Appealing to Gen Z
Words Antonella Reina
No gender ideology, sustainability, ethical commitment, authenticity and transparency: the eyewear of the future passes through the new dogmas of a generation that has revolutionised the rules of style, with attitudes, behaviours and expectations aimed at making the world of tomorrow better
For spring/summer 2022, Vogue Eyewear launched an exclusive collection in collaboration with Hailey Bieber, the brand's new ambassador and co-designer of the latest eyewear models. It is no coincidence that the Luxottica Group brand has chosen one of the most admired and followed young women of the moment, both on social media and in fashion. Just like it is no coincidence that Won Lee, former US CEO of Gentle Monster - one of the most avant-garde names in eyewear - returned to the world of glasses in September 2021, collaborating on the futuristic X8 Eyewear project, which launches a clear message of gender fluidity, through the two ambassadors Willow Smith and Harry Hudson Gen Z icons.
Increasingly, the choices of the major players in the sector, such as those of independent brands, support the will of a young audience that 'lives' on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, virtual microcosms where ideologies of no gender, sustainability and ethical commitment, authenticity and transparency are the dogmas that dictate trends, even in fashion and, therefore, in eyewear. According to the consulting company Bain & Company, the young people of Generation Z, i.e. those born from 1995 onwards and raised in a digital world, in addition to having gained purchasing power, are also influencing the behaviours and consumption of other generations, with experimental and hybrid style preferences, oriented exclusively towards brands that have something authentic to tell. An orientation that is found in the imagination of those who, in recent years, have revolutionised the rules of clothing, offering not only garments and accessories, but real ideologies to share.
First is Off-White, founded by the visionary Virgil Abloh, whose untimely passing in November 2021 left an unbridgeable gap in the fashion world. With the aim of exploring the concepts of youth culture in the contemporary context, Abloh conquered a vast community with creations that have become cult objects. His multidisciplinary approach, aimed at breaking down pre-established patterns, is revived in the new 2022 spring/summer eyewear collection, through the avant garde and genderless design of bold frames, which keeps the brand's most iconic codes.
Designer Yoon Ahn rides the same wave of genius. Her brand Ambush, founded together with rapper Verbal, aspires to a fluid culture, through the connection between luxury and street style. With a perfect balance between minimalist concepts inspired by the classics of unisex wardrobe and ultra-contemporary elements, the brand has become the uniform of the most sophisticated of Gen Z. The first Ambush collection of glasses was launched this year by the eyewear division of its parent company, New Guards Group. The four models on offer have simple and enchanting profiles inspired by the culture of the 1990s, and use elaborate details to preserve the brand's roots in the world of jewellery. Leaving the fashion radar and turning our attention to that independent niche of eyewear that we love so much, we find some names emerging to communicate the urgency of a theme particularly important to Gen Z: sustainability.
Like Delarge, founded in 2021 in Barcelona by Blanca Miró and Olivia Álvarez, who nurture their items with a life philosophy of 'slow and conscious', putting relationships and respect for the environment in the foreground. Their glasses are produced in limited editions, not only to make them unique, but also to contribute to responsible production. They are made in a small family run workshop in Greece, with a careful craft process that ensures quality and durability. 'Geometric Twist' is their new summer collection which, through geometric shapes and gentle shades of colours, gives a relaxed sense of joy and provides food for thought on how we would like the future to be: original, stimulating and bright.
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