gen z, shopping, teens

People of all ages joined the Global Youth Climate Strike on Friday, with New York City’s Battery Park and London’s Westminster area pulling some of the denser crowds.

To march to the beat of the new consumer values, retailers even closed down storefronts in solidarity, including Allbirds, which joined Lush and Patagonia in closing their stores across the European Union and the U.S. during the demonstrations. The brands encouraged employees to march.

Among those marching in New York were high schoolers Izzi Popolizio, Rhea Parkan and Adriana Maskova, who received the necessary permission from their Westchester County school to attend the strike.

“We thrift in the city,” Popolizio said. “Usually the East Village,” chimed in Parkan. “A lot of people in our school dress the same,” said Parkan. “[And] want their fashion to fit in,” Popolizio added.

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“Sometimes I’ll go to Forever 21 just to get cheap stuff — sometimes I’ll find cool stuff there,” said Parkan, whose favorite retailer is San Francisco-based Dolls Kill, known for its edgy clothing.

Maskova added, “I mean I’m kind of basic; I shop at Zara.”

All own Depop accounts and Popolizio sells in addition to buying clothing. Her favorite brand is UNIF, which stands for “Ur Not in Fashion.” She aims to study environmental science after high school.

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While professing a fear for catastrophic climate change, all have a firm confidence and consciousness across all means of consumption. Maskova doesn’t eat meat. Popolizio is a vegan; Parkan expresses guilt over throwing away plastic and tries to recycle whenever she can.

WWD asked if they cared about brands that are doing something sustainable, all hit back with — “definitely.”

Another protester, 20-year-old NYU journalism student Melanie Pineda voiced her frustration and exhaustion at those “treating climate change like it’s expendable, when it’s not.”

She wore a pink graphic T-shirt from “Little Miss Flint,” a 10-year-old activist whose given name is Mari Copeny. She is based in Flint, Mich., and sells her merchandise to raise awareness for the water crises in the town.

Atop of her denim jacket, Pineda wore several colorful pins that dictate her social and political beliefs.

Mia Slate, a high schooler attending NEST+m (New Explorations Into Science Technology and Math) in the Lower East Side, also participated in the climate strike.

As president and founder of the environmental club at her school, Slate’s job was to spread awareness to students using social media preceding the event. She also organized the marchers from her school.

Like any high schooler, she balances multiple activities — including drama club, babysitting, tutoring sometimes and working at a West Village boutique occasionally.

“I would say that I have a bit of a shopping problem,” Slate said. “I try my best to shop vintage and local shops and altering clothes that I have to make something new.”

Her club came up with the idea to have a clothing exchange whereby students can donate clothes and shop the donations of their peers in the school’s courtyard — with proceeds funding the organization’s activities.

When asked about her favorite shopping destinations, Slate said, “Honestly, my mom’s closet is my favorite place to shop. My mom, like me, collects clothes and finds it soothing to plan and put together outfits.” Her stepsister works at a vintage shop in her neighborhood and provides access to “affordable and good quality vintage jeans” for Slate.

Slate’s mother is a makeup artist and hairstylist and expresses the same fascination with fashion, as Slate described it, her mother “has always been one to step outside the box and dress unlike anyone else.”

After high school, Slate hopes to pursue theater and environmental science.

“I would like to become as educated as possible on the state of our climate and start to use my voice as a climate change activist as much as I can,” she reiterated.

Talk is cheap, and the sampling of students who observed what is considered to be the largest climate rally ever, aren’t buying any excuses from their governments or corporations — or anything that’s questionably cheap, either.

For More WWD Business News:

Behind Resale’s ‘Power Sellers’

Gen Z Likes ‘Nice Things’ — and Physical Retail

How Amazon Is Luring Gen Z Female Shoppers

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