Millennial, Gen Z and Generation Alpha consumers have gradually become the biggest fashion purchasers in the world. Accordingly, over the last few years, fashion consumption and marketing trends have shifted to focus on younger generations.

As they represent about 25% of the global population, connecting with Gen Z has been particularly critical for brands. Gen Z’s values and consumption patterns have, however, challenged and prompted changes in the way fashion marketing operates. 

After collecting and analyzing data over a span of three years (from January 2020 to December 2023), the fashion-focused software and data company Launchmetrics dives deep into the power of Gen Z as fashion consumers, trendsetters and game changers in a new study. 

Titled “Reinventing Influence: The Gen Z Impact on Fashion Marketing,” the report presents crucial findings about the way fashion marketing strategies are evolving to appeal to Gen Z, the type of influencers and celebrities resonating with this generation and how brands are tapping into the popularity of Asia Pacific (APAC) stars among Gen Z to build successful partnerships.

Norms Are Shifting

Launchmetrics’ latest report sheds light on the constantly evolving, tech-savvy and diverse nature of Gen Z. The study highlights the importance of keeping up with the times through collaborations and partnerships that resonate with younger people, but also align with values that concern their generation. 

Innovation, authentic engagement, self-expression, and strategies tailored to different groups within the Gen Z demographic are equally relevant to connecting with them.

Denim pioneers Levi’s, for example, have “recognized the importance of sustainability” by creating eco-conscious products and partnering with people who align with the cause. The brand’s collaborations and long-standing partnership with Gen Z icon and Influencer Emma Chamberlain serves as an example. 

Photo courtesy of Levi’s

In 2022, Levi’s and Emma teamed up to create a pair of shorts inspired by the classic 501 jeans. With a sole placement on Emma’s Instagram, the campaign generated $734K in Media Impact Value (MIV®) within two months. The campaign ultimately garnered $894K in MIV® during this tracking period.

Emma and Levi’s joined forces again in 2023 for the Buy Better Wear Longer campaign, garnering $630K in MIV® with another buzzworthy Instagram post, which ranked 5th among Levi’s top placements for the year. 

viral-Worthy Moments

In the design realm, examples such as Crocs’ collaboration with MSCHF prove that smartly incorporating virality and consumer preferences, as well as partnering with the right personalities, will go a long way. On August 2023, the footwear brand tapped K-pop star Yeonjun — member of K-pop group TOMORROW X TOGETHER (TXT) — to showcase their viral Big Red Boot in a unique yellow colorway. Yeonjun, who is recognized as a trendsetting star among Gen Z, was responsible for a placement worth $1.5 million in MIV®. The same post became Crocs’ top placement for the year. 

“This viral-worthy moment not only showcased Crocs’ ability to innovate and captivate Gen Z audiences but also highlighted the brand’s agility in adapting to the evolving landscape of fashion and consumer preferences,” Launchmetrics explained in the report. 

Top Influencers Connecting with Gen Z

Partnering with the right figures to represent a brand remains crucial to connect with Gen Z. Influencer Voices, according to Launchmetrics, have jumped by 177% from 2020 to 2023 in the Media Impact Value split for luxury brands, demonstrating the increasing impact of these personalities as fashion players.  

As per Angela Nader, Head of Brand Partnerships at LTK, creators can contribute to enhancing brands, boosting product recognition and broadening product consideration among audiences. “Creators now rank as the #1 trusted source over social media ads and celebrities across all generations, and Gen Z say they are 3x more likely to trust creators over ads,” she shared with Launchmetrics. “It’s no surprise creators are driving the majority of Gen Z’s shopping decisions online and in stores.”

Figures such as Mia Khalifa, who boasts over 26 million followers on Instagram alone, French Gen Z icon Léna Mahfouf and TV personality and entrepreneur Kylie Jenner lead Launchmetrics’ ranking of most impactful Gen Z-aged Influencers in 2023. The Top 20 also includes names such as Russian YouTuber Valeria Lipovetsky, Mexican creator Priscilla Escoto, fashion influencer Madeline White and French fashion and beauty creator Sanaa El Mahalli.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND – JUNE 03: Lena Mahfouf attends the Dior Cruise 2025 at Drummond Castle on June 03, 2024 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images for Christian Dior)

APAC Power

The growing popularity of Asian Pacific celebrities among Gen Z has also influenced the way fashion brands tailor their marketing and communication. In 2023 alone, the celebrity landscape dramatically shifted to focus on the APAC region. 

As per Launchmetrics’ data, 70% of global celebrity accounts dominating all fashion and sportswear segments in 2023 belonged to celebrities hailing from the region. Indian actress Avneet Kaur, K-pop stars ENHYPEN, Filipina fashion icon Heart Evangelista and multicultural K-pop group NCT made it to the Top 5 after garnering $97, $89.7, $85 and $81 million in Media Impact Value, respectively. 

2023 Top celebrities globally for all fashion and sportswear segments. Photo and data courtesy of Launchmetrics

These APAC celebrities have consistently led conversations as official brand ambassadors for luxury brands like Prada (ENHYPEN and NCT’S Jaehyun), Loewe (NCT’s Taeyong) and Ferragamo (NCT’s Jeno). They’ve also stood out as Fashion Week VIPs and front-row guests. Heart Evangelista, for example, accrued $3.6 million in MIV® during Fall Winter 2024 Milan Fashion Week after attending fashion shows for Max Mara, Versace, Onitsuka Tiger, Prada and more.

Photo courtesy of Prada

With similar feats, other K-pop names such as Jennie, NewJeans, Jisoo, Rosé and Stray Kids left their imprint in 2023, respectively taking sixth, seventh, eight, 13th and 15th place in Launchmetrics’ top celebrity ranking. 

Leveraging APAC Audiences

Meanwhile, reflecting the rising power of Thai entertainment, actor and Dior ambassador Apo Nattawin ($48 million in MIV), Prada ambassador and fashion darling Win Metawin ($41.6 million in MIV), and multihyphenate star Mile Phakphum ($36.9 million in MIV) made it to the 10th, 12th and 16th spots. Filipina actress Anne Curtis and Indian star Disha Patani rounded up the Top 20, garnering $55 and $23 million in MIV, each. 

TOKYO, JAPAN – APRIL 11: Win Metawin attends Tiffany & Co.’s opening celebration for the House’s ‘Tiffany Wonder’ exhibition at the TOKYO NODE gallery on April 11, 2024 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images for Tiffany & Co.)

Launchmetrics’ CEO, Michael Jaïs, has previously elaborated on what makes APAC stars successful brand ambassadors, front-row attendants and brand partners. “They take the time to [interact with fans], take pictures, use the right hashtags on their content, so APAC celebrities make really impeccable ambassadors, bringing more than just star power,” Jaïs said back in March. “They strategically leverage their gigantic social media reach to promote not only themselves but the shows and to maximize brand exposure across a global audience.”

The K-pop Case

While the sphere of influence of Thai, Filipino and Indian entertainment continues to grow in recent years, South Korean musicians have undoubtedly struck a chord with Gen Z. As cultural exports reach global audiences and brands aim to connect with new niches, K-pop celebrities have emerged as go-to brand ambassadors, campaign stars and fashion collaborators. 

The team-ups can take any form, from high-voltage campaigns to runway appearances — as seen last March when Louis Vuitton invited Australian star Felix to walk their womenswear show, garnering over $9.1 million in MIV®

Photo courtesy of Louis Vuitton

However, in the tech-savvy environment where Gen Z thrives, even the most seemingly simple collaborations can go a long way. K-pop septet ENHYPEN offered the perfect example at the Prada Spring Summer 2024 show in September 2023. The “Bite Me” singers filmed a 12-second TikTok video leaving for their hotel room for the show, accruing $548K in MIV® for the Italian brand. At the same event, a candid Instagram post by member Jungwon garnered $1 million in MIV®.

Similarly, pop icon Jennie Kim’s association with Chanel serves as another case that exemplifies how brands can benefit from a star’s cultural capital and nourishing enduring links with APAC celebrities. For instance, in June 2023 Jennie generated gasp-inducing $2.6 million in MIV® for the French brand with just a mirror selfie post on Instagram. 

The Takeaways 

As Launchmetrics’ report details, in this day and era, Gen Z-focused marketing strategies have largely contributed to fostering relevant connections between fashion brands and Gen Z consumers. By prioritizing authenticity, nurturing values and encouraging self-expression, brands can effectively find communities that resonate with their products and remain loyal and engaged. It helps, of course, that many brands have also handpicked the right spokespeople to collaborate with.

Want to know more about how Gen Z is influencing the fashion landscape? Check out how Gen Z stars have become the new faces of luxury fashion here.