Anyone else feeling as if time is both flying and also non-linear? Just me?
How much of what is happening around us is also happening within us, subconsciously? Are our internal systems at unrest? Times have been tough – we know you don’t need that reminder. Thankfully, it feels as if people are looking within themselves to solve for it. The essential need to address mental health, wellness, inclusion and boundaries are no longer nice-to-have’s; they are essential to how we move forward together, hand in hand.
Where we have typically spoken about Art as it relates to NFT’s and Powerful Black Artists, we are going to pivot to a different perspective. The unparalleled art of our natural world.
There is a hypothesis around one reason for the climate crisis: humans have become largely disconnected from the natural world – therefore no longer empathizing with the earth and its many animals and ecosystems, some threatened by extinction. Even our topsoil is in a state of emergency.
There is likely nothing in the world as beautiful as the art and bounty of nature. In the 1980’s, Japan quickly embraced a nuanced form of ecotherapy, called shinrin-yoku (“forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere”). There was duality to their purpose: to offer an antidote to the subconscious + conscious stress of tech burnout and to inspire people to reconnect with AND protect the country’s forests.
Even if you don’t live near a forest or National Park, looking close at the details of a flower or the leaves of a tree can provide joy, mental health benefits and appreciation, especially if you approach it through the lens of being one in the same. It’s true that we are all made up of atoms and energy, the same as a blooming flower and the bustling tree. When we don’t care for the planet, we ultimately, are not caring for ourselves – and future generations.
Experiencing both Empathy + Awe for and within the natural world are scientifically proven to be catalysts for environmentalism, as well. Women are more largely affected by this trend. Working on and towards “transgenerational empathy” is also helpful as this puts you in the shoes of future generations, whom with the current trajectory, will not get to experience life as any past generation has, from a climate perspective.
In terms of Entertainment, we are inspired and intrigued by the continuing rise of Spoken Word poetry, particularly the black artists making large impacts in the space. From Amanda Gorman to Salome Agbaroji to Brandon Leake, there is much inspiration to be had – and since this unique form of poetry is often created to address social, racial and environmental injustices, there is no shortage of content. Through their intellectually stunning, cutting and often aspirational words, we find hope and passion in this unique form of art.
Grace Kim, of The New Yorker, articulates it beautifully in the following excerpt: “Good poems capture a moment and sustain it. In an era as urgent as ours, many poems strive for timelessness precisely by being timely. Poetry can preserve the fleeting present, encircle the past, and help envision alternative futures.”
“When Amanda Gorman read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the 2021 U.S. Presidential Inauguration, she became both the inheritor of a long tradition and a herald of something new. Her verse, as vibrant and elegant as her yellow coat against the cold, illuminated the imagination as well as the occasion, confirming her as a worthy successor to several other Black women inaugural poets writing to and for an American ideal—a lineage traceable all the way back to Phillis Wheatley, who, at the dawn of the Republic, addressed a poem to then General George Washington.
As Gorman acknowledged America’s contested history, and its contemporary tumult, her invocation of the plural pronoun “we” reminded us that, for good or literal ill, our lives are connected. Hers was an invitation to move forward together.”
In the world of Food, Plant-based diets continue to grow in popularity with nearly half of consumers stating that they choose plant-based foods due to “general health reasons,” while 24% report wanting to limit their negative environmental impacts.
The World Health Organization says, “Reducing livestock herds reduces emissions of methane, which is the second largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide.”
The Lancet published a report way back in 2019 (remember that year of innocence?) which concluded that a dietary shift toward plant based foods and away from animal products is vital for promoting the health and wellness of our planet. The report states that projections for the future show that “vegan and vegetarian diets were associated with the greatest reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions.”
Plant-based eating isn’t just good times + good vibes, it’s also good business. Atlanta’s female founder, Pinky Cole, of Slutty Vegan just garnered a round of $25M in funding to continue to scale at an “Empire” pace. Her big break was when she was at a spa and got a call from Jermaine Dupri announcing that Snoop Dogg wanted to taste her wares – right away – so she dropped her self-care service and answered the call.
A global shift to a plant-based diet could limit greenhouse gases caused by food production by 70%, respectively, by 2050 – while it can also reduce mortality by 10%. How’s that for some transgenerational empathy?
When approaching Fashion, a great way to zoom in on the future narrative is through the lens of Gen Z.
Environmentally driven by a “buy-better, buy-less” mindset, 33% of Gen Z consumers in the US are interested in purchasing luxury items since 2020. This contingent of luxury shoppers champions the circular economy and look at luxury purchases as investments which gain value over time and can be resold without creating waste.
Gen Z also is driven by experiences which immerse them in a brand’s universe via events, exhibitions and members’ clubs. This group, in particular, is willing to spend for access to unique, share-worthy moments. Italian luxury label Bottega Veneta’s hyper-localised event concept The Square debuted in April. Three days worth of events took place in Dubai and celebrated local culture, cuisine, music and poetry by the likes of Sudanese-British poet Asma Elbadawi . Inspired by hakawatis and the ancient Arab art of storytelling, each invited guest was brought in to share their personal stories.
“The #BottegaSquare experience was special because of its thesis of representation and the emotional connective tissue that bound the audience to the storytelling. Conversations between attendees flowed forth on topics ranging from death and grief to personal immigrant experiences.”
Shifting to a more localized storyteller, Chicago’s North Shore celebrates the first black female business owner in Melissa Carter of Kameo Vintage in Winnetka, IL. Kameo Vintage is recognized as a multi-faceted brand aimed at both sustainability and diversity. A stylishly savvy business woman who began her storied career in NYC, Carter curates a collection of highly coveted, luxurious, preloved garments, “a place where personal style is reimagined” and invests in leaders of tomorrow by offering a mentorship program for high school students.
Her in-house brand, “Kameo Collection,” features upcycled vintage pieces that bear an Iconic Afro Woman, a highly coveted collection meant to kick start conversations centered around race, gender and politics. Her aim to incorporate circularity into her business model into the coming years makes her offerings even more attractive than they already chic-ly are.
Exotic locales like the Maldives, Machu Picchu and Bora Bora are catching the attention of all age groups, but millennials especially, seem to be allocating more income to these dream destinations.
There is also a growing trend of Ecotourism, which represents a movement from travelers to prioritize destinations and activities focused on environmental sustainability and local community investment. See National Geographics highly lauded “Best of the World” Seven Sustainable Destinations for 2022 and Beyond” and don’t forget that you can measure your personal emissions impacts via Joro, an app which links to your bank accounts to give a framework to your total emissions footprint via financial activities. You can pay monthly to cover the entirety of your carbon footprint to live a #netzero lifestyle, including jet-setting to a luxurious destination via an eco-friendly agent.
Next, keep your eyes peeled for another stunning upcoming tabletop collaboration!
Picture us on the Italian coast sipping Aperol Spritz’, munching on the tastiest wood fired margherita pizza accompanied by a mouth-watering watermelon, feta + mint salad. All of this can be experienced via our own Designer Brittanie Ahrens’ upcoming Pinterest worthy photoshoot + collab with Lettuce Entertain You’s Pizzeria Portofino, coming to an inbox near you, very soon. Belissima!