Who Are You?
Once upon a time, there were Finstagrams… deeply hidden Instagram accounts, accessible only to the creators closest friends. Now, as Twitter prepares to allow users to select NFTs as profile pictures, the concept of how we are defining ourselves becomes even murkier, or at least more holographic. But when we think about it, it actually makes a perfect kind of sense. For the real world, we need passport pictures, or our driver’s license photo to access experiences in this dimension. In the ever encroaching Metaverse, why wouldn’t we use our digital visuals to unlock and enjoy all we do there? After all, recent stats show that over 70% of Gen Z has already made a purchase inside a digital store for their virtual selves. Smoothing the way to crypto-commerce, Twitter will have you covered here as well, linking the NFT profiles to the user’s crypto wallets, be they Coinbase, Rainbow, Argent or Metamask. As this younger cohort revels in the chance to play with their personas and experience all the facets of who they might be (at a level that could never happen in the physical world), we expect an explosion of virtual spending in this very real space.
It seems like every Haute Couture house is hot to highlight the upcoming Chinese Lunar Year of the Tiger. But no one hits the current zeitgeist quite like the master of kitsch, Jeremy Scott for Moschino. With 2022 looking to be a banner year for whimsy, kidcore and glorious goofiness, what greater icon to serve it all up then the relentlessly enthusiastic Tony the Tiger? Scott is giving the very youthful 70 year old mascot a go as the fashion star we all want and deserve. Given the massive success of the house’s 2021 Sesame Street collab, we expect fashionistas everywhere to feel absolutely served! All we can say is GGGRRREEEEEAAAAATTTTTT!!!!!
(And for more on our seemingly endless appetite for cereal based nostalgia – please do listen to Guy Raz’s podcast with the great Christina Tosi. You’ll get a sugar rush of delight – guaranteed!)
EMO GOES GLOBAL
Harajuku is a well-known source of emerging Japanese fashion and style trends (thanks, Gwen!). But the latest one is already a global phenomenon: Emo. Also known in Japan as yamakawaii, emo is the expression of mental health concerns being shared by young people there today. Cropping up on microblogging sites like Wiebo, the term is bucketing a variety of current social issues such as the increase of singlehood, new work pressures, and of course, the pandemic. More than just a popular slang term, this surge represents a new openness there about the fears and pressures people are experiencing, and brands and media are taking notice. Athletic gear purveyor Champion recently promoted “anti-emo” solutions in their Chinese New Year campaign. The promotion garnered over 1.8 million views compared to the 18,700 views of its previous campaign video — a massive jump in online traffic. As already seen in the Western world, smart brands focusing on APAC youth will consider ways to encourage this stressed-out generation to find ways to self-care and share. This next generation is demanding – and deserves – no less.
Together, At Last?
Much has been made of Gen Z’s disdain for Millennials… but Gen X? Looks like there is a lot of love! We are talking millions of dollars’ worth. In a noteworthy generational handoff, sites like Poshmark and the Real Real are taking notice of the current vintage exchange moment between Gen X selling their ‘90’s fashion and Gen Z snapping it up. Carefully curated promotions are being tailored to encourage the older set to sell, and the younger to buy. Several savvy sources at the second hand resalers note the rise of ‘ghost stylists’ – the clamoring by some devoted buyers to be alerted when their favorite anonymous sellers drop off the goods. Smart platforms no doubt will find ways to personalize these relationships, perhaps creating glamorously grungy archetypes with finstas, fan pages and more…. Let’s see, maybe we could name them Winona, Britney, Kate…?
Go long… Go Puff!
Amazon played the long game by getting consumers hooked on rapid delivery of all the basics… now GoPuff is taking that game just a bit further by crafting those basics as well. The pandemic has driven a huge increase in appetite for private label brands, dovetailing nicely with Gen Z’s famed indifference to brand loyalty. GoPuff is using these trends as the means to deliver – pun intended – their own brands of the exact products this cohort craves. From plain paper towels to cheddar-jalapeno peanuts, the delivery platform is counting on meeting people where – and when – they have a need. With other delivery services around the globe (Byke, Gorillas, FastAF to name a few) committing to the private label sector, name brands will need to step up their specialness to stay one click ahead. It’s anyone’s game!
Just a small proof point that IYKSYDK – (if you know, sometimes you don’t know for all you code breakers out there.) Yes, young millennials/Gen Zers are much more conscious about global warming and conspicuous consumption than any generation that has come before. But that doesn’t mean they don’t love a sweet ride. New global auto sale reports show that some of those Bird loving, Lyft-sharing friends are shelling out the Benjamins for a Rolls Royce or two as well. Seems the Black Badge line, with its signature black statement features, bigger engine, and of course, serious social statement all add up to ‘where do I sign’ for the youth set. Excuse me while I go check on Wagu beef futures.
What do you feed a ghost? Maybe just a Snack. Snack – the newest dating service on the scene (the “Tinder meets in Tik-Tok for dating app”) has been specifically developed to mimic the content consuming patterns of Gen Z. The funhouse-like format is video first, with a diner-sized menu of games and challenges to keep the conversation going. But its most delicious differential? It promises to punish ghosts – those who leave their would-be lovers hanging – by making them disappear. Players who talk then walk simply become less visible on the program. Spooky, right?
A Taste of Culture
Food has long served as a cultural ambassador, introduced many to the traditions, tastes and tales of places and people around the globe. Food may be the vehicle, but to Amber Mayfield, it was only one part of the story she wanted to tell around Black food, and its unique traditions and cultures. Meal time and entertainment to her was means of celebrating and passing on the rich stories and emotions of the Black Diaspora. So along with an event agency, she created While Entertaining, a magazine featuring Back foodies, essays, recipes, and playlists, along with first person stories about the dishes that evoke joy. In this, Mayfield resembles the fashion designer Kerby Jean-Raymond with her mission to express the deep emotions and familial warmth her creations spring from. In a moment when we are all starved for heritage and hungry for connection, her work is a feast.
Sometimes, simple packs a punch. Working with traditional washi tape, Tokyo based French architect and artist Emmanuelle Moureaux has constructed a stunning exhibit entitled 100 colors. The immersive work stands inside the factory of mt, the Japanese factory that has been manufacturing the tape for over 100 years. The piece extends from the floor to the ceiling, creating a vibrant rainbow-like tunnel of 6,000 strips of tape for visitors to walk through. Each step offers a different dimension, and a different perspective – but all remind us how sublime anything can be if we choose to give it our attention.