SCENE + HEARD: Today's Read A Look Toward 2022, Trends and Gen-Z By Gwendolyn Plummer Friday, December 17, 2021 8:30 AM NEW YORK—We’re hurtling closer to 2022 every day, but, for some, 2022 has more or less arrived. Those who work in and live for things like fashion and tech are always looking ahead, both anticipating and creating trends for the next year. With 2022 on the horizon, many trendsetters have already started taking a look at what we’ll all be talking about for the next 12 months, from fashion to social justice to sustainability and everything in between. Of course, no one has their pulse on culture and trends quite like Gen Z does, and there’s no place to share trends quite like Instagram, so this year Instagram conducted the first edition of its Instagram Trend Report, which it calls a “guide to the upcoming trends, as defined by Gen-Z, that will shape culture in 2022.” The report, which is available in full online here, was created with the help of YPulse, which conducted a survey among 1,200 weekly social media users aged 13-24 in the United States. For those in the eyewear industry, the results for the Fashion & Beauty and Shopping categories might be the most interesting. Instagram’s report focuses on the takeover of maximalist fashion combined with minimalist and natural makeup. Alt-fashion (subcategories like Goth, Dark Academia, and more) are becoming more and more popular, while young people are also becoming more attuned with what’s in their makeup and skincare, and tend to favor “clean” products with fewer, safer ingredients. When it comes to shopping, Instagram reports that more than half of young people who are interested in new shopping experiences keep up with shopping on Instagram. Thrift shops are rising in popularity too, as well as reselling—buying from thrift stores to then sell online for a profit. Over one in four of people surveyed said they expect to shop directly through social media feeds and in-app features—something VM’s Global Leadership Summit took a look at earlier this year with the help of retail strategist and experiential designer Melissa Gonzalez. It seems clear that Gen-Z is serious about sustainability—and that shopping secondhand has become cooler than ever. Also notable is that micro-influencers and creators are becoming significantly more influential to young people: 1 in 4 of those surveyed agree that social media influencers are the most important “spreaders,” regardless of their following size, and four out of five agree that “social media and other online celebrities have more influence on culture than traditional celebrities.” This information could be game changing for companies that are deciding who to partner with on major campaigns or collections. Gen-Z is also passionate about social justice; Instagram reports that advocates are the most active social media users, and 52 percent of those surveyed followed social justice accounts in 2021. Instagram users are significantly more likely to have voted in 2021, and more young people are planning to donate their own money to social media causes in 2022 than did in 2021. The report also found that 90 percent of respondents believe “the best education comes from real world experiences and given how much college costs, they are seriously considering taking alternative paths.” 71 percent agree that they’d rather have a more meaningful job, even if it means making less money, and 63 percent say that COVID-19 has made them reconsider their career aspirations. The full report also covers Music & Dance, Food, Wellness Gaming and Memes, and is available in full online here. It represents a small but increasingly influential segment of the population, and shows how much change may just be coming our way. As Gen-Z continues to age into the workforce and positions of power, things will shift—and, probably, for the better.