Unique Is The New Cool

Thrift StoreWhereas dressing like everyone else was once seen as the way to fit in, Millennials now have a mindset that celebrates individuality. To them, being original is important and they constantly want to curate their own style. Whether that’s through clothes, nail art, or hair trends, they aren’t afraid to stand out. In fact, they embrace it and want to experiment with their fashion. This is in part because Millennials are the most diverse generation and they’ve grown up being surrounded by differences. As a result, they don’t want to be limited to a uniform or logo; rather, they want their fashion to express their identity.

This sentiment is seen through their rejection of branded clothes. While Abercrombie logos were once cool, today, Millennials would rather mix and match pieces and create something new. Why replicate what everyone else is wearing when you can have more influence as an individual? According to Ypulse research among 1,200 13-34-year-olds, 55% say " I don’t follow trends; I like to think I have my own personal style."

Additionally, Millennials have a DIY attitude and are interested in making their own clothes or accessories. There’s a social currency in having a bracelet unlike any other or in telling the story behind an item that you made. Part of this mentality may be shaped by the economy, but we’re also seeing Gen Y place greater emphasis on creativity. One 21-year-old female recently echoed this idea: “I’m seeing the DIY trend everywhere with people making cool accessories, home décor, and clothes, which I think shows how creative my generation is.” Nearly a quarter (22%) of Millennials say they modify/cut up/or embellish their style. While this may not sound like a lot, it’s still noteworthy with upcycling becoming more common. 

Etsy and Modcloth have become…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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