Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Zulily is Inspiring Future Fashion Designers with a $6,000 Back-to-School Contest for Kids


Disclosure: This is sponsored content in partnership with Zulily as a paid ambassador. Opinions expressed are 100% our or own. 
We're barely a month into our summer break in NYC and I already see parents on social media chatting about their children heading back to the classroom in just three weeks. Naturally, that means it's time to go Back-to-school shopping!  Don't you remember how exciting it was to hit the mall with your parents as you picked out the trendiest clothes to kick of the new school year? Online retailer Zulily wants to help encourage self-expression, and inspire future fashion designers with the launch of their #UniquelyZu Back-to-School contest for kids. 

Based on a new trend report curated by Zulily, and informed by 1,000 kids nationwide - this Back-to-School season, Gen Z kids are taking their personal style into their own hands, and have a greater influence over their parents' purchasing decisions. 

As a mom of tween and teen boys, I don't think I realized that fashion would be just as important to my sons. From early on they were both  kids with swag and had opinions on their own unique style. You can see their varied personalities reflected in the clothes they chose to wear to school, on our weekend excursions, and for special occassons. When they were younger they both found wearing a button-down shirt and tie to be cool, topped with a fedora hat and it seemed like they were imitating their dad's style at just 10 and 5 years old. 

These days they don't mind dressing up for special occasions, and holidays but now they both seem to gravitate towards hoodies and graphic t-shirts, love to rep their favorite pop-culture characters, and have fun sporting cool, colorful kicks to run and dance in.

Personally, I enjoy shopping from online retailers like Zulily for the back-to-school season because it allows me to sit in the comfort of my home while the boys scroll and make their selections and I rock their newborn sister to sleep. What I love about their Back-to-School shop is that there's a wide selection of clothes and gear to choose from. 

The 2021 Back-to-School Fashion Forecast

According to the survey, 99% of parents say it's at least somewhat important to involve their kids in purchasing decisions when it comes to Back-to-School shopping. Zulily's 2021 Back-to-School Fashion Forecast put kids in the shopper's seat to identify three emerging trends that show not just what kids are shopping for, but why:

  1. Movers & Shakers – Kids are using style to help them feel their best, and see style as a means to channel confidence and boost performance at school. Ninety percent (90%) of kids say being able to express their personal style helps them feel more productive at school. Kids also say that fashion has a direct impact on their moods, with happy, confident, and strong ranking as the top moods kids feel when they're sporting a new outfit.

  2. Glue Guns & Glitter Bombs – It's not just about feeling confident, but feeling creative. Kids are customizing their clothes with glue guns, bedazzlers, scissors, and more – to create styles that are uniquely them. Seventy percent (70%) of kids say they add personal touches to articles of clothing to make them feel more distinctively special.

  3. Retro & Reimagined – Retro styles are back (hello mom jeans!), and kids are turning to mom and dad for inspiration. Sixty-four percent (64%) of kids aged 9 – 18 agree that they love retro fashion and it inspires their daily school outfits, and 59% of kids in that same age group say they have raided their parents' closet for clothing. But they aren't quite ready to throw it all the way back to the 60s or 70s. Nearly half (47%) of kids say the 2010s were the coolest decade. "In addition to apparel, expressing one's personality impacts trends in Back-to-School accessories and supplies – practical and personalized," said Sheila Nugent, Director of Merchandising for Kids Accessories and DIY at Zulily. "We've seen significant growth in the DIY category over the past year, which is no surprise since kids want to demonstrate their individuality. You'll see this trend of personalization when it comes to kids' top three essential needs for school success: new supplies, shoes, and backpacks."

Inspiring Budding Fashion Designers – A Contest for Kids

To give kids even more ownership over what they wear – and bring to life fresh, unique new styles inspired by kids for kids – Zulily is launching the Back-to-School #UniquelyZu Contest that will give six kids a chance to be the trendsetting inspiration for an exclusive capsule collection.

Open now through July 31, 2021, the contest calls on parents across the country to submit an Instagram post on behalf of their kids' ages 5 – 14, reflecting their child's unique sense of design and fashion. Six inspiring designs will be chosen to win a $6,000 Back-to-School prize package, and a bonus opportunity for the winning parents and children to participate in a design session with Zulily, providing creative inspiration for an exclusive Zulily capsule collection to be launched in 2022 that will range from swimwear to Back-to-School styles.

For details on the contest, how to enter, and full terms and conditions, visit

The Zulily Back-to-School #UniquelyZu Contest and 2021 Back-to-School Fashion Forecast accompany the launch of Zulily's latest Back-to-School Shop. With millions of unique outfit combinations for kids available to mix and match, the shop invites kids to customize, mix, match and express their individuality like never before. Complete with must-have brands like Adidas, Crayola, and S'well, the shop will be live through September 15, 2021.

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