Story: TINA DO

Trendsetting Gen Z favors products that are environmentally friendly, easy to recycle and carry a meaningful message about society

Nirvana Streetwear

Generation Z was born into the digital era, with tastes and attitudes to match a world of limitless diversity. They are trendsetter age group; though youthful, members of Gen Z don’t follow a particular style but create their own. At the same time, they are deeply aware of the ethical and environmental impact of the items they decide to make or buy.

It’s therefore no surprising that fashion products, accessories or art prints targeting Gen Z are unique, personalized and often creatively inspired by the nature and the simpler things in life.

A Vietnamese Gen Z pioneer is the manufacturer and retailer TiredCity, which has stayed true to its motto of “nurturing and disseminating individual creativity inspired by local culture.”

Founded in 2016 with 10 commercial artists, TiredCity has since partnered with nearly 300 artists, produced nearly 1,000 artworks and nurtured a creative community of nearly 100,000 people called the Vietnam Local Artist Group.

TiredCity’s products include T-shirts, postcards, art prints and stickers. The Hanoi-based company also hosts community activities such as workshops, talk shows and exhibitions.

Vietnamese Delivery | TiredCity x Meaptopia

TiredCity’s products include T-shirts, postcards, art prints and stickers. The Hanoi-based company also hosts community activities such as workshops, talk shows and exhibitions.

Meaptopia’s creative team spent two days working as delivery drivers themselves, getting up very early to load heavy sacks of clothes on motorbikes and cart them around Hanoi. To continue the story of a typical day for working people, the team even rented a kiosk to sell shirts in the market. The designers also decided to “recruit” a duck plushie for the delivery person to promote its “Duck Delivery” shirt. Their efforts added a new vibe to a collection that has already been imbued with Vietnamese street culture.

Another fashion brand popular among Gen Z today is Nirvana Streetwear, which started as a secondhand shop but gradually began designing its own items. Their style is self-described as: “Creativity has no limit. It can either be everything or nothing.” Every idea is conceived and implemented by founding team members who are inspired by what they want to wear themselves, allowing Nirvana Streetwear to develop a large fan base that shares their tastes.

When it comes to independent creative artists favored by Vietnam’s Gen Z, freelance illustrator Camelia Pham (Pham Thu Tra) is at the top of the list. The award-winning Hanoi artist has been featured at the annual Society of Illustrators Exhibition in New York in 2019 and 2020. One of Camelia Pham’s notable works is “10 Vietnamese Women,” which was created over three months to represent Vietnam in a creative project collecting images of women from around the world.

10 Vietnamese Woman | TiredCity x Camelia Phạm

Featuring resilient generals, poets and modern-day activists, the artist wanted to honor Vietnamese women’s capabilities in many aspects of life. The illustrations from the collection were later adapted into TiredCity’s fashion products. Cam Anh Ng Illustration (Nguyen Cam Anh) is also often mentioned among artists that have captured the attention of Gen Z, with works such as “Mid-Autumn Tale”, “Tiger Wasp”, Vietnamese zodiac signs or the lucky-money envelope series for Animals Asia.

The collaboration between Cam Anh and traditional toy figurine maker and To He Viet in the “Mid-Autumn Tale” project created an opportunity to encourage young people to learn about traditional culture. Inspired by six Mid-Autumn tales, the stories’ characters – including Chi Hang (the Moon Goddess); Cuoi (the Man on the Moon) and his wife, the Jade Rabbit; Thiem Thu (the Money Toad); and the Water Buffalo – were brought to life in a very modern collection through the cheerful designs of Cam Anh and the expert shaping skills of artisan Dang Van Hau.

The “Tiger Wasp” collection, on the other hand, demonstrates not only the worldview of Cam Anh and her team but also their devotion and desire to be closer to nature – one of the primary concerns of Generation Z in Vietnam and all over the world.