Understanding the Youth: Generation New Wave & their ideals

Alina Amin



Introducing: New Wave

Even if you’re not into rap, you probably have heard about Pashanim and the likes – a young group of creatives taking the industry by storm. The success of these young musicians has grown exponentially in recent years and months.

Charts and spotify summer playlists are all about the vibe and catchy sounds they create. And they’re not alone. With them comes a vast group of people – specifically Gen-Z – that identify with the term New Wave.

Get to know: New Wave

New Wave is a category specifically for German hiphop that describes the relatively young sub-genre. It’s characterized by laid-back sound and a certain cadence that you just can’t miss. When it comes to New Wave, it’s not just about the music, but also about the lifestyle.

Who is: Generation New Wave

Understanding the New Wave is crucial if you want to understand Gen-Z as a customer base. The New Wave is who tells the rest of their generation what’s cool and what’s not. So, if you want to make your brand appeal to Gen-Z, you first have to get in the good books of New Wave.

How? Well, let’s start with trying to understand them and their ideals.

New Wavers, like Gen-Z, are mostly in their late teens to early 20s. This means that they’re in the prime of their youth: adults, but without the adulting, basically.

What’s specific for the generation New Wave is their approach to life and their career. They’re dreamy and open for everything that’s not a 9-5. Creativity and personal projects drive many of the people that identify with New Wave. While this makes them pretty chill, it also makes them excellent tastemakers.

As a generation that grew up with social media and came to understand it, the New Wave is at a point where they actively shape the internet by taking on marketing jobs, and/or becoming influencers, artists, and musicians themselves.

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New Wave & Hiphop culture

Hiphop is, of course, at the core of this analysis. As the namesake genre, New Wave hiphop is a perfect way to understand the New Wave as a customer base.

New Wave sound is not shy about merging with other genres. Whether it’s electro or techno – this generation loves mixing.

Reasons for that might be that young listeners grew up with techno and rap – so both of them are not foreign to them. And also that hiphop is not about distancing yourself from the mainstream anymore – hiphop is the mainstream and with that comes the blurring of pre-existing lines and rules.

Thus, music is about so much more that living the hiphop lifestyle. It’s a creative outlet and a way to express yourself in diverse ways – including visuals and fashion.

We’re all just vibing

As the rather old-school hiphop lifestyle becomes a thing of the past, societal norms for New Wavers change. Men don’t have to be hyper-masculine and hard anymore. Women don’t just exist to please men.

This becomes especially clear when watching a music video by said artists: Women and men, side by side, all just vibing. No video vixens and over-sexualization of women.

And it doesn’t stop with gender-norms. Compared to their fellow young peers, people that identify with New Wave are less likely to think in boxes; It’s okay to wear nail polish as a man and it’s also okay when you don’t fit the cis-hetero norm.

This is caused by a general change in society and, as New Wavers like to think forward in terms of arts and culture, they’re amongst the first to adapt a rather accepting mindset.

It’s just vibe

Now, as we lay down the basis of what New Wave actually is, let’s look at their favs and dissect why they like them. It’s like cracking a code. The day you understand New Wave is also the day you’ll finally understand what those damn Gen-Z actually want.

You only have to look at some of the most recent music videos by New Wave artists and you’ll see many sportswear pieces, vintage looks, and pieces that don’t namedrop but certainly are designer.

What’s missing is big, in-your-face logos that just scream “I have money”. To impress a group of New Wavers, you don’t need to flaunt your Versace shirt with the oversized Medusa – a vintage Prada-Tee will get you way farther. After all, New Wavers are all about the aesthetic.

Specifically, the Y2K-vintage-look, that has been trendy for the last two years or so. To create a 2022-version of this aesthetic, they like to incorporate pieces that show others “I know my shit.” – small logos and understatements that you have to know first to point out where that piece came from.

Clothes are a way to communicate, and in this case, they’ll tell certain groups apart: The ones that are in the know in the ones that aren’t.

As the popularity of second hand shopping and DIY-culture is at an all-time high, copying a certain look will only get you so far. So it’s really about understanding the brands and pieces that they wear.

Authenticity is key

For New Wavers, the brands they endorse seem authentic to them. Brands that have either been around for some while and did some type of contribution to sub-cultures or young brands that they truly identify with.

As part of Gen-Z, they understand marketing to a new level and can’t be fooled easily – to sell to New Wave is to become part of the crew.

How does that work? Brands have to become part of the culture and part of the family. Once they earn cultural credibility, they gain a long-lasting relationship with New Wave. A two-month campaign with glitzy ads won’t cut it.

Want to learn how cultural credibility can be earned? Call us!