Introducing Gen-Z’s Aunt Madeline

Meet Madeline Pendleton, Gen-Z’s fashion business know-it-all Aunt.

The 30-something LA native is the owner and designer behind Tunnel Vision, a small brand with a curated selection of the ’60s through 90’s vintage and house designs.

Pendleton has always had two feet firmly placed on the internet. The use of myspace, Tumblr, and now Instagram have always been a friend of hers to share her life. Recently she has gained attention on TikTok due to her transparency into the industry. She has become a fan favorite for Gen-Z by sharing her design process with her followers and being personable with her mental health and past relationships. 

We’re seeing nostalgia being a common theme throughout every industry. TV and movie reboots are taking over our streaming channels; fashion is constantly recycling and paying homage to past styles. Hair trends and makeup trends are making their way back into circulation. Madeline is a millennial, and yet easily connects to a demographic that isn’t her own. But this is because she hits that nostalgic sweet spot for many people.

For a long time, there was a joke, “only ‘90’s kids would remember,” and this would hit a nerve even for people born in 2000 and 2001, those who grew up on everything 90s. Madeline opened her arms and shared stories for hundreds of thousands of people on the internet about her time growing up as a teen in the 2000s and how she and her friends were huge staples in specific fashions and subcultures in those years. She speaks about her late partner, Drew Bernstein, and his brand, Lip Service, and the constant influence it has on her style and brand designs.

With the help of comments from her followers, she deep dives into her past photo albums to share her life as it perfectly tickles that nerve in Gen-Z brain today. She shared her style while she explored different subcultures and tried different hairstyles. Her openness into her life has allowed her to create a genuine connection with her fans online, who genuinely love the nostalgia she brings.

A favorite of Pendleton’s content is a video series where she investigates brands suggested by a follower. She examines the brand’s website and shares her knowledge of whether the brand is legit versus “one of those weird drop shipper situations” her words. She has 13 years of experience and a 4-year degree in fashion design, safe to say she’s got a pretty trustworthy idea of what’s going on.

She dives into the importance and a brand doing their product photography, explaining that the people behind the brand physically have the product in their hands which is always a good sign. Another green flag she points out is if the product is covered in the brand name, pointing to them designing it themselves. A red flag is super low prices –explaining that if a brand is working with sweatshop-free labor, the prices will be higher.

Not only is she transparent about her life but also her business. She shares how her business, Tunnel Vision, is structured and how she can earn the same amount hourly as an intern or a customer service rep or anyone in the company, people they all make the same amount. She discusses how much the company makes yearly and breaks it down for all the willing learners on TikTok.

Gen-Z is known for many things; their ambition is one of them. They are passionate about the earth and changing it for the better, and having someone like Madeline to help them understand a concept they never thought they could, is precisely what they need. Someone willing to answer the baseline questions about the fashion industry in a digestible manner. We applaud Madeline for making this information readily available to any and everyone. 

–Savannah Foley (resident Gen-Zer)

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