3 Important Gen Z Trends You Need to Understand

Last week’s Voxburner Deep Dive looked at our 2021 UK Youth Trends Report, where we took an in-depth look at the emerging trends impacting the lives of 16-24s. As well as looking at key trends, including generation wars, the metaverse and representation, we heard from our panel of Gen Z’ers and asked for their thoughts on what’s important to them right now and how brands can help. 

Check out some of the session’s key takeaways below.

Free To Be Me 

  • On the ‘that girl’ TikTok trend: “It’s all very curated and very aesthetically focused and I’m quite critical and sceptical of it. I think it encourages a different beauty standard from what we were seeing before. It might not be all together conventional but I think it perpetuates that women are still held to a different standard than men, because there isn’t a male equivalent to that kind of thing. It’s routed in a lot of privilege.” Anouk 
  • “Instagram.. I have a love-hate relationship with. I like it because I’m into fashion so I like following trends, however some days, when you’re not feeling too confident, I do find myself comparing myself. And the problem with that is, they’re not necessarily real – there’s a filter, there’s Photoshop.” Callum
  • On relationships with social media: “I never got TikTok because I knew I would never get off it, and these things are designed to be addictive. I deleted Instagram over the summer and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It really, really helped my mental health. I know my priorities so much better now.” Anouk 
  • “Comparison culture, particularly as a young woman… We’re very vulnerable to that.” Anouk 

Representation Matters

  • “Being a person of colour, if I wanted to buy something but there was no representation from that brand, I wouldn’t give my money to them.” Callum 
  • “For me, what’s important is that my policies and values and ethics are represented in things that I would my money and time into.” Anouk 
  • “Influencers can directly speak to their audience, and I think that brands have tapped into that and understand that people buy from people.” Vicky 
  • “I try not to buy into fast fashion but a lot of the brands have got some dodgy labour laws, use excessive environmental resources etc etc, and if I can try and minimise that fashion-esque consumption, I will do my best to do that.” Anouk 
  • ‘‘Why would I buy something if I didn’t think represented me? There’s so much competition, I’ll just find someone else that is going to represent me.” Vicky
  • “It’s so hard to not be inclusive. If you’re not, you’re making the effort to not be.” Callum
  • “I’d 100% do my homework [on a brand]. There are so many websites now that rate the eco-ness and the environmental credientals of a brand, and so many are comparing different brands.” Anouk 
  • “Price-wise [a more sustainable option] is not too different to other retailers that are out there.. It is a little bit more expensive, but it would be a conscious decision for me to wait and save so I don’t add to the problem of fast fashion.” Vicky 

The Metaverse

  • “Considering that the past two years have been very restricted because of the pandemic, the idea of investing lots of time and energy into this virtual world and going back inside is quite triggering!” Anouk
  • “I’m not going to get too involved. But it does make sense for brands to be collaborating virtually… It’s something for everyone.” Callum
  • “It blows my mind a bit. Out of all the negatives of the pandemic, being able to stay connected online was a massive positive. But I think making it more of a permanent thing scares me a bit… Where do you draw the line?! If you’re spending all that money on those virtual things, where’s the value in that? I don’t understand NFTs, that might be me being ignorant… I think it’s interesting but also a bit scary.” Vicky
  • “It worries me quite a lot. Being in the real, material world is the best option, but maybe more people will have more positive experiences and thoughts on it, and maybe it can be used for change. I’m sceptical, but I don’t want to completely write off a technological innovation.” Anouk

Meet our panellists…

Anouk

Anouk Smith (she/her) is an undergraduate student at the University of Edinburgh, where she studies Theology. She currently chairs the student committee for her faculty and is involved in activism around accessibility.

Callum

Callum currently works as assistant manager at Merkur slots cashino alongside teaching contemporary dance to children. Callum studied dance performance at Middlesex University and studied music and performing arts beforehand. He enjoys all things creative and getting involved in activism around equality, and BLM.

Vicky

Vicky Mepstead (she/her) is a social media executive at Visualsoft working with clients to manage their social media strategy and working within paid social media management. Vicky graduated from Newcastle University last year with a degree in Journalism, Media and Culture.

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