Style Euphoria: the style of Zendaya and Generation Z

Euphoria: the style of Zendaya and Generation Z

Andrea Tuzio

Last night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the 72nd Emmy Awards hosted by Jimmy Kimmel took place.

Between the success of Watchmen and Schitt’s Creek, the news of the evening was Zendaya victory in the Outstanding Lead Actress category in a Drama Series at just 24 years – the youngest Emmy winner and second black actress after Viola Davis in 2015 – for her role in the teen-drama Euphoria. Zendaya was at home with her family but connected by videoconference with Los Angeles, and received the award and celebrated in a beautiful Armani dress.

Conceived, written, and scripted by Sam Levinson, it takes its cue from the stormy and difficult past of the American screenwriter, and produced by Drake among others, Euphoria tells the stories of a group of American high school students struggling with drugs, sex, anxiety, identity, family problems and much more in an original and contemporary style.

The character of Rue, performed by Zendaya, is that of a sensitive and problematic teenager, suffering from anxiety disorders from a very young age and who, after her father’s illness and death, starts using drugs until she overdoses. The story begins more or less at this moment in her life, with her return home from rehabilitation and her return to school, where we know the lives of the other characters.

The styling of the series was entrusted to Heidi Bivens, who had already worked on the looks of Jonah Hill’s Mid ’90s, and Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers and The Beach Bum, and who was trying her hand at a TV series for the first time.
This meant thinking of hundreds of different looks that expressed the characters’ various personalities and their evolution throughout the narrative arc.

The result of Bivens’ work is an accurate photograph of how Generation Z dresses, a “normality” that brings us very close to the experiences and lives of the characters.

Brands such as Stüssy, Aries, Supreme, Jean Paul Gaultier are the other protagonists of the series alongside basic brands such as Gildan, in a “high-low” that dominates the narrative.

Rue’s style is immediate, casual and at the same time refined: Gildan hoodie with zipper and oversized “UFO” T-shirt tie-dye by Gosha Rubchinskiy, cycling shorts, and Converse Chuck Taylor All Star; camouflage cargo combined with tight jerseys with funny prints; shorts, tank tops, and short-sleeved shirts often left open.

Rue/Zendaya’s outfits are very similar to those shown off in everyday life by glamorous celebrities like Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber, or Kylie Jenner.

Hundreds of thousands of posted and re-posted photos, applications, and sites like Etsy, Depop, eBay, StockX, etc., have radically changed the consumer approach.
The immediate accessibility, the possibility to buy exactly the same T-shirt/skirt/skirt/dress/etc. of the character of a TV series or one whose outfits we simply like has become everyday life and this new orientation “you can dress how you want when you want” is perfectly expressed by the whole TV series.

So, in short, the character of Rue, masterfully interpreted by Zendaya, is the perfect aesthetic representation of Generation Z, as well as the looks of the other losers, in a constant and continuous evolution that accompanies the protagonists and the public.

Written by Andrea Tuzio
Listen on