Discover the next Open Days Milano · Firenze · London · Paris · Dubai Register nowDiscover the next Open Days
May 22, 2024

What does Zendaya’s 2024 Met Gala vintage statement say about Gen Z?

In an era where sustainability is an escalating concern, vintage fashion emerges as a responsible alternative to fast fashion, especially for Gen Zers. Opting for vintage allows consumers to diminish waste and mitigate the environmental footprint of their wardrobe selections. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Met Gala (@metgalaofficial_)

At the 2024 Met Gala in New York City, Zendaya adorned herself in two striking gowns while fulfilling her role as co-chair for the event, marking the unveiling of The Met’s latest Costume Institute exhibition, “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.” Styled by her long-time collaborator, image architect Law Roach, her first ensemble was a mystical forest fairy-inspired Maison Margiela Artisanal creation by John Galliano, featuring enchanting green and blue hues and intricate grapevine embellishments. Complementing the look was her makeup, channelling a vampy, 1920s flapper vibe.

Later that night, the star of “Challengers” made an even more dramatic outfit change. Zendaya showcased a second gown, an archival piece from John Galliano’s 1996 Givenchy collection – coincidentally, the year of her birth. The billowing black gown boasted traditional lace-up corset details, paired with a unique bouquet headpiece filled with multi-coloured roses. This headpiece, designed by Philip Treacy for Alexander McQueen in 2006, was a significant nod to this year’s dress code, “The Garden of Time,” inspired by a short story by J.G. Ballard. 

But here’s the kicker – did you know that instead of returning the second gown to the archives, Zendaya decided to add it to her personal wardrobe? According to her trusted stylist, Law Roach, she purchased it right after falling in love with it during a fitting. 

Reportedly, Zendaya’s image architect Law Roach, found a 1996 Givenchy gown by John Galliano at the vintage boutique Lily et Cie in Beverly Hills. In an interview with Extra, Roach detailed how he curated Zendaya’s Met Gala looks, revealing his unexpected discovery of the archival piece. When he showed it to Zendaya, she was instantly captivated and decided to buy it. Law Roach also mentioned that he and Zendaya often buy archival fashion pieces from vintage clothing stores.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Etalk (@etalkctv)

“How we look at it is that we’re supporting small businesses,” remarked Law Roach. “I think it’s unfair to borrow things from people who use those clothes as their livelihood.” When the interviewer suggested that celebrities buying their own clothes is “unheard of,” Law had the perfect response: “Not for us!”

Vintage clothing provides a unique way to express personal style. Unlike contemporary mass-produced items, vintage pieces are often one-of-a-kind or part of limited collections, allowing the wearer to truly stand out. Zendaya’s fashion choices consistently make headlines for their originality and boldness. By opting for a vintage dress, she continues to push boundaries, demonstrating that real style is about embracing individuality and the courage to wear unique, storied pieces. Upon closer examination, her willingness to embrace second-hand fashion, even at high-profile events where all eyes are on her, aptly reflects the changing shopping habits of her generation. For Gen Z, pre-loved items are not something to be hidden but rather proudly displayed on glamorous occasions, celebrating their origins in thrift shops.

Zendaya’s purchase is more than a fashion statement; it’s a celebration of history, sustainability, uniqueness, quality, and the enduring legacy of iconic styles. In a world constantly pursuing the next big trend, vintage fashion offers a grounded, meaningful alternative that values the past while remaining relevant. By championing vintage fashion, Zendaya not only elevates her own style but also advocates for a thoughtful, responsible approach to fashion that honours its rich history.



Angelo Ruggeri
Journalist, Master’s Programme Tutor & Fashion Styling Course Leader, Milan