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Gen Z Says: 3 Fashion People Who Are Making Their Mark in the Industry


Gen Z Says is a series where we tap different members of Generation Z who will give us the latest insight on what’s cool in the fashion space.

No matter the time period, the younger generation has always had influence over what’s deemed “cool” or popular, but one can also counter that Generation Z is a force that is unlike any other. They’ve taken the use of social media to the next level, and their pull on what’s trending is unmatched. They are always willing to experiment in the realm of style, are championing conversations surrounding sustainability, and, most of all, aren’t afraid to speak their minds and ask for better.  

I’m learning from my younger counterparts on a daily basis. We tapped a group of inspiring influencers last year, but this time, I thought I’d reach out to industry insiders who can give us a look at how being a part of Gen Z has had an impact on their respective careers. Ahead, I’m speaking to three rising fashion people who are making their mark in editorial, styling, and design. Below, you can read about everything from lengthy advice on how they got to their current career level to how social media has had a monumental impact on their path. Trust me—you’re going to want to listen to what they have to say. As someone in the industry myself, I’ve learned it’s not easy to build a career in the editorial, styling, or design industry, and these girls have still managed to reach top-tier levels before they even turned 25.

Whether or not you’re following the path the younger generation is forging, it’s clear their momentum isn’t stopping anytime soon. So read on, stay tuned, and get ready for a whole lot more of Gen Z Says. 

Meet India. At Nylon.com, she’s always keeping tabs on what’s relevant when it comes to sartorial trends, entertainment, and pop culture. You’ll find her writing deep dives on the latest aesthetic taking over social media and creating well-rounded shopping roundups to help you find the exact item you are looking for. On her Instagram, you’ll find BTS looks at fashion-insider events and live reactions to the latest pop culture moment.

What inspired you to pursue a career in the editorial field?

I always had an interest in creative fields growing up, like the arts, but I didn’t have much confidence, especially by the time I reached high school. I’m from Memphis, Tennessee, and my peers around me had such ambitions to pursue careers in STEM, but I’ve never been good at math or science, so I remember being so uncertain about where I’d end up career-wise. It was during this time that I began to narrow down my options and realized that I’m actually good in subjects like visual arts and English. By the time I graduated high school and started my first year of college (I attended a school in Memphis before transferring my sophomore year to The New School in NYC), I realized that writing would be a great path for me, especially in journalism since I didn’t have an interest in fiction writing. And I began working hard to figure out how to get my foot in the editorial space. I’ve always been into fashion, as I grew up watching all of those cool modeling or design competition shows like Project Runway, for example, and even playing those fun dress-up games when I was in elementary and middle school. I was also obsessed with magazines like Seventeen and Teen Vogue, watching movies like The Devil Wears Prada, and grew up immersed in the early beauty and fashion YouTube days (Bethany Mota day-one fan right here!), so in my mind, it made sense to give it a go!

There’s a huge amount of attention on Gen Z right now, especially in terms of social media, fashion, and pop culture. Why do you think the attention toward Generation Z currently is so amplified, and how do you feel about being part of that grouping?

I think that society always pays attention to the rising youth because they always challenge the societal norms at that given time. Not that long ago, people were writing endless think pieces on millennials, and now, it seems it’s our turn to get that spotlight! It definitely feels weird that our time has come to be the center of the conversation, but also, it’s amazing to see how much people, including myself as a writer, are capturing this moment in time and our feelings. It’ll be so cool to look back years later when the new generation comes along and witness how much things have changed. So I guess I have to say it’s an honor to be a part of history.

What strength do you think being a Gen Zer gives you in your career? How would you say it affects your approach to your writing and work in media?

Gen Z has proven to be such a carefree and revolutionary generation, in my opinion. We’re in an era where people are breaking boundaries and being their most authentic selves, and even if they’re not, they’re probably self-aware of that and are most likely shitposting about it on Twitter or their Finsta.

I feel that I’ve entered my career at such a good time, where things are changing for the better, or at the very least, we’re questioning the rules set in place. We’re the generation that’s not taking no for an answer and creating our own opportunities for ourselves, especially in the digital space. I’ve definitely adopted this attitude and mindset when it comes to my work, and now, I’m more confident than I’ve ever been, even compared to when I first started my writing career as an intern. These days, I’m surrounded by such inspiring and like-minded individuals, so that’s encouraged me to think above and beyond and want more out of life.

When it comes to my writing, it makes relating to my sources a lot easier since they are mostly, if not always, Gen Z. Because of that, I’m able to not only relate but can report on a topic with more understanding and empathy since many of the topics affect me in some way. Also in general, it’s been so much fun to write about my generation.

What’s a favorite story you’ve written in your career so far? What do you hope to accomplish as you continue as an editor? 

My favorite kinds of stories to write are always ones where I’m reporting or interviewing people since my love for journalism is because I’m able to convey someone’s story in a way that hopefully honors them. Some recent pieces I’ve loved writing have been my interview with Conan Gray for his ongoing tour and his fashion, my Favorite Follows story with @ThatCurlyTop, and my Core Club piece about coquette. I also just published a Nylon Tried It for AirPod Max, and that was super fun because I remember calling out the rise in the trend to my friends and editor way back during NYFW!

What piece of advice would you give to your younger counterparts who are hoping to join the fashion industry? 

I’ll try and give practical advice because I know everyone is probably tired of hearing things like “Just believe in yourself!” Here’s my advice:

1: If you’re trying to get into the editorial space, definitely get on Twitter and start connecting with writers and editors you admire, and genuinely engage in their content! This definitely helped me even when I was in school. Twitter, in a lot of ways, is one big journalism hive, and people are definitely going to be supportive of your work there.

2: Freelance and pitch editors via email while you wait to get a job—it’s a good way to build connections and make money, plus get that publishing experience

3: Be intentional with every opportunity you apply for. … Yes, there’s a lot of stress when it comes to job hunting, but it’s no fun when you’re applying to so many jobs, fellowships, and internships that you aren’t really in love with or a position you see yourself doing. Everything you apply for should be well thought through and should help you get to the level you want to be. It’s okay to start small, too, and remember, the quality of your work should be more important than the quantity you put out.

What impact do you hope your generation has on the fashion industry?

I think we’re the generation that’s actually shaking shit up. There’s a lot of conversation in the editorial industry right now surrounding better work conditions and wages, racial equality, and more, but I love seeing that my generation is truly pushing for that change and not just being all talk online. I hope that, in the future, we continue to strive and make more significant changes within the industry so that “work” is a lot more equitable and fun.

Writing is obviously a way of storytelling. What story do you want your platform to tell?

I really want people to know that there is room for people like me in this space, and you don’t have to be this cookie-cutter fashion girlie to “make it.” I’m trying every day to highlight very cool and interesting stories that people actually can relate to and want to learn more about while also staying true to my own voice. I feel I’m just getting started in this regard, but I hope, over the years, my words can really inspire others to be whoever and whatever they strive to be.

As you are a fashion writer, I’m sure you’re always learning about new brands and products. What are some brands or pieces you’ve been loving lately?

You’re so right. This job has really introduced me to some amazing brands, and I have so many favorites at the moment. I don’t even know where to start! Recently, I’ve been loving the intersection between tech and fashion, so I’d say my green AirPod Max headphones and brown Ray-Ban x Facebook sunglasses, for starters—they’re always on me! For fashion, I’m obsessed with Homage Year, Reformation (maybe it’s because I worked there in college, but their clothes fit me so well), and With Jéan. Los Angeles Apparel has also been good for me when finding cute basics. Jewelry-wise, I’m a fan of Notte Jewelry, BonBonWhims, and Emma Pills. Such cute and kitschy statement pieces. And for shoes, I’ve been wearing Vagabond and Charles & Keith nonstop. I’ll stop right here because if I go on to beauty, I won’t stop talking.

Meet Chloe. Although she is currently a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, she simultaneously founded her brand Cool Is a Construct. Designed with sustainability in mind, the brand centers around lively, fun, and colorful pieces perfect for any summer wardrobe.

What inspired you to start your own brand?

In 2020, I decided to transfer from Vanderbilt to FIT. During that time of change, I knew it was time to bring my long-term dream of Cool Is a Construct to life. Ever since middle school, I always had the idea for this name and brand, but I never thought I had the skills to turn my dream into life. Finally, in the creative, entrepreneurial environment of FIT, I felt inspired and ready to take on this new chapter. Growing up in New York City, fashion and art have always been at the core of my life, interests, and passions. When I started the brand at the start of the pandemic in March of 2020, I only sold one shirt. My vibe was originally inspired by Jane Birkin and dainty Parisian feminine dresses. However, when I met our creative director, Erica, everything changed. In the summer of 2020, I found Erica through mutual friends and DMed her on Instagram to model for the brand in a rose garden. It’s really crazy looking back on it that one simple social media message started what would be a forever friendship and partnership. We immediately had a whole new vision for how to transform the brand together and started working. Erica transferred from WashU in St. Louis to NYU, so it was perfect that we were in the city together and could get right to work. We dropped the old aesthetic and started experimenting with more fun creative and bold patterns and styles. We turned to social media to really gain and grow an audience of loyal supporters and followers. With me as founder and Erica as the creative director, we really are a dynamic duo, and I can’t wait to see how we grow.

There’s a huge amount of attention on Gen Z right now, especially in terms of social media, fashion, and pop culture. Why do you think the attention toward Generation Z currently is so amplified, and how do you feel about being part of that grouping?

As college students and founders, Gen Z is everything to us. It is who we are and who we are inspired to make clothes for. The whole world of fashion and the meaning of apparel is ever changing and adapting to our digital age of expression and identity. Generation Z is the future of fashion and growing our brand as Gen Z leaders with the support of our customers. The spotlight is on the trendsetters of our generation, Gen Z. Everyone’s looking at them, so it feels so incredible to be a part of that, both as creators and consumers.

What strengths do you think being Gen Z gives you in your career? How would you say it affects your approach to having your own brand?

We really owe a lot of our success to our TikTok growth and active Gen Z audience. Speaking directly to our followers and really engaging with who they are as individuals and what they like to wear and want to see is how we have been able to make clothing that they love and buy. The Gen Z audience’s use of social media allows us to bridge the gap between designer and customer, fostering an authentic community. We want our followers to be involved in every step of what we do, and social media has been a big part of that. We aren’t afraid to get a little bit more casual, communicative, and curious when using our TikTok to ask our followers questions such as, Do you like this print? How would you style it? What size flowers should we put on this bikini? We are so lucky that our TikToks have caught the attention of muses like Addison Rae and more. It is so amazing that we used and continue to use social media to not only spread the word of our brand but also bring people together and express authentic creativity.

Why do you think your brand stands out among the rest?

Both our clothes and the vision of our brand focus on breaking down what it means to be “cool.” When designing and wearing our clothes, we think to ourselves and encourage our customers to think: What is “cool,” and who defines it? There is so much pressure nowadays on social media to fit the “cool-girl” aesthetic. To us, cool is just a construct. Our creative direction is all about fun, dynamic, colorful, floral prints and patterns. Our goal as designers and leaders is to bring expression to the surface and really highlight the energy of both ourselves and our consumers, clothes that encourage personalities and identities shine. We take pride in our inclusive size range of XXS to 4XL and our ethical and sustainable production in New York. We want everyone to be able to wear clothes that make them feel the best version of themselves.

What’s your favorite piece you’ve designed so far? What do you hope to accomplish as you continue with your brand?

Both Erica and I have a clear favorite piece: our Alessia Corset. Our favorite pattern and best-selling collection is called Secret Garden, which includes two floral colorways: pink and green. I remember the moment we got the first sample back, and Erica tried it on. After I finished lacing up the back, I felt a wave of accomplishment. I couldn’t believe that we actually made our dream piece of clothing, and we are still juniors in college.

What piece of advice would you give to your younger counterparts who are hoping to join the fashion industry and possibly start their own brands?

We often get many questions from friends or DMs from young girls who simply ask us: “How do we get where you are? Where do we possibly even start?” To everyone, we just say go for it. As college students, running a brand with now over 50k followers on Instagram and curating mentions in British Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Kendall Jenner’s story, and more seems like the impossible. It’s been hard work, many long nights, many failed collections, but it led us here. Putting a dream into reality may sound cliché, but the feeling of success and accomplishment, especially when working with your best friend, is worth it all. There’s no harm in just putting it all out there, letting your creativity flow, and giving the fashion industry a shot. Your brand might even blow up within one minute of posting a random TikTok.

What impact do you hope your generation has on the fashion industry?

As we mentioned before, we take pride in our ethical and sustainable approach. With fast fashion dominating our generation, it is more important now than ever to keep waste, consumption, and the environment in mind. Fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world, and even though we are one brand, to know we are making even a small difference means everything to us. Beyond that, we hope to impact the fashion industry with the philosophy behind our brand. Clothes should not be associated with insecurity, competition, unrealistic standards, or simply buying something to be like everyone else. With our focus on boldness, energy, and expression, we hope to convey a more important message of individuality and authenticity. 

Designing is a way of storytelling. What story do you want your brand to tell?

Our name is everything to us, the exact story we want to tell. We want to show our audience that you define “cool” for yourself—no one else does. What makes you feel confident, empowered, creative, and authentic … that’s cool. Through putting on our expressive clothes, we want our customers to feel like they can create their own story.

Meet Tabitha. While she first started as an assistant on shoots, she took her career to the next level by starting to style the new kind of celebrity—TikTok stars. You can find her clients wearing indie brands, vintage archival pieces, and the funkiest of trends.

What inspired you to pursue a career in styling?

I’d always loved fashion, but growing up, it wasn’t necessarily something that existed around me, so it wasn’t until I moved to New York as a teenager that I was able to start exploring. That’s when I really became exposed to fashion, but it wasn’t until a few years later that I actively started pursuing a career in styling. I’d been selling vintage to friends, and someone suggested I try out styling, and I found an internship that week.

What strength do you think being a Gen Zer gives you in your career? How would you say it affects your approach to your styling work in a way that stands out?

I think my ability to navigate the internet and social media to find new designers has been really instrumental in helping my styling work stand out. … My clients all shop at thrift stores and flea markets, so I always try to incorporate vintage and thrifted pieces into looks because that’s what feels natural.

What’s a favorite look you’ve styled in your career so far? What do you hope to accomplish as you continue to be a stylist?

Honestly, every look is my new favorite look. There’s so much thought and care that goes into how we get dressed, and we never do something that isn’t a favorite. And as I continue, I just hope to keep cultivating really personal relationships with the people I style. I really loved the moments I’ve done with Loren Gray and Chloe Cherry recently.

What piece of advice would you give to your younger counterparts who are hoping to join the fashion industry? 

Honestly, use social media. If you think you want to pursue a career in fashion—whether it be styling or designing—social media acts as a portfolio, and people are constantly being discovered. And when it comes to styling, it’s a skill, and the more you do it, the better you’ll become. When I first started doing my own work, I’d thrift pieces and style them on my friends and take photos. And if you’re able to assist and intern, do it. There’s so much to be learned at the lower level, and I think that’s a step a lot of younger people are trying to skip.

What impact do you hope your generation has on the fashion industry?

I hope my generation is able to bring inclusivity to the fashion industry in a way that isn’t just a quick trend. I hope we continue to advocate for transparency on how the garments we’re wearing are manufactured. And I hope that we continue to shop secondhand and show that it can be just as good as new items.

Styling is a way of sartorial storytelling. What story do you want your platform to tell?

I just want the people I style to feel confident in what they wear. Fashion is supposed to be fun, and if we overanalyze anything too much, it becomes something that isn’t enjoyable. I always describe my fittings/shoots as dress-up because I think it just brings us back to a more playful time in our lives where we would just try on the craziest things.

As you are a stylist, I’m sure you’re always coming across new brands and pieces. What are some brands or pieces you’ve been loving lately?

So many amazing brands recently. Alexander Digenova is one of my favorite L.A.-based menswear brands. Tarina Tarantino for jewelry. I just found her on social media, and she just has the craziest pieces and has been in the industry for such a long time. Ch4rm is a brand I’ve really been loving recently.

Next, The 2022 Vacation Capsule Wardrobe: 9 Essentials You Should Always Pack


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