have collaborated on a report exploring Gen Z’s behaviour when it comes to fashion. Under the name Futureproof: How Gen Z’s empathy, awareness and fluidity are transforming business as usual, the report details how this generation’s mindset is reimagining the fashion industry. The results are the product of both quantitative and qualitative research, a survey of more than 2,000 Gen Z Depop users and one –on– one interviews with Depop sellers and buyers from the US, the UK and Australia.
The report explains, thoroughly, the four pillars of the so–called Gen Z: empathy & awareness, self–expression, exchange & interconnection and reimagining newness. Even though the results are significant, they cannot be extrapolated to the whole fashion community, as the participants (mentioned above), belong to the Depop circle.
According to the report, Gen Z is empathetic to the complexity and diversity of human identity. Compared to older generations, they are reluctant to label their sexuality. Thus, binary gender norms are deconstructing. They’re also working on challenging the stigma associated with mental health. The interviewed Depop users belong to a generation willing to recognise and discuss mental health as common but highly personal aspect of daily life.
Gen Z tend to stand out on social media for being more spontaneous and authentic. Likewise, their fashion is experimental and hybrid, mixing vintage and streetwear. They look for brands more as an inspiration from which they make their own style. This individuality is also expressed in other areas and has “catalyzed their empathy and awareness of vulnerability into calls for action in the face of adversity.”
Digital platforms have been a main pillar to create content. The Gen Z have grown in a purely digital world, and they simultaneously consume and produce. Thus, they have demonstrated a predisposition for side hustles and non-traditional paths. “On platforms, they have transitioned from earning extra cash to making a living, from building a brand to growing a business, and from learning practical skills to establishing networks,” states the report.
Interviewed people made clear thar they react strongly to how brands position themselves and respond to social issues. If done positively it’s called brand activism, but if done negatively it’s viewed as tokenism and performative. Gen Z’s ongoing concern for the environment has built pressure for a better media coverage and corporate change in the fashion industry. They are prone to using one–of–a-kind vintage, repurposed or recycled fashion as a way to express themselves better and look after the planet.