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Models wearing Tanner Fletcher sweater, blazer and hat in front of the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse. Vintage sunglasses.

On a gloomy day, we stand in front of the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse, a location with social and political relevance. Items that have found themselves lost in the crosshairs of high fashion's ignorance following the war in Ukraine and the current Balenciaga holiday campaign debacle. Leaving consumers in outrage, hopelessly pressuring brands to address the current climate. Can fashion brands continue to ignore Gen Z's needs? When will they learn to read the room?

Over the past year, it has become more and more clear that brands need to create a space for addressing the days current events and taking accountability for their own actions. Something Gen Z holds near and dear to their heart. While some brands may feel that addressing the issue at hand is enough- it is in fact, only the first the step.

Models wearing Tanner Fletcher hat, dress, and jacket. Vintage leather shoes, jeans and sunglasses.

Gen Z is a distinctly different consumer than the generations that come before them. As consumers, they are most likely to place effort into researching and supporting brands that align with their social and political needs. Ecommerce marketplaces like Amazon Fashion, and other online shops afford them endless options to choose from. As such, Gen Z is quick to adopt trends, and can call a bluff from a mile away.

When addressing social impact, time is of the essence and the brand's level of authenticity towards the subject must match. If addressed poorly, Gen Z will cut ties and move onto a brand that aligns more with their ideals. Meaning, brands must embed social impact into their DNA to avoid cancel culture and to reach their ideal Gen Z consumer.

Models wearing Tanner Fletcher with Coach bags, Ray-Ban sunglasses, & vintage sunglass case.

With this comes a sense of urgency. Especially with Balenciaga's rise to fame and quick downfall over campaign imagery featuring children with BDSM inspired plush bears. Balenciaga has since taken the following actions: announced an internal investigation and lawsuit against the production company that helped produce the visuals, complete removal of the campaign and release of apologetic remarks on media platforms.

Model wearing Tanner Fletcher & Issued The Studio Earrings, ring is vintage.

While some consumers may accept Balenciaga's efforts, many are slashing, and donating recent purchases. Only time will tell, if Balenciaga will continue to lead by example and teach other brands how to accept accountability or if the brand forgoes the opportunity to do better, once again ignoring what is actually happening in the world today.

In this story: creative director and stylist, Tina Vartanian; photographer, Sun Hing; videographer, David Feusse; models, Frankie Gillam, Isaac Nevrla, and Carmen Peruzzini; makeup, Cat Ade; shoot assistant, Erika Massey; Featuring Tanner Fletcher Garments.


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