- Nike, Asos and Old Navy are some of the brands leading the way on inclusivity and challenging gender stereotypes, according to the Gen Z Fashion Report by student affinity network Unidays. The survey was informed by a panel of more than 4,000 Gen Z students across the U.K., U.S. and Australia conducted from Jan. 28 to Feb. 1.
- Beyond several leading brands, 61% of Gen Z think brands could be doing more to prove that "style should not have a gender." Nearly half (49%) of students are more willing to purchase from a brand that has better gender representation and inclusivity in its marketing. In the U.K., 31% feel that brand marketing portrays inclusive and diverse gender representation.
- The Unidays survey of Gen Z provides more evidence that the cohort want to see better diversity and inclusion of all gender identities in both products and marketing, and will vote with their dollars for brands that get it right.
While a few major fashion brands are getting inclusivity and diversity of gender identities right, Gen Z consumers surveyed by Unidays believe there is much room for improvement. Nearly all (87%) Gen Z believe strongly there should be better gender equality and inclusion within fashion, with 61% saying the mainstream fashion industry overlooks minority groups, including non-binary and trans people.
The survey shows that brands can be doing more in their marketing and advertising campaigns to better portray such representation. Over half of U.K. Gen Z (56%) said brands that get it wrong appear "tokenistic," with nearly half (45%) saying brands should market gender neutral clothing more explicitly. Many want brands to support wider inclusivity initiatives (51%) and support organizations that benefit non-binary individuals (38%), showing the need for purpose to drive a brand's actions beyond marketing.
"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," said Viviane Paxinos, general manager at Unidays, in a statement. "By expanding their focus on representation, communicating authentically with their audience, and recognizing that price is a top priority that influences Gen Z purchasing decisions, brands will succeed in driving affinity with this highly influential generation."
With nearly half of students more willing to purchase from a brand that gets representation right, there is an opportunity for brands and retailers to engage with Gen Z and drive sales. Almost two thirds (65%) said that brands could improve the online retail experience by letting them search for "gender neutral" clothing, without being forced to search "men's" or "women's" from the beginning. And while most consumers would not expect to pay more for gender-neutral items, some would be willing to pay more if the item was designed and marketed as non-gendered.