A life of constant connection and endless scrolling is driving a shift in the opposite direction. A 2019 study by Edison Research and Triton Digital shows that social media usage among Americans 12 to 34 years old across several platforms has leveled off or is waning. At the same time, location-based experiences are projected to become a $12 billion industry by 2023 at the current rate of growth. Capitalizing on our desire for disconnection, brands are introducing products that temporarily block access to our smartphones. In January 2020, Google Creative Lab released three new Digital Wellbeing tools aimed at mitigating smartphone addiction. But, is this enough?
Digital detoxes and off-the-grid travel have surged in popularity over the past several years as consumers look for more extreme ways to experience the world sans screen. Digital detox company Unhustle offers programs, retreats, and coaching to improve wellbeing and reduce stress, while The Ranch Malibu encourages guests to unplug with no cell service, limited Wi-Fi, and daily activity-based itineraries. Despite the intrigue, these retreats reveal one of the largest underlying problems with the digital detox movement: Unplugging is a luxury only the most privileged of us can afford. Because of our increasing dependence on the internet, the real privilege of the future is having the ability to disconnect from it.
A desire to live slowly reveals a renewed appreciation for the journey. This same appreciation is becoming apparent in products consumers are buying. A return to craft is marked by the remembering and celebration of artisanal skills and customs. By shifting focus from the final product to the process of making, we can create more meaningful relationships between people and things. Apparel and accessories brands are finding ways to participate in this movement and assign a new value to the products they sell. The North Face is sending its designers back to school to learn how to reuse, repair, and improve the longevity of the garments they make, while Pampa, an Australian home goods brand, is working directly with skilled artisans in remote parts of rural Argentina to create woven textiles that resonate with a growing number of consumers.
The rich cultural heritage of artisans is something that should be acknowledged and celebrated. The skills that were once passed from one generation to the next are now in danger of being forgotten. LVMH has developed a strategy to preserve the legacies of local artisans. Established by the conglomerate, the Institut des Métiers d’Excellence, or IME, aims to cultivate the next generation of skilled craftsmen. However, the concern for legacy preservation extends beyond the apparel industry. Travelers and companies are becoming far more conscious of the threat tourism poses to the future of cultural traditions and heritage landmarks. Airbnb is experimenting with a new tourism model by introducing programs in which the traveler doesn’t just enjoy the experiences offered by locals, but becomes a participant in change and helps to preserve the cultural traditions of the places they visit.
- URL to IRL
Tired of the endless scroll, people are realizing that memories are made offline. According to projections from Greenlight Insights, at the current rate of growth, IRL, location-based experiences are projected to become a $12 billion industry by 2023.
2. The New Luxury
The internet, in general, has become integrated into every aspect of our daily lives, making it both extremely important and nearly impossible to unplug. An array of digital detox companies, including Unhustle, The Ranch Malibu, and Slow Cabins, are creating technology-free spaces and promising a renewed outlook on life.
3. The Art of Making
A return to craft is marked by the recollection and celebration of artisanal customs. People are beginning to find beauty in the process, a pillar of the slow living movement. By shifting focus from the final product to the process of making, we can create more meaningful relationships between people and things.
4. Lost Legacies
The rich cultural heritage of artisans is something that should be acknowledged and celebrated now more than ever, as the skills that were once passed from one generation to the next are in danger of being forgotten. LVMH has made preserving and passing on this savoir-faire to new generations a fundamental priority, however, other luxury brands have not been as supportive.
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