Styling Substance

Taking the lead from Millennials, you’d think style wins over substance. But the social media generation’s appetite for social responsibility is on the rise.

Looks are certainly more scrutinized than ever. We’re all in danger of having our beach outfits shared with millions. Meanwhile, young chefs vie to create the most Instagram-able “stunt dishes” that delight the eye more than the palette. But it’s not all shiny surfaces in Millennial land. Think of Jeff Koons’ iconic “inflatable” bunny on show at the Whitney — it looks light as air, but is made of stainless steel. Behind the Millenial eye is a generation demanding both visionary design and responsibility from retailers. In a recent GQ taxonomy of the different varieties of nerd, all but one wore a pair of spectacles from Warby Parker, a brand defined by its high-profile balance of hipness and heart. Even the harshest of critics admires Twee Millennials for their belief in the underdog. Style and substance have always tangoed. Now which brands will strike the right balance to own this tension anew?

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