The term “fashion icon” usually brings to mind the image of Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, Coco Chanel or another bygone figure. It refers to women who’ve changed the face of fashion and become the style inspiration for their generations. It would seem that the status of “icon” must be earned over time by way of perfectly put-together outfits and memorable appearances.

Does that mean that up and coming youngsters can’t qualify for the “icon” title? I think not. Many of our mothers and grandmothers look to the past for their go-to styles. They search to find the looks that have stood the test of time and for those that have passed like fads. As for us, we are the technological generation.

Celebrities’ outfits can be viewed on the web nearly the moment they step out their front doors. Tens of thousands of blogs, Tumblrs and fan sites are devoted to following the style trends of the rich and famous. Many paparazzi even make their livings off of snapping candid pictures of celebrities and what they wear in their day-to-day lives.

We no longer look to the past to determine our fashion futures. When we need ideas for what to wear, we flip through magazines or search our favorite celebs on Pinterest. We look to those we admire in hopes that we might be admired too. Our “fashion icons” are part of our own generation, and they’re just beginning to emerge.

Most people know Dakota Fanning as the little girl from “The Cat in the Hat” or “War of the Worlds.” Few know that she spends much of her free time rocking the red carpets of film festivals worldwide. Fanning was recently spotted at the Rio International Film Festival in an Elie Saab couture gown and at the Toronto Film Festival in a royal blue Valentino off the shoulder dress. In 2011, she became the face of Marc Jacobs’ Oh Lola! perfume campaign and has maintained a close relationship with the designer ever since. Fanning is currently taking some time off from acting to attend New York University. She is frequently spotted sporting combos of leather pants, booties and layered tops to keep warm in the nippy New York air. Just wait and see, this young lady is well on her way to “icon” status for her ability to rock everything from ball gowns to grungy street clothes.

Another up and coming diva most people know best by her part is Harry Potter actress Emma Watson. Watson is a very busy fashionista. Over the past few years she has become the face of multiple Burberry and Lancôme campaigns. She has covered Teen Vogue four times and recently won a style icon award from British Elle Magazine. Watson has made developing fair trade clothing a priority of hers. A few years, ago Watson paired up with People Tree, a free trade clothing line.

She also recently released an eco-friendly line with Alberta Ferretti. She lists her favorite designers as Marc Jacobs and Christopher Kane.

Watson will receive her “icon” title for her ability to so effortlessly rock high fashion pieces and for her concern for fair trade.

– By Sydney Jean Gottfried