Looking Back: Youth
28 : 12 : 18

Looking back at 2018, Generation Z created music for Instagram, overhauled the stereotype of the deprived student and introduced feminism to South Korea’s gaming industry.

The Trend: Social Media Music

Whack World by Tierra Whack

While streaming services have already expanded our musical libraries, in 2018 a new generation of artists created records with our digital habits in mind.

At the helm of a movement towards shorter songs was a group of young rappers, who were squeezing their rhymes into albums that barely hit the 30-minute mark. The 22-year-old artist Tierra Whack garnered critical acclaim in May when she released the 15-minute audiovisual project Whack World, comprising 15 one-minute songs. The one-minute length conveniently fit within Instagram’s 60-second video limit, something that Whack has hinted was intentional, and demonstrates how young artists are now taking an optimised-for-Instagram approach when creating music.

Actor and rapper Jaden Smith recently took this concept further, releasing an entire album on Instagram for his 10m followers. Launched on Smith’s 20th birthday, the album – an electronic reworking of five songs from his 2017 release SYRE – was initially exclusive to the platform.

The Big Idea: South Korea’s Youthquake

Growing up in a patriarchal society dominated by tradition, South Korea’s youth population made steps towards a more secure future in 2018.

Once considered the ‘dirty F-word’, feminism is increasingly being adopted by young South Korean women as they stand up to the gender violence and discrimination that is so entrenched in society. In Seoul, Kim Ryeo-il founded Doing Cafe as a ‘cultural home of feminism’ where women can explore feminist literature. In South Korea’s gaming industry, which is one of the largest in the world, hostility towards women is commonplace, despite half of gamers being female. In response, groups like Famerz – a feminist gaming organisation – have formed to help tackle misogyny within the digital space.

In a bid to secure a more stable future for themselves, young Koreans are turning to cryptocurrency. A recent study by recruitment agency Saramin found that more than three out of 10 South Koreans had invested in cryptocurrencies, with 80% of these respondents stating that they were in their 20s and 30s.

Stussy Spring 2018 collection editorial Stussy Spring 2018 collection editorial

The Campaign: All The Feels by Monki

All the Feels by Monki, Sweden

The H&M Group’s youth-focused fashion brand Monki launched an end-of-year campaign to draw attention to the positive and negative sides of social media.

The campaign, All The Feels, featured video interviews with three social media influencers who double as mental health advocates. Emily Bador talked about her role in the body positivity movement, John Yuyi discussed how her online persona is juxtaposed with her real identity, and Elyse Fox shared her story on building her collective Sad Girls Club.

The brand also released a capsule collection of nine items that encourage women to express their emotions on their clothing. The range of accessories and clothing came with contrasting slogans such as ‘bad day’ and ‘good day’, which can be added or removed with Velcro depending on the wearer’s mood. The collection also inspired an Opinion piece, in which foresight writer Holly Friend questioned why this type of emotion-driven clothing is exclusive to women.

The Interview: Ramaa Mosley on teenage directors

Earlier in the year, we discussed the rise of Generation Z-led think tanks with Ramaa Mosley, the founder of youth advertising and production agency Adolescent. With young people already creating content from an early age, Mosley believes there is an opportunity for brands to trust a teen with their entire advertising and marketing campaigns.

‘We help brands and entertainment companies to reach a youth audience by using young, Generation Z creators,’ explained Mosley. ‘The youngest talent that we have represented was 11, but they tend to be aged between 13 and 24. We represent prodigies who become masters, and then we move them into developing features and tv shows.’

‘We offer brands think tanks, where we put together a curated group of teenagers who already understand and love the brand. We then go through a process of ideation, pulling research and notes and creative concepts,’ said Mosley. ‘When our young people make the content, it’s their voice. It’s beautifully made. It’s high production values, but it’s authentically their vision, which is more likely to hit home with a youth audience.’

Photography by Abigail Berger Photography by Abigail Berger

The Space: The Student Hotel

TSH Campus by The Student Hotel, Barcelona TSH Campus by The Student Hotel, Barcelona

In April, The Student Hotel (TSH) expanded its remit beyond hostels to open a student-only residence in Barcelona that looks nothing like traditional university halls, tapping into the highly lucrative luxury student market.

TSH Campus offers more luxurious surroundings and services than regular dormitories, with a communal rooftop pool and terrace, pizza restaurant and large common area with a games room. Catering for different price points, the hotel offers three room types – standard, studio and superior studio.

The co-living environment had a similar aesthetic to the rest of The Student Hotel’s hostel locations, with bold interiors and accent features that are ideal for photo opportunities. It continued a trajectory in culture of curating interior spaces, whether that be a restaurant or a museum exhibition, to be attractive for social media.

Download our Future Forecast 2019 report

Now that you know the best in the year for fashion, find out what is on the horizon for 2019. Download our Future Forecast 2019 report here.

Future Forecast 2019 Future Forecast 2019
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