Pearl diving. The phrase conjures up a murky, intensely sensual universe that weaves together women, the sea and rare jewels – a heady combination for a species increasingly starved of the physical. Several years ago, the world became obsessed with the mythology of the ama, Japanese sea women who braved the darkest depths of the ocean in pursuit of treasure. Part pirate, part mermaid, theirs was a world of superstition, tradition, luck and skill: a silent, undersea sisterhood of rakish and fearless adventurers risking their lives in service to a sweet and scarce independence. Tapping into the secret language of the sea, decoded by generations before, these swimmers depended on plunges into that dark and icy silence to exact the rare and the valuable. Holding their breath, trusting themselves.
As we enter into yet another dark winter, uncertain and unsure, I think of these women often, hearing their siren song of survival. Naked, stripped down, callused feet caressing rocky ground, giving themselves over to a place so primordial, so intrinsic to our own story of evolution. We too are creatures of this place, baptized in salt, ruled by tides. Constantly ebbing and flowing, climbing up through the surface, reaching for the sun.
When I give talks on Future Trends these days, I am often asked how much longer we need to hold our breath. We are all exhausted by these riptides, the endless crashing of waves and storm. But, when queried, most confess a new found solace in the quiet found in these deeper uncharted waters of solitude. How our eyes have adjusted to the dark, our ears to the murmurs of our own thoughts and dreams in this rare silence. When we survive our fears, when we push past our worst vulnerabilities, we find strengths in our own uniqueness, and we learn our voice. Only then can we meet each other in a way that is raw and real and true. These are where our true bonds are formed, in the valleys of vulnerability. And this is where our next transcendence begins. Together, rising.
As we close out this year, we are endlessly inspired by what is emerging. There is a new movement of self-agency, a heightened belief in claiming and creating our own, best lives full of purpose and possibility. We see it in the explosion of the creative class, and the massive outpouring of story, art and ideas shared moment to moment online. From the metaverse to Gen ‘zines, nano-influencers to NFTs, the ability for human beings to imagine and dream has never been so rich and so accessible. And in a world that promises us only this moment, the reward so outweighs the risk. Let’s plunge in!
“Your heart is the size of an ocean. Go find yourself in its hidden depths.”
To tempt you with the dazzling future around the corner, read on for our top 5 trends for 2022.
So much light and love,
Future Trends: The Big Five
2. The Creative Class
Nationalism has been on the rise for over a decade, and the pandemic has poured kerosene on that slow burning fire. As borders closed, and lockdowns increased, we became far more deeply connected to a geographic place on a map. With over one-fifth of the U.S. moving back to someplace called ‘home,’ we have committed to a physical community at a level not seen since the 50’s. And – these communities have increasingly become the source of not just what we buy, but of how we buy. Today’s consumer sees consumption as a means of sharing support for the type of world they want to live in, both from a sustainability standpoint and in a grass-roots give-back loop. We want human connection with store owners – from restaurants, to coffee houses, to clothing shops. It inspires us. It generates trust. It provides us with place. The pandemic has greatly heightened this way of thinking. It sources income to those who personalize our communities and in turn provide us the services that make us want to live here. One example: Facebook Marketplace exploded during the pandemic – as Gen Z sought to connect with and purchase from other people in their community – not big box sources. Every product interchange now comes with a local connection and leaves us with a story. And in line with this, Instagram’s new function, Creator studios, is generating excitement around connecting consumers with the ability to buy from the people they like and follow, deepening a parasocial connection into a personal one. In short, hyper localism is not political. It is a movement by consumers who want to support an ecosystem built on trusted individual relationships.