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Gen Z consumers want better gender equality and inclusion within fashion

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: Pexels by Thirdman
Over half of Gen Z’s (61 percent) think that mainstream fashion overlooks minority groups, including non-binary and trans people, with nearly nine in ten (87 percent) believing strongly that there should be better gender equality and inclusion within fashion.

The Gen Z Fashion Report by UniDays reveals that there is a “large appetite” among Gen Z consumers for inclusive clothing, with most students considering buying gender-neutral clothing, and 49 percent stating that they are more willing to purchase from a brand that showcases better representation and gender-neutral clothing.

The report, which surveyed more than 4,624 Gen Z students, added that 65 percent felt that brands could improve the online retail experience by providing “gender neutral” search options, rather than being funnelled to search for either men’s or women’s ranges from the outset.

In addition, one in four (26 percent) believe that labelling products according to gender is not inclusive, and almost half of UK students (46 percent) would like to see more diverse product ranges from fashion brands.

UniDays Gen Z Fashion Report reveals an appetite for gender-neutral fashion

Viviane Paxinos, general manager at UniDays, said in a statement: “Our report clearly shows that Gen Z have a strong appetite for genderless clothing and willingness to engage with brands that are providing a more inclusive offering. With the vast majority (87 percent) of students believing it’s important that people can wear what they want without stigma, regardless of their gender identity, this is a vital learning for fashion industry players.”

The report notes that Nike, Asos and Old Navy were among the brands that Gen Z consider to be leading the way in driving inclusivity in fashion and challenging gender stereotypes.

However, the consensus was that fashion brands could be doing more to champion inclusivity in their campaigns, with 61 percent adding that "style should not have a gender" and only 31 percent of UK Gen Z feel that brands are getting it right when it comes to using inclusive and diverse gender representation.

For those brands deemed to be getting it wrong, over half of UK Gen Z (56 percent) said that they came across as "tokenistic," with half (51 percent) believing that brands weren’t doing enough to support wider inclusivity initiatives, 38 percent wanting them to better support organisation that benefit non-binary individuals, and 45 percent adding they should market gender-neutral clothing more explicitly.

65 percent of Gen Z consumers want “gender neutral” search options online

When it comes to buying gender-neutral items, the report reveals that while 49 percent of students are more willing to purchase from a brand that showcases better gender representation and inclusivity in its marketing and advertising, 83 percent said they would not expect to pay more for a gender-neutral item. With one in ten Gen Z consumers adding that they would be willing to pay 1 – 25 pounds more per item if it was designed and marketed as non-gendered.

Paxinos added: “Despite the strong influence that price holds over the demographic, the findings show that Gen Z are hyper-informed and switched on when it comes to identifying which brands they consider inclusive and representative. They recognise tokenism in marketing and are more likely to interact with brands that communicate their offering authentically.

“By expanding their focus on representation, communicating authentically with their audience, and recognising that price is a top priority that influences Gen Z purchasing decisions, brands will succeed in driving affinity with this highly influential generation.”

Gen Z