The fashion industry has undergone significant disruption over the past few years. From “converging” – and emerging – channels, COVID and supply chain disruption, to the rising impact of social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, it’s never been more important for brands to keep up with evolving consumer perceptions and demands.

Plus, Gen Z has presented new challenges and opportunities for brands: the younger, “woke” generation tends to buy from companies that align with their values. A survey conducted in 2021 by Ipsos showed that 59% of the generation “strongly agree” or “agree” with the statement that companies should take a stand on social issues. They’re also the biggest users of social media and frequent their favorite sites to share opinions, follow influencers, and discover new brands.

In a new Synthesio report, we analyzed 3.4 million online, English only mentions in the US, UK, and France using Synthesio’s AI-enabled consumer intelligence platform. We also gathered audience analysis data to reveal key brand and behavioral insights about Gen Z. Here are some highlights:

  • Sustainable fashion is the most talked-about trend, followed by upcycling. An increasing number of internet users have taken to social media to express concern over the entire fashion industry’s impact on the environment, from textile waste to pollution and CO2 emissions. Over the past two years, sustainable fashion comprised 37.6% of fashion-related conversations in the three countries, while upcycling contributed 16.9%. In the last 12 months alone, the volume of sustainable fashion mentions has increased by an average of 13%, with the greatest increase in the UK (16%).

Source: Synthesio, 05/24/2020 – 05/24/2022, public mentions in the US, UK, and France related to fashion trends, English only

  • Gen Z fashion lovers skew female and have a higher affinity for social media sites like Twitch, Tumblr, and TikTok. To learn more about Gen Z shoppers, we compared behavioral and demographic data about our target audience (13 to 25-year-old US individuals interested in fashion) to a reference audience (26 to 65+-year-old US individuals also interested in fashion). The fashion-engaged Gen Z audience was 62.2% female (versus 50% in the reference audience). Interestingly – particularly for brands that advertise on social media or use influencer marketing – they were also overrepresented on Twitch, Tumblr, and TikTok, but underrepresented on other platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. The two audiences showed a nearly equal affinity for Instagram.

As style, shopping behaviors, and buyer expectations continue to change, brands must tune into consumer conversations. Fashion trends are often incubated, spread, and discussed on social media (and this is only increasing as platforms like TikTok put the trendsetting power into the hands of consumers and influencers). Monitoring real-time consumer feedback is crucial to riding the waves of the fashion industry.

Click here to read our full report for more social findings, top trends, and Gen Z insights.