The concept of “youth” can be a complicated one in fashion, an industry that has, in the past, idolised it at all costs.
Fortunately in recent years there has been a shift, with increased diversity in the imagery we see from brands and platforms – featuring the young, old, and everyone in between – and an understanding that genuine style is less about age, than it is a mindset.
It is also true however that often, it’s the younger generation that pushes fashion forward: experimenting with clothes and personal style as they discover and explore their identity.
The same can be said for younger or emerging designers; the next generation who helps set the tone for where fashion and the prevailing aesthetic will go next. I’ve been around long enough now to see several waves of exciting young talent enter and grow up in the local fashion industry, and the thrill of stumbling on someone fresh never goes away – whether it’s witnessing a standout collection from a fashion student at an end of year show, finding someone at a market or out of the way pop up store, or at a longstanding talent incubator such as iD Dunedin Fashion, which will be on from March 31-April 1. Now, it’s just far easier with the reach of Instagram.
* Jewellery designer Grace Ko’s wardrobe gives her ‘main character energy’
* How NZ dresses: Meet the photographer capturing South Auckland style
* How NZ dresses: Street style from Karangahape Road
Sustainability is a major focus for a lot of these emerging designers, reflective of the younger generation that is conscious of fashion’s waste problem and sceptical of fast fashion – while also working through the consumerist pressure of things such as hauls and fast-paced TikTok trends.
Many embrace a