The latest report released by the latest U.S. Census Bureau states that the ‘infamous’ millennial generation has finally outnumbered the Baby Boomers and has become the largest American generation. Numbers alone mean power, but a recent article published by the Business Insider provides us with staggering information on just what a powerful consumer group they are. Their opinions and shopping habits have the ability to make iconic department stores such as Macy’s and Sears who have reportedly already closing 68 and 300 of their stores respectively. This speaks volumes of the fact that the tables have turned and millennials now have the upper hand. They have the amazing ability to dictate trends, cause demise or success within the fashion industry.
The question that inevitably poses itself is – what is in the millennial fashion mind and what is the future of the fashion industry going to be now, in the era of the millennial? Hopefully, we will be able to answer that question.
1) The death of the logo
Unlike the previous generation whose members were proud to wear clothes and carry bags with conspicuous designer logos on them (case in point Gucci), millennials refuse to be a walking advertisement. That is precisely what forced high-street as well as high end brands to adjust their design in order to cater to the needs and desires of the new generation.
For instance, Abercrombie and Fitch have removed their large logo off their sweatshirts and tops, and even designers such as Michael Kors have been forced to modify their designs as the dip in sales has become a noticeable one.
2) Value, versatility and green
Despite being accused of mindless spending, the generation Y is actually comprised of extremely smart and savvy shoppers. Brand loyalty is non-existent because millennials will quickly switch brands as soon as a different but similar one offers their goods at a discount. That is why, reportedly, the major following a great number of brands have on social media platforms can be accredited to the millennial hunt for great deals and coupons. Only 7% follow brands to participate in an online community about the brand, while two thirds are inclined to switch brands if they offered a 30% discount.
Still, value for money isn’t the only reason this generation is more driven towards brands such as Zara, H&M, and other fast-fashion retailers as opposed to high-end brands. The lifestyle habits of millennials are different than those of previous generations and the pace of life is quite faster. Hence, the need for attire that can easily transition from daytime to evening wear, office to party is on the rise. Therefore, the generation is turning to indie designers and new brands that offer versatile pieces, such as the amazing and affordable Hansen and Gretel, Forever 21, Van’s as well as a great number of new emerging designers like Rebecca Minkoff, Nanette Lepore and Lubov Azria.
Surprisingly enough, old-school brands such as Levi’s is also experiencing a rise in sales for this same reason. More and more millennials now have careers and jobs that allow them to wear jeans (making the office to happy hour transition all the more easy), and the brand has greatly benefitted from this trend.
Going green is insanely popular among members of this generation, and the aforementioned H&M has paid attention to the eco-conscious voices of millennials and is now not only offering a wide selection of garments featuring a green label marked conscious (made from sustainable materials), but also offers discounts when shoppers bring old clothes that are then recycled. You could definitely say that green is the new black, and numerous brands are jumping on board the sustainable and ethical train.
3) A refusal to be pigeon-holed
One of the single most noticeable aspects a typical millennial’s style is actually a lack of definition. This is far from negative, on the contrary. The generation that is all about expressing individuality refuses to be pigeon-holed, placed in a certain style box. Instead of defining their style persona, millennials are all about experimenting, merging the boxes if you will. One day you could see a person wearing a wonderful sheer dress and the next day you could see them having lunch in the same restaurant wearing yoga pants and a sweatshirt.
There are times when different styles are interwoven in a single outfit, and athletic attire is combined with a classy leather tote and patent leather flats. But how does this crave for individuality affect the fashion industry? Well, for one, it has fostered a rise of innovative millennial designers such as Seoyoon Song, Nicholas Andreadis, and Isabel Hall who you might have heard of as she is the creator of Rihanna’s now iconic glittery jumpsuit in This Is What You Came For. In terms of the impact this desire has had on longstanding powerhouses; let’s take Burberry as an example. The brand’s need to remain in good favor with the millennial has gone as far as to offer them the opportunity to personally engrave the items they purchase. This is not an isolated case as there are now numerous high-end and luxury brands that cater to millennial needs in different ways. Louis Vuitton certainly knows how to appeal to the younger consumer groups by for instance inserting a pink-haired video game character from Final Fantasy in its spring campaign.
It’s safe to conclude that millennials are a force to be reckoned with. They have the power to make or break a business, and while their influence is visible in all aspects of life (travel, dining, home-ownership), it appears that the influence on fashion is truly strong with these ones.
Sophia Smith is an Australia-based beauty and style blogger. She is very passionate about the latest fashion trends and graphic design projects. Sophia writes mostly about fashion-related topics in her articles. She has contributed to a number of publications including: LA Fashion, Viva Glam Magazine, Just Haves, How to Simplify and Carousel.