They’ve been called ‘the snowflake generation’, ‘entitled’ and, perhaps worst of all ‘lazy.’ These words have been spoken by family members, teachers and even perfect strangers who mistakenly believe age means they have carte blanche to attack everything the younger generation do. In fact, statistics show that many people target millennials without knowing, or caring just how much of a positive impact generation Y has had on the economy.
For instance, there are more young entrepreneurs, public speakers and self-taught business owners than ever before. For every person who doesn’t get up before lunchtime, there are ten others who exist on six, or fewer hours of sleep to produce incredible video content for their legions of loyal followers. Economically, we’re not doing so bad either. Millennials are now the most influential group when it comes to spending habits, and there’s been a boom in employment because companies need people who live, eat and breathe the digital lifestyle to lead the way in attracting new customers in an increasingly saturated retail environment.
Nowhere has the playing field become more level than in fashion, gone are the days when only an elite few were invited to attend shows! Now the entire world can watch Fashion Week live as it’s streamed all over the globe. Influential fashion bloggers are also quite often seen sat next to famous A-Listers in the front row.
When it comes to clothes themselves the rules are being broken too, thanks to transgender, gender neutral and even gender unspecific trailblazers garments have become more fluid and adopting a different palette base so a top or even a skirt could be worn by both men and women. Men are now more comfortable about shopping online, and while womenswear is still turning a hefty profit, early reports have shown menswear is about to experience an unprecedented growth that could see the sector outperform everything thanks to fashion conscious millennial males.
Pop Up Prices
One of the main things to note is that thanks to technology you no longer need to have a physical premises to become the best selling brand. Now, more than ever, firms are using every trick in the book including free wifi, fashion themed events and even discount parties to get customers through the door. A retailer with a physical store has to do much more to entice someone to spend money, thinking about the shop’s decor, appearance and even ambience than an online-only site does. While overheads such as lighting, heating, rental space and staff salaries will add up to far more than paying for a domain name and a team of people to make sure orders are being fulfilled. Instead, pop-up shops are becoming far more widespread, originally designed to lessen the impact of hundreds of empty stories during the height of the recession pop-ups have become the latest must-do thing.
Not only does a pop-up shop give up and coming designers a chance to show off their collections, talk to customers and hopefully learn more about the day-to-day running of a business. It also gives us a fun, fresh boutique to visit every few months and perhaps find something that’s handmade, of excellent quality but, most importantly, not available in a generic store online. It’s also no coincidence that many of these pop-ups up store openings are conceived, promoted or indeed run by millennials who, when it comes to profit, can see past bricks and mortar.
Social Media Shopping
Obviously, the biggest influence any millennial possess is being able to spread the word online at the touch of a button and stores know this. Now, more shops than ever have a social media profile as well as in-store services, like a virtual makeover app that’ll show you what you’d look like in their clothes without you having to take off a single item of your own clothing. Stores are also giving out free fashion advice, helping people plan outfits for special occasions but crucially letting them upload pics for their friends to look at and comment on, something which would have never happened within the hallowed halls of Dior, Givenchy or Prada just ten years ago. Millennials also love experiences, as well as establishing a personal relationship with a brand that might give you a free gift on your birthday, send you personalized Snapchat content based on your preferences and offer you a chance to check out some behind the scenes footage of a new collection.
Let’s not forget not all exposure is positive either! Social media also gives millennials
the power to fight back against huge brands when they feel like they’ve been unfairly treated as well as giving them a platform to share their experience with others. It’s no longer a lone voice arguing with a snooty shop assistant, you’ve now got a digital army at your back who’ll spread your story with meme’s, hashtags and retweets. Celebrities and bloggers alike have harnessed the power of social media to expand their ‘personal brand’ too! A single sponsored post from Kendall Jenner who raves about her gorgeous
long evening dress online will instantly see a spike in interest, while the brand will notice sales go through the roof as fans desperately try to get their hands on this ‘amazing item.’
Rebels With A Cause
Believe it or not, brands who are animal-friendly, promote ethical working policies and support social causes are much more likely to cash in. Over half of millennials surveyed said they’d be happy to spend more, if the brand cared about the environment, made their clothes in the US and made sure their overseas workers were treated fairly. Leading fashion website Elle has even predicted that young adults are getting sick of fast fashion, fed up of how wasteful companies are being and that by next year there’ll be a seismic shift to more sustainable materials and ethical fashion brands.
The slow fashion movement has already started gathering steam. New labels are showcasing how you can still have a beautiful garment without the environment, or even another person paying a much higher price than yourself instead of buying cheap, massed produced clothing you may only wear a couple of times before consigning it to the back of your closet.