How social media is a top source of influence and inspiration for Japan’s Gen Z

Research suggests that Japan’s Gen Z no longer looks to brands to inform their fashion choices, relying instead on their own tastes when choosing clothes. — ETX Studio pic
Research suggests that Japan’s Gen Z no longer looks to brands to inform their fashion choices, relying instead on their own tastes when choosing clothes. — ETX Studio pic

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TOKYO, Sept 28 — Is this the end of trends? It may sound surprising, but a new study reveals that trends no longer interest young people in Japan, who prefer to choose their clothing in function of their friends and family, the design, what they plan to do during the day, or, of course, social media, rather than the brands or trends of the moment.

Ultimately, fashion could be set to become more of a means of communication than a way of showing off your style on a daily basis.

Japanese firm Shibuya 109 Lab looked into younger generations’ relationships with fashion, surveying 205 people — 85 young men and 120 young women — between the ages of 15 and 24, all affiliated with its network.

Nearly three quarters of respondents (71 per cent) indicated clearly that brands no longer carry the same weight when it comes to choosing fashion items for younger people, with the majority agreeing that they no longer take brands into account, favouring instead their own tastes or personal style.

And on the subject of style, it seems that young people don’t just have one style these days, but several.

From gothic and bohemian to rock or K-pop-inspired, styles are now multiple. A single style is not — or is no longer — enough to define the tastes of an individual, or, more precisely, of a young person from Gen Z.

More than a quarter of men (28 per cent) and almost half of women (44 per cent) say they alternate clothing styles, showing a lack of interest in trends.

As such, men prefer casual (59 per cent), “clean and sophisticated” (25 per cent) and streetwear (22 per cent) styles, while their female counterparts prefer “casual girly” (30 per cent) and “casual boyish” (27.5 per cent) styles.

Further proof that trends as the fashion world sees them seem outdated for this generation lies in the fact that more than two thirds of respondents (67 per cent) say they choose and coordinate their outfit(s) primarily in relation to where they will spend their day, before taking into account the tasks or activities they will be doing (54 per cent).

But this young generation also pays attention to what their friends are wearing (31 per cent) — the idea being to match their style to that of their friends.

Note too, that many of Japan’s Gen Z are also using social media-based “Body Type Diagnosis” tools, allowing them to find clothes best suited to their build or shape, in order to look their best in social media snaps.

Unsurprisingly, social networks play a dominant role when it comes to inspirations. When they need fashion information, more than eight in 10 respondents turn directly to Instagram, while 40 per cent log on to video streaming services, and 34 per cent head to TikTok. — ETX Studio

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