We’ve devoted quite a bit of space on this website to Generation Z — comprising of those born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s — as of late, and for good reason. As the demographic continues to accrue more buying power, brands are working overtime to connect with them in hopes of harnessing their clout. But for companies, Gen Z is a fickle, if mysterious, group; they’re the first to have been raised entirely adjacent to the internet, a proximity that affects how they consume product more than it does the millennials, or certainly Gen X, before them.
As the first “digital native” generation, Gen Z holds an estimated $44 billionin buying power, so you can imagine why brands are doing everything from hiring “microinfluencers” to reinventing their brick-and-mortar experiencesto appease them. But is the secret to getting through to Gen Z as easy as, well, doing less? That was one of the topics discussed during the “What Does Gen Z Want Next?” panel at the Fashion Culture Design conference in New York City on Friday, with guest speakers that included, among others, Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine and streetwear guru Jeff Staple of Staple Design.
“I’m in constant pursuit of simplifying everything. I want to work smarter, not harder. We grew up as members of the ‘work harder’ generation,” said Medine, a millennial herself. To her point, studies have proved that millennials are actually “workholics” — quite the departure from the lazy, entitled caricature by which the generation has come to be drawn. “That is something I admire so much about people who are younger, is that they’ve totally figured out how to simplify.”