Vogue Scandinavia's gender fluidity expert, Mikko Puttonen, explores how the newer generation has broken the gender rules in matters of fashion, beauty and social life
Gen Zers are young individuals, born between 1997 and 2012, that according to studies have something in common; they are the most open-minded generation when it comes to gender, sexuality and self-expression. For me as a millennial, it’s exciting to see how this new generation — filled with passion and creativity— are challenging old-fashioned ways and gender norms.
Even though there are only a few years in between myself and the next gen, there are some significant differences. Generation Z was born with smartphones and social-media in their hands, making them the first digital natives —and here I was thinking my generation was technologically advanced because as teenagers we sent each other ringtones via bluetooth on our flap phones or played Snake on our OG Nokias.
Even though I’ve only recently started my TikTok journey, in this short time on the app I have discovered a new wave of acceptance that isn't restricted to gender at all. I’ve learned that gender fluidity is one of the key elements in life and fashion for this newer generation. Gen Z TikTok creators, from Seann Altman embracing dreamy fairytale-like looks and beauty, to Emil Warren's joyful makeup videos that have reached over 3.9 million likes and over 240K followers, are both showcasing that makeup is for everyone.
Louis Powell, an 18-year-old model and TikTok creator from the UK, has gained a loyal TikTok audience thanks to his signature walk and 1970s-inspired style. Also on the app, Tommy Solovyov is constantly going viral for rocking androgynous attire combining skirts and sharp tailoring - proving fashion has no boundaries.
Gen Z is the largest generation alive and the fashion industry needs to adapt to them. The industry needs to learn exactly what they want and how they are shaping the future. Thankfully, some big brands have started to take notice, teaming up with Gen Z gender-fluidity and LGBTQ+ icons.
Calvin Klein starred two Gen Z pioneers in its recent #proudinmycalvins campaign, Brazilian contemporary artist Samuel de Saboia, who champions art and fashion alongside American pop artist, and queer star King Princess, whose style mixes masculine and feminine.
Gucci, on the other hand, has been continuously working with creator Seann Altman for the fashion house’s inclusive beauty line. Gen Z star Aaron Philip is the first black, transgender and disabled model to be signed by a major model agency. Ever since, she has been reshaping the fashion industry and advocating for LGBTQ+ and disability rights. During her modelling career, her portfolio has grown to include jobs from Paper magazine’s cover story to being the face of Moschino FW20, and teaming up with brands such as Collina Strada, Burberry and Sephora, just to name a few.
Gen Z is carrying the flag of individualism and aims to be as unique and authentic as possible. With this new generation leading the way, we are continuing to move towards a more inclusive and conscious future.