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OK, GEN Z!

Gen Zs amplify the causes and issues they care about via fashion

Gen Zs are here—and they want to be heard. This young cohort is re-shaping modern intergenerational dialogue by bringing attention to and fighting for the causes and issues they care about; and recently, this tendency is being funneled through fashion. Fashion has long been a vehicle for self-expression, and the following Gen Z-launched lines are rallying others around the various causes those in this socially-conscious cohort are championing.

OK BOOMER MERCH

“Ok boomer,” a viral meme that was born on TikTok, is deployed to call out how older generations are out of touch with issues younger generations care about (as well as used to refute claims that Gen Zs and Millennials are “snowflakes” and “Peter Pans” in that they’re sensitive and refuse to grow up). Now, and following the typical meme-to-merch cycle, the “ok boomer” retort has infiltrated Gen Z-designed products: 19-year-old Shannon O’Connor promoted a t-shirt and hoodie emblazoned with the rallying cry on TikTok and subsequently received over $10,000 in orders. Similar stories proliferate, and interestingly, the teens involved in selling “ok boomer” merch see monetizing this meme as their own form of protest against an institutionalized system that they feel is actively harming those in their generation.

MADHAPPY

LVMH Luxury Ventures recently led a $1.8 million seed round for Gen Z streetwear brand Madhappy, a move that has implications for the entire luxury industry. Madhappy launched back in 2017 with a two-pronged retail strategy: an e-commerce site and a pop-up-cum-party physical retail model in select U.S. cities. The brand's offerings follow the drop model that has become synonymous with streetwear: once a drop sells out, those styles are off the market. But the four young men behind Madhappy aren’t merely content to create a hyped line of hoodies and t-shirts: all four want the brand to help destigmatize the conversation around mental health.

IMI BY IMOGEN EVANS

19-year-old designer Imogen Evans’ inaugural collection, titled “Places I’ve Been Touched,” debuted at NYFW this past February. This was not your run-of-the-mill ready-to-wear: Evans ideated the collection’s prints and silhouettes with stories from sexual assault survivors, which she collected prior to designing the garments. Evans is quoted as saying “I'm quite politically engaged… I'm really interested in societal issues and I really like to articulate these issues through my work," which echoes how this generation of inclusive young consumers are using their voices, both online and IRL, to amplify the causes that they hold dear.