Ah, Gen Z: a generation of rebels with a cause. Thank you for being the way you are. For making weird cool. For honoring your true selves. For using fashion as a means of unapologetic self-expression. Fashion empowers us. It sends a message about who we are and what we stand for. A medium of communication to the rest of the world. Your avid uniqueness encourages not only self-acceptance but self-celebration. You refuse to be put in a box and continue to push the envelope every day. But where do we draw the line between dressing to express and dressing to impress? Here is what you need to know about how education can keep these inspiring values forever relevant.
Letz talk trendz...
On to what is trending today, the girl on your Instagram feed with crazy-colored hair and that hawt new outfit from her local thrift store. We all know this chick. Heck, I am that chick and you may be, too. She shops second hand since the majority of items at thrift stores are reasonably priced and one of a kind, making it easier for teens to stand out on a budget. Bright colors, gender-neutral styles, loud patterns, big baggy clothes, or skin-tight spandex bike shorts- whatever we want. Every day our screens are flooded with images of our peers showcasing their individuality on social media platforms. How fortunate we are to live in an age where being ourselves is all the rage. However, conforming to a non-conformist trend is quite the oxymoron. The danger of trends is that they rarely last forever. So I am begging you to continue to hold yourselves to these standards, even when they go out of style.
Further examples of fashions seen online today, beyond clothes, is an interest in social/environmental issues. Remember when the Amazon Rainforest was burning down? In late August of 2019, Generation Z flocked to their Instagram stories and spread the word. Awesome, right? Here’s the thing though. The issue disappeared just as quickly as it gained public interest. Now, posting about the planet is SO last season! Today, current protests against police brutality sparked by the murder of George Floyd and countless others have created worldwide participation in a crucial and passionate anti-racist movement. People that have never before spoken out against systemic racism have started spreading information, signing petitions, and protesting out in the streets. Do not get me wrong. It’s about time!
However, the important thing here is to prevent the possibility of this becoming just another fad! These are real crises that we should not use to appear “woke” on the internet and subsequently move on to the next big issue. I am not trying to say that all activism is a trend. Nor am I trying to say that if you are owning your quirky self, then you will be canceled out with the rest of Generation Z, PEMDAS-style. What I a m saying is to never let that fire burn out. Keep standing out. Keep speaking up. If fashion is a reflection of society, then there may be hope for us after all. Still, we must make sure that everyone is getting a deeper understanding of these issues if they are ever to truly be solved. All I ask is that before you take part in another progressive trend, ask yourself: why am I doing this? Is it because you feel pressured? Is it because you want to feel validated? If so, here is what you need to do:
You’ve probably heard it countless times by now, but there is an infinite amount of information available with which we can all educate & enrich ourselves. Whether it is via Youtube videos, books, podcasts, documentaries, or blog posts, you may be surprised at what you find. For example, researching can be the difference between posting a thoughtless “save the planet” quote on Earth Day into becoming an eager environmentalist that works to spark true change. Education could mean understanding the overwhelming link between animal agriculture and climate change. This would lead to true reform, such as going vegan, recycling, signing petitions, donating to environmentalist organizations, and spreading the information to those around you. You may find that thrifted clothes are not only hip but that they are more sustainable. Resale items are recycled whereas retail items add to the demand for toxic fast fashion and the wasting of precious resources. Instead of posting a black square on Blackout Tuesday and leaving it at that, we can research what would better support the movement. We can make activism, authenticity, creative expression, and sustainable consumption the foundations of our society instead of only taking part in spurts. Let’s make these trends last forever, babiez!