by Antonio Lilliu
Caught in the NET: the new Millennial VOLK.
The whys on the new Millennium’s generation are broad ranging, that’s why swarms of experts in sociology, marketing and economics devote more and more attention to the study of this topic. There are not many points of agreement about Millennials but at least figures, for once, do not lie: they’re about 160 million in Europe and 80 million in the USA. Studies show, however, unanimity on the symbiotic relationship between Millennials, digital technologies and Internet, whose advent around mid-nineties marked the birth and adolescence of the Z and Y generations, also renamed as “Net Generation”.
The press would even go so far into portraying them as Beings rather notorious for being still so young: not exactly disinterested in politics, but certainly apolitical; they are often called MasterChef generation, for their attitude to culinary experimentations (commendable one as sign of open mentality, however, a bit suspect because it could herald the decline of healthy home cookery); surveys draw attention to those aspects of the hedonistic-narcissistic behavior such as selfies, compulsive behaviors in controlling their post on FB, Instagram, etc. their preference to virtual communication and poor sex emotionality. Certainly the generation Ryanair - another of its names- is not an easy market for fashion companies and not, because if on the one hand a strong orientation to Brands’ names distinguishes them, on the other they are less likely to Brand-loyalty. They are almost virtuous consumers as they prefer access to goods rather than possession. The true Luxury for Millennials is time to be optimized throughout online-purchasing rather than wasted in window-shopping. As one-piece-customers they are cross-styling’s masters, always mixing trash and chic, Gucci bags with cheap flip-flops! The Mix-it-up fashion has promoted into a real Style’s code their confused way of dressing: the same lack of bon-ton that makes parents and adults hysterically complain their pants are always too tight (Skinny), too wide (Boyfriend- jeans), too short; that Moccasins without socks as well as leggings with Chanel bolero are definitely “a NO-GO”, while amphibian boots don’t work at aerobics studio.
The most benevolent, and I consider myself among them, see them as children of their time: in short, being a Millennial would be no longer considered like a “Fifth Column” that undermines society from the ground up, but more or less as a crime premeditated by the History.
Let’s just say that this so diverse and contradictory people, however equipped with such a tight logic skill, born between 1980 and the beginning of the new millennium, is an opportunity for reflection for the whole society, while presenting from the mirror our distorted image of what we once wanted to become and we have become, of what we still want to be and the courage we are looking for it. Millennials are a chance of renewal for anyone of us, also considered that generational limits are becoming more and more fluid, since parents are used to growing up with their children, throughout learning new styles and behaviors. How many mothers go shopping with and in the same shops of daughters? ... Just look at H & M, Zara, Mango and take a look at new categories of merchandise of renowned shopping Paradises such as Rinascente, Galeries Lafayette and Harrods', where categories like “Ladies clothing” or “ceremony gowns” have disappeared just like the same concept of “Miss” has been banished from the spoken language. How many fathers do work-out in the same children’s gym? And how many children take Belstaff jacket from father borrowed? For sure, Fashion may go out-of-fashion but it never gets old because it knows how to renew itself, and us with it!
The challenge of trendy Millennials has been interpreted in a masterly way by the MODE CITY’s Trend studies for summer 2017:
The integration of Sport in daily life, gym, squash, yoga, Pilati, etc. has become the premise of a healthy mind-body relationship for the modern man, as for Millennials a healthy work-life balance features the highest aspiration in life. The real fashion novelty in recent years is precisely that formal clothing has been contaminated with sporting inspirations, while the functional one become more and more sophisticated from a design point of view and materials research. Future’s sports lingerie conveys these sartorial aspirations to sculpt a new Silhouette thanks to more and more structured cuts and color combinations, while keeping promises of product functionality.
The hybridization of materials is the strong point of innovation that results in fashion, Beachwear and Lingerie in daring materials’ combinations such as lace and silk voile with Lycra, the guipure or linen with waterproof and thermal insulating fabrics like tri-laminate, neoprene, etc. New techniques of stitching, cutting and carving lead to absolutely cutting-edge results, highly effective.
Customized creations. Millennials are characterized by a strong individuality. Their so typical "Smart shopping" has already influenced the whole society. In terms of clothing “Cross Styling” is the affirmation of individual identity in its purest form. Beachwear and Lingerie customize and embellish their creations with details from Haute-Couture to leave glimpse from under the dress.
The southern hemisphere: caught in the NET does not mean that Millennials have no other ambition. Paradoxically, the same world that should be more open and become wider and wider thanks to the WEB, remains after all in the boundaries of a screen. The anxiety about a reality bigger than life and the amplification of experience, which are the main goals of our digital technologies, reveal a strong desire to distant paradises, authenticity, emotions and empathy. The South Sea inspirations, tropical forests, prints’ vibrant color of the Beachwear Collections 2017 are an invitation to exit the virtual stadium, to start the journey, to go and realize this aspiration to intensity that the WEB cannot meet.
The bad news is that fashion reveals a lot about us while speaking about Millennials; the good one is that fashion does not live on memories and, indeed, it warns us once again that "the best is yet to come!"