👋 Hellooo! We’re The Z Link, a global Gen Z-led social media agency that helps brands reach our generation. The Digital Native, written by our Trends Reporter, Shaurya, takes a deep dive into niche internet micro-trends and subcultures, and analyzes them so you don’t have to. For any feedback, questions or suggestions, just reply to this email! <3
Let’s address the elephant on the Colgate carpet, shall we? Yes, I’m talking about the Met Gala that happened this past month, but unlike other Met Galas, this Met Gala wasn’t Met Gala-ing like the other Met Galas. This probably concerns WHO the Met was honouring — Karl Lagerfeld. Let’s look at camp right in the eye together and dive giant cat headfirst into the costume party for the rich. Also, let’s not encourage furries, please. They are becoming a menace… Jared Leto.
Have y’all watched Ocean’s 8? The Met has nothing to do with that, but I love that they’ve used that as their heist setting. I think it’s a cool lil’ reference, and I’m writing this article while re-watching it, BUT I DIGRESS, back to the Met. It is THE BIGGEST night in fashion and is hosted by fashion’s biggest and most popular magazine, Vogue. Every year since 1973, the Met Gala follows a theme, and the attendees are expected to follow it. Last year it was Gilded Glamour, and this year it was ‘Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty.’ The attendees are carefully chosen by Anna Wintour, who is the editor-in-chief of Vogue US. Wintour is also responsible for the seating, which has been a topic of discussion this year because of the video showing her plan for the seating (also a huge moment in pop media. re: Ocean’s 8).
Earlier, I mentioned the lack of Met Gala-ing from the Met Gala this year because people spoke about it for days rather than weeks, and why that might be because of Karl Lagerfeld, most famously known for being the creative director of Chanel. There was mass discontentment with the 2023 Met theme due to Lagerfeld’s problematic comments. On the other hand, the argument was that his WORK was being honoured rather than him. Many celebrities are rumoured to have skipped attending the Gala this year because of Lagerfeld’s history, that they wanted no association with. That’s just my theory, but the Met is still beloved by Gen Z, and we will talk about why.
I spoke to a couple of my friends (I’m not lying, I promise I have friends). The amazing Annabel and influencer-extraordinaire, (@annabelsmitt on Instagram) gave us her take on why the Gen Z loves the Met Gala. Annabel described the Met Gala as a cultural phenomenon that allows Gen Z to engage with fashion, art and culture. She focused on the relationship between celebrities and Gen Z, saying, “Celebrity culture is such a big thing with Gen Z. We follow the lives of our favourite celebrities and those we admire on social media almost daily. More than ever, we feel more connected to these individuals, and it can feel like we really know them sometimes. And it’s interesting to see how all these celebrities interpret the theme each year.” Other responses I received talked about pushing limits, social justice, and being honest critics. Let me elaborate on all three.
Numero uno is pushing limits which is self-explanatory, but Gen Z has a knack for making bold moves (re: eating tide pods. I didn’t say they were good bold moves 🧘🏻♀️). The Met Gala is a platform that pushes the boundaries of fashion and is generally the most acceptable time and place to do that, apart from Halloween. Gen Z is sometimes shamed for expressing themselves through fashion. Watching some of their favourite celebrities do so also reaffirms that it’s an okay thing to do. Our generation is one of the first generations to break out of the set mould that past generations had followed for centuries and reject norms. This brings me to the second point, that of a strong sense of social justice.
Gen Z has a VERY evident sense of social justice which sometimes gets in our own way but more often is our superpower. We’re tackling some of the world's most prominent subjects and issues and starting conversations on other topics that have long been ignored. The Met Gala provides a platform to do that… not always, but sometimes. Annabel also touched on this, saying, “We, as Gen Zers are super passionate about making a positive impact on the world and fight for the importance of social issues, inclusivity, equality, sustainability, cultural appropriation, and I believe the Met Gala and the celebrities attending touch on that.” Does anyone remember AOC’s tax the rich dress? Yeah, she’s not really Gen Z, but she’s a team player; we’re making her honorary Gen Z. The need for social justice and the overall sense of it stems from the fact that we are honest critics.
The last reason Met Gala is so beloved by the Gen Z is that we’re honest critics. We’re open and critical but not brutal — there’s a difference in how we do things. Mix a sense of social justice and being honest critics; you also get accountability. We love celebrities, but we’re not afraid of holding them accountable. We also just so happen to use the Met Gala evening to socialise with other people. Using the carpet looks as a way to start conversations and critiquing the outfits also helps people understand art and fashion in a much more practical way. Also, the memes that come out from Met Gala? Chef’s kiss, immaculate. (We made some for our own Instagram because that’s our job after all.….)
There’s so much to the Met Gala and its relationship with Gen Z that tends to get overlooked — memes, socialising, better relationships between brands and consumers, better relationships between creators and their audience. It’s unique and has so much untapped potential — use it to your advantage, pretty people.
Writer’s note: Hi, darlings, I know this issue is a little shorter than the last few issues, but this writer is in her final weeks of uni; therefore, the focus has had to shift to mainly uni work! The next two issues will be slightly shorter, but we will have lengthy issues immediately! Until then, if you’d like to gossip about the Met Gala or follow me as I spiral into insanity, text me on Instagram (@sh.auryaa)! I’d be thrilled to talk to all of you! Ciao Ciao. 🤍
Any questions/suggestions as to what we should cover next? Reach out to us and we’re always here to chat!
— Written by Shaurya, Trends Reporter at The Z Link
Connect with Shaurya on Instagram where she shares great content and lives her best influencer life as a fashion student in Paris. And she writes all of these great issues too. What can’t she do??? 🧐 Thank you for reading!
perfect lenght!!! no need for book newsletters, loved the topic, also good luck with your exams!