This generation has already created so much buzz around various global issues, that it was only a matter of time when they would affect the fashion industry, or more specifically, its most prestigious ranks. As the part of population that holds the most spending power in their hands (alongside Boomers, of course), millennials have reshaped the notion of beauty in more ways than one.
We are now living in a world with growing awareness of environmental issues thanks to this generation, and whose attitudes are forcing brands and entire systems to collapse to greet the new list of priorities in the realm of fashion.
Luxury means Earth-friendly
By that, they mean both cruelty-free for humans and animals alike, as well as environmentally-oriented. The time of fast fashion is finally coming to a close, to be replaced by brands that thrive on longevity and whose heritage is built on authenticity. A while ago, the idea that luxury brands could identify themselves with sustainability was not a viable one, as the materials and processes used were far from refined enough to fit the bill.
However, with modern abilities and materials that are no longer limited to linen or cotton, although the two still represent favorites of many, upscale names such as Stella McCartney can now finally find their expression unhindered even in the sustainable way. Thanks to the shift, they have gone a step further and given the idea of eco-aware a much more luxe reputation. Now, these brands have the means to respond to the clear millennial preference for the green approach, rather than fall into oblivion alongside fast fashion trends.
Durability over seasonality
Although we still have regular fashion week shows to look forward to, the idea of completely swapping your entire wardrobe for the sake of fitting into the new trend list is long gone in the millennial look-book. Sure, updating your wardrobe with an occasional fresh color or a quirky piece is more than welcome, but this generation is much more willing to spend more on a pricy, long-lasting item than continuously shop for seasonal, low-quality clothes.
They consider it an investment into their self-expression, and not a fad, hence their preference for designs that reflect the same values. To that end, brands such as Emilio Pucci have significantly grown in popularity due to their intriguing, but timeless design approach that puts quality and authentic expression in the epicenter of their work. Think: unique, abstract patterns, rich colors, high-quality fabric, and alluring cuts to dominate the clothing preferences of any millennial.
Luxury gone digital
In addition to moral values which are at the core of millennial shopping decisions, brands have also had to accommodate their online way of being. Simply put, these luxury names, including the likes of Gucci and Prada now strive towards greater digital engagement in order to become more visible and relatable for millennials, and this is driven by their need for greater transparency.
The online world allows a level of insight no other form of communication has so far, as reviews, public feedback, and previous customers’ comments help a brand come to life for any other potential buyer. Luxury brands never had to rely on this form of word-of-mouth, since their name alone is enough to inspire trust, but enabling millennials to experience luxury in “the truth is out” mode helps them become much closer to this vast audience. The key, it seems, is to bring these brands to life through modern marketing strategies, such as live streaming, influencer collaboration, and the like.
Making a statement
The term “statement piece” has been thrown around the fashion world for a very long time, but with an entirely different connotation attached to it. While it will always remain the favorite description for those items that steal all of the attention of an entire outfit, millennials have made sure that the notion now carries a new, more profound layer of purpose.
They crave for fashion that personifies experience, not mere material objects. Just like spending on travel, food, and healthy lifestyle choices (personal trainers included), millennials are eager to have fashion be a part of their identity, reflect their unique character, and represent their values. That is precisely why even some of the brands with long-standing love for fur, such as Gucci, have decided to go fur-free, effectively joining Calvin Klein, Armani and other names that have gone to the fur-free side.
The world is still in dire need of many changes, but millennials are taking a stand that no luxury brand can ignore – it’s time to reshape the idea of beauty and style to cherish true values, from longevity, eco-friendliness, all the way to uncompromising authenticity.