By Vanessa Ikenna-Nwosu
Generation Z are among the most expressive and vibrant generations to walk the face of the earth. From transforming gender norms to fearless representation, going against the status quo is a walk in the park. Fashion and music have remained hot topics in the last century, and the two have collectively changed the way Gen Z identify and express themselves.
Since the dawn of time, fashion has been one of the leading outlets used to distinguish oneself from the collective. If we are to take a look at the fashion industry and compare two famous designers like Mugler and Jean Paul Gaultier, neither could be mistaken for the other. Rather, each would be identified for their unique silhouettes and styles. Gen Z have found a way to do the same by using fashion as a tool to paint their sense of self in an outward way. While doing this, they have begun forming social subcultures that have similar style preferences to them. Within these subcultures, people have the ability to experiment with their style; trying new colour palettes, clothing pieces, and even stepping out to experience other subculture’s displays of self. With terms like girly-girl and tomboy no longer being enough to define the fashions of today, you would understand why there can be no limit to the boundaries pushed.
When we talk about fashion we cannot disregard that it goes hand in hand with music. For instance, take a look at Linkin Park, the American Rock band. If one were to describe the appearance of the group’s fanbase they would describe similar attributes of the band members: someone older, spikey hair, beanies and graphic tees. However if the same question were asked in terms of Lil Uzi’s fans, one would describe young, vibrant, and brightly dressed adults and teens. Fashion and individual style, influences artists and their fanbases massively and it is becoming additionally apparent in this generation. We now see people mimic the look and mannerisms of their favourite artists, as a result of wanting to identify as a member of their fanbase.
There has been a recent trend on Tiktok showing listeners of Kali Uchis, the Columbian American singer, contrasting what they looked like before and after getting into her artistry. The latter results show the listeners leaning more into their femininity, showcasing a new sense of style and a completely calming aura. This is especially interesting because the attributes they developed are similar to that of Kali’s, which she naturally possesses, underlining the influence an artist’s fashion sense can have on their listeners.
To go as far as to say that fashion and music are “important” to Gen Z would be an understatement. The members of this generation have established an environment that removes the need to conform, permitting access to enter different avenues of vogue. Self-actualisation is a practice they strive in and hold no weight to achieve. When generations to come, look back on the most influential times, Generation Z will be known for their limitless forms of personal expression and their desire to standout proudly with those both alike and unlike them.