Need to Know
26 : 10 : 18

Moody encourages women to understand their cycle, the NHS uses ketamine to treat depression and Barbie wants girls to dream big.

Dutch Design Week 2018: Plastic Culture makes bioplastic and food from one plant

Plastic Culture by Marco Federico Cagnoni, Eindhoven. Video in collaboration with Vincent Van Dijk

Eindhoven – Designer Marco Federico Cagnoni presented Plastic Culture, a vertical farming concept which grows plants that are both edible and can be used to make bioplastic.

Bioplastics are typically manufactured from carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes and sugarcane, but with a rapidly rising population and potential future food shortages, Cagnoni believes it is unethical to produce food purely for this use.

The designers discovered that both black salsify and dandelions are edible but also contain latex, a natural polymer produced in over 12,500 plants. Cagnoni's vertical farming system envisions creating autonomous and independent agricultural communities that are controlled by artificial intelligence. He hopes that this will drastically reduce the cost of products, allowing citizens and local government alike to become prosumers; actively controlling their food supply without funding a capitalist society.

For more on how designers are addressing the pitfalls of commodity crops and are proposing alternative Self-sufficient Agri-systems, keep an eye out for our forthcoming macro trend launching next month.

Moody launches a chronobiology app

Moody Month, UK Moody Month, UK
Moody Month, UK Moody Month, UK

UK – Editorial platform Moody has released its app, Moody Month, that offers real-time insight to help women understand their monthly cycles.

The app acts as a mood and hormone diary, inviting women to input their period dates, moods, bodily changes and personal memos in order to build a personalised daily feed. Monthly reports show patterns in the user’s moods and symptoms, including how this relates to the weather and position of the moon, and suggests changes in diet or activities that correlate to their cycle.

For those who are seeking solutions to their hormones imbalances, an online shop offers vitamins and supplements, categorised by cyclical stages. An editorial newsfeed also features bespoke articles from the Moody platform, covering self-care, astrology and fitness.

Although period-tracking apps are nothing new, Moody Month aims to educate women on their chronobiology. For more, read our microtrend Cyclical Beauty.

Ketamine could be on the NHS within 18 months

UK – A drug derived from ketamine may soon be used as a treatment for patients with depression.

The positive effects of ketamine on people with depression is not a new discovery. Various studies dating back to 2014 have shown that the drug, esketamine, can offer more rapid treatment than traditional anti-depressants, which take up to six weeks to become fully effective.

Following a series of trials that saw the drug tested on people at risk of suicide, the National Institute for Health Research has released a strategy that will see esketamine licensed for use by the NHS within 18 months. The drug will be administered via a nasal spray, which means that patients see significant improvements in symptoms within just 24 hours.

As the pharmaceutical industry increasingly sees the medical benefits of ketamine and LSD, these drugs are losing their associations with rebellion. For more on how young people are using controlled stimulants to alleviate mental health problems, look out for our macrotrend The Anxiety Rebellion.

Ketamine Ketamine

Mattel encourages young girls to dream big

The Dream Gap Project, Barbie

US – The maker of Barbie has announced the Dream Gap Project, an initiative to raise awareness of how gender bias affects children’s future dreams.

According to Mattel, the average age that girls stop believing they can do anything is just six years old. To challenge this, the brand is partnering New York University to fund a two-year fellowship to study the Dream Gap as well as launching content centred around moments that ‘teach girls to believe.’

‘Girls stop believing they can be presidents, scientists, astronauts, CEOs, and the list goes on,’ says the brand’s video campaign. ‘Why? Because what else are we going to believe when we are three times less likely to be given a science-related toy. And our parents are twice as likely to Google ‘Is my son gifted?’ than ‘Is my daughter gifted?’’

Brands like Barbie, which has long relied on a confined version of femininity, must rethink their values in order to better reflect young girls today. The Girl Guides recently rebranded to focus on subjects such as engineering and human rights.

Stat: Wages in rural America are booming

CityLab, an online website hosted by The Atlantic, has conducted a detailed investigation into economic growth in the US, focusing on the country’s urban-rural divide.

The research found that, although wages are higher in urban areas, they are growing faster in rural counties. Between 2001 and 2016, wages grew by roughly 50% across all counties. However, in rural counties wage growth was above the national average, and the smallest and most isolated areas posted the highest growth of all at 60%.

No longer willing to be spoken for by the coastal elite, America’s rural population are gaining prominence. For more about the consumers who are leaving cities in their thousands, watch out for our Opinion piece.

Thought-starter: Could father-son be a clothing category?

Arman Motlagh, creative director of Unauthorized, discusses how new attitudes to masculinity are creating fresh opportunities for fashion brands and retailers.

Motlagh began Unauthorized when he noticed how children are inspired by their older peers: ‘I felt there was a gap in the market for dressing this specific younger group, so Unauthorized was created as a streetwear brand targeted at boys and tweens. But during the design process we realised that many of the styles could be worn by both boys and men, so we expanded the brand to offer the same styles for fathers, sons, cousins and older brothers.’

‘One challenge is that there aren’t many retailers that specifically target young men and boys. You either have kids’ stores that focus on birth to about 10 years of age, or adult stores,’ Motlagh says. ‘We need the fashion sector to acknowledge that these young consumers are a huge part of the market, and they cannot be compressed into an adult or a kids’ store. They have their own identity and they need retail spaces and concepts to be focused specifically on them.’

Read the full Viewpoint here.

Unauthorized, Denmark Unauthorized, Denmark