The Creative Industries Federation goes to ‘Don’t Quote Me’, an exhibition by Seen Displays

September 30, 2019

It’s been an intense few years for the ‘millennial’ debate, with national conversation constantly circling avocados and house prices like a broken record. Meanwhile, the people of Generation Z have been growing up, listening intently and forming their own opinions of the world we live in. 

Generation Z is the 15-25 age group, and according to creative retail agency and Federation member ‘Seen Displays’, they will outnumber millennials by the end of 2019, totalling 32% of the world’s population.

This was the basis of the latest Seen Displays exhibition as part of London Design Week. The Federation membership team went along to the event, which was billed as a showcase of Gen Z voices on an immersive sound journey, with the opportunity to participate in a facilitated discussion and creative workshop. 

Upon entering the East London gallery space, large portraits of the Gen Z subjects filled the space and headphones suspended from the ceiling gave visitors the chance to hear their individual stories; all unique, all with varying perspectives considering their age, race, gender identity, sexuality and social background, all with a similar sense of purpose, identity and self-worth. 

Here are just some of the takeaways that reflected their key attitudes: 

The Multi Locals 

  • The growing youth population and their influence in emerging markets like Mexico, Nigeria and Asia means we need to take the wider lensed approach to this generation that is embracing their global citizenship and their local roots and culture 

  • Decreasing trust in political and commercial entities, savvier than predecessors and not afraid to speak up against misappropriation of their cultures 

The Creative Activists 

  • Embracing the imperfections that make us human and challenging outdated beauty standards, continuously blurring the line between physical well-being and recreation, seeking lifestyles that support their productivity 

  • Recognising gender as a social construct that has disabled us from achieving genuine equality and inclusivity 

The Reformists 

  • An optimistic, active and compassionate attitude to the growing mental health crisis stemming from digital anxiety and isolation 

  • A ‘slower-not-faster’ attitude that is valuing honesty, transparency and action from governments and brands to help them live more sustainable lifestyles 

A panel discussion followed with members of the Gen Z collective alongside the Seen Displays team, prompting wide-varying conversations across subjects such as fast fashion, brand authenticity and the importance of brand transparency around diversity, inclusion and sustainability. The session wrapped up with the chance for attendees to flex their creative muscles and design a risograph print cover for their very own notebook containing the key takeaways from the event, courtesy of print company Hato Press. 

Seen Displays are soon releasing their very own documentary that promised to expand on this far-reaching subject and they urge anyone interested to keep an eye on their channels. The clear message from Seen Displays is that these voices are not of ‘future consumers’ or ‘the next generation’, but “people whose drivers and opinions will change the course, not just of the retail landscape but the world as we view it today”. 

Images from the exhibition

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