On February 18, at the MAGIC Fashion Trade Show, we presented our presentation about Global Youth Culture Fashion and Lifestyle Trends to an audience of over 400, including brand directors, marketers, designers, and professors of street fashion. One of our top focuses started out with taking a look back to the future and how the definition of fashion is changing and why, when it comes to this new generation of young people.

What’s different about this generation of 15-25-year-olds is that their trends are coming from the bottom-up. Their DIY aesthetics are moving in niche directions and crossing boundaries -even outside of traditional definitions of fashion. The youth market today are the leaders re-defining the industry by creating new meanings of what is fashion: It’s not just clothing, but also accessories and key electronics. It’s using one’s spending power in fashion as a form of protest. For example, what is music or entertainment, for example, is it interactive like video gaming or. Passive like TV, and how is this impacting fashion, such as the rise in video gaming fashion design, anime-styles in normal day-wear. To the youth market today, communication, i.e. texting, twittering, participating in social networks are also re-defining fashion in terms of the speed of trends, making many runway shows and fashion weeks dated by the time the real product actually ships.

One of the strongest trends in youth culture fashion is the rise of those Looking Back to the Future, or past eras towards moving forward with their personal style. What we mean by this is the strong growing trend of shopping Thrift or Vintage. We call this “Neo-Vintage” because young people are not necessarily copying past styles completely, but are re-mixing eras with new concepts. Here are some top points:

The Recession will continue to push trends in this direction, and combined with thrifty spending patterns and the DY spirit of youth culture where by people can buy certain pieces inexpensively and mix and match eras, this is creating entirely new styles and new ideas, even new cultures.
In our data from our North American Youth Culture Study covering 13-25-year-olds, shopping preferences for Thrift/Vintage shopping has now surpassed preferences for Wal-Mart/Target in terms of store types. Why? Because it allows for diversity, to live in different eras, and it’s cheap. This trend is especially strong among 16-25-year-olds females, and very high in our European Youth Culture Study among young people from the UK.
Neo-Vintage trends are also re-shaping retail as more “collective spaces” like Space 15 Twenty by Urban Outfitters, includes more stores or merchandising with vintage pieces or brands.
This leads to the rise of Masstige Collaborations such as Alexander McQueen X Target and H&M X Commes des Garcons among many others
Masstige, or high-end designers creating for the masses, keeps these designers relevant and more connected to the street level while creating hype and excitement for retailers as consumers demand the limited-edition pieces from designers.
However what’s changed is that Masstige is now commonplace and growing but the pendulum is swinging: What was once considered a good idea for consumers, is now a necessity for designers to stay relevant among a new type of savvy shopper.

Stay tune for more from Neo-Vintage Trends next week with new emphasis on vintage fabrics, the rise of craftivism, and biomimcry in textiles.