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Trend forecast: what can we expect from Gen Z students in 2024?

Loud luxury. 

2023 gave us another milestone: the first ever viral Gen Z wedding. Sofia Richie (daughter of Lionel,  and successful model in her own right) became Sofia Richie Grange in April of 2023, and in doing so, kicked off a months-long affinity for “quiet luxury”. If you’re in the market for a definition, quiet luxury is simply the desire to look like you’ve spent a lot of money – but not to be too loud, logoed, or branded about it. 

In a year that was pitted to see the revival of Indie Sleaze, quiet luxury was a bit of a left turn from Gen Z. But it’s not one that should surprise us. After all, this is the cohort that puts quality above all else. According to native research, 59% of Gen Z students factor quality into their brand-selection process, and 38% have distanced themselves from a brand upon discovering their products and services were poor quality. 


This year will see Gen Z students turning up the volume on luxury. Like all of us, they’re grappling with the hair-raising cost-of-living. But up until now, Gen Z students have shown themselves to be much more financially-clued-up than their predecessors. This has changed the psychology of how they spend. Rather than splashing out on 10 low-quality garments that won’t last three washes, Gen Z students are willing to save up to buy a legacy (read: luxury) purchase. 

Some luxury fashion

And when it comes to big luxury, they’ve been given an education – and then some – this year. We’re talking Margot Robbie’s Chanel necklace in the Barbie Movie, and the near-ubiquitous presence of fashion publisher SheerLuxe on TikTok. We’re talking the viral spread of the Adidas x Wales Bonner Sambas to 16-27-year-old feet across the world (and the less viral, but certainly notable revival of two-toed Tabis.) And we’re talking the youthification of brands like Miu Miu and Ganni. 

This year, campuses will play host to some of these names, plus more – but don’t be surprised to see Gen Z students styling their Zara jackets with their Vivienne Westwood chokers, or getting their Ganni tees second-hand on Vinted. After all – they’re not made of money (yet). 


Gen Z-E-Os.

Something is happening in the world of Gen Zs. And it’s by no means a new phenomenon. 

The people they idolise – once an older (or slightly-older) demographic – now come from within their 16-27-year-old age bracket. And as a new era of multi-hyphenates rise up, Gen Z students have a whole host of new role models to follow in the footsteps of. 

Gen Z idols aren’t just stepping into the shoes of those ahead of them. They’re opting instead to take their own brave steps, reinventing what it means to be a rapper, or a movie star, or a comedian. Take Ice Spice, for example – the 24-year-old Bronx native has flipped an oft-misogynistic genre on its head, bringing a cutesy femininity to rap music. And Gen Z actor Jacob Elrodi (initially of Euphoria fame, but now the star of Saltburn and Priscilla) is going against the macho-movie-star grain with his androgynous style and penchant for murses.


And closer to home, we have Max Baledge, who has borrowed his name from an infamous Little Mix meme, which tells you all you need to know about his on-the-pulse humour. Max’s warmth and hilarity has seen him rise through the ranks to become a TikTok giant, presenter and podcast host. 

So we have the celebrities. This year, though, we will see the Gen Z founders really have their moments. They’re already deeply curious about brand building: 47% want to see behind-the-scenes content of your brand. In previous years, we’ve come close to seeing Gen Z founders creating Gen Z brands – cult clothing brand Peachy Den is headed by Isabella Weatherby, a 28-year-old Millenial on the cusp of Gen Z status. But this year, we’ll see the rule breaking and bending ways of Gen Zs unleashed on the brand-building sphere. Expect the same energy you’ve seen from Ice, Elrodi and Baledge – but in a business leadership context. 


Let’s get physical. 

We already know that tangible experiences are a huge part of on-campus life. Due to COVID-19, Gen Z spent a lot of their formative years indoors and disconnected, with much of their experiences playing out online.

Now, as students, Gen Z are ready for IRL experiences – and that includes brand activations.  We saw on campus in Freshers 2023 just how much Gen Z students appreciated experiencing brands in person – whether it’s a free slice of Domino’s Pizza, a trip to Lounge Underwear’s Boob Box, or a chat about Gynae health in the midst of The Lady Garden Foundation’s life-sized bathroom. 

An in-person activation

It’s a relationship that works for you, too. 57% of Gen Z students have bought something after sampling it on campus – after all, no digital ad can replicate the experience of trying something out in real life. 


Want to meet Gen Z students where they are in 2024? You’ll need to know where to find them – and when. Luckily, A to Gen Z – the definitive student marketing calendar – was created to help you do just that. Dive in now.