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In 2022, the youth, media and technology sectors were shaken up by the metaverse. We explored this new decentralised framework as well as its IRL challengers.

The Trend: Meta-tainment Futures

Estudio Felipe Escudero (EFE) designed a dream-like interior for a boutique
motel room that hints to Japanese manga and vaporwave aesthetics, Ecuador Estudio Felipe Escudero (EFE) designed a dream-like interior for a boutique motel room that hints to Japanese manga and vaporwave aesthetics, Ecuador

At the beginning of 2022, we released our Meta-tainment Futures report, dissecting the rise of Web3 and the metaverse as well as highlighting the innovators already reaping the potential.

The metaverse, despite what big tech was hinting at, was and still is very much in development. The report offered a more realistic, practical and concrete view of how the metaverse and immersive technologies have so far influenced key sectors such as fashion and travel.

Familiar names were spotlighted such as Nike, Balenciaga, Spotify and Gucci, alongside rising pioneers such as ByondXR, Republic Realm and MYAMI. We revealed how and where they are mixing, merging and magnifying different mediums and technologies to extend and explore what media, entertainment and immersive brand experiences can and should become when we fuse our imaginations with accelerating tech.

The Big Idea: Next-gen Dating

Gen Z’s approach to relationships is changing, with users increasingly interested in exploring new app formats that go beyond endless swiping to find genuine connections.

In September, we collated the hottest dating apps to have hit the market in the last year and a half. Looking to align more closely with Gen Z’s digital habits and relationship priorities, newcomers Schmooze and Ilios found their niche, whilst Kippo made virtual dating a reality.

Based in Austin, Texas, Ilios wants to help people find love based on astrology and numerology, putting the emphasis on star signs and cosmic alignment. While not specifically targeting Gen Z, with rising interest among this generation in spirituality – and astrology in particular – the app is looking to provide a niche space that users won’t find elsewhere.

Gamer-focused dating app Kippo updated its platform allowing users to create avatars and meet via its in-app virtual world. The newly launched dating metaverse hopes to give digitally savvy Gen Z users intimate shared virtual experiences that hold real meaning for the participants.


The Campaign: Purposeful Positivity

The Girl Scouts USA rebranding by Collins, US
The Girl Scouts USA rebranding by Collins, US
The Girl Scouts USA rebranding by Collins, US

In 2022, the reckoning of generation Zalpha could be seen in the changing visual identity of numerous sectors. This hybrid generation had given birth to a curious and unmistakable design direction, Pliable Playscapes.

A stand out rebrand came from Collins in the latter half of the year, unifying the 1.7m members of the Girl Scouts of the USA under one refreshed visual identity.

Branding assets were designed to work with the organisation’s long-standing fondness for badges, encouraging interactivity with geometric forms and a consistent new typeface, Girl Scouts Serif. While its signature trefoil logo has been freed up to work in a range of colours, adding another layer of freedom to how it can be used on uniforms, badges and communications.

The rebranding signals a shift from childhood as a time of innocence to a time of productivity. It provides a rising generation with a visual framework to express a sense of purposeful positivity.

The Interview: Remixing Wellness

Feel Good Marketplace by Woo, UK Feel Good Marketplace by Woo, UK

In May we spoke to Stephen Mai, the founder of Woo, a next-gen media brand merging content and retail, on how wellness can be reframed as feel-good culture.

Set about to redefine wellness for Generation Z, aiming to make mental health and wellbeing solutions more aspirational, culturally relevant and democratic, Woo merges things like pop culture and wellness, packaging it in a way that is relatable – not alienating or cheesy.

It launched with three distinct shows, each aiming to help the audience think about wellness in a different or more interesting way. Nature’s Calling, a Wes Anderson-style film captured an adventure journey to a cold-water swimming lake, positioning entertainment first and mental health second.

Since then, Woo unveiled its own marketplace of feel-good products, Planet Woo, offering a range of cross-category wellbeing items optimised for emotional discovery. Unlike a typical online store, the mood-led platform offers wellness products across homeware, tech, beauty, fashion and lifestyle, alongside live therapeutic experiences like sound healing or breath work.

The Space: Roller-skating Resurrected

Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace at Rockefeller Center by Liberty Ross. Photography by Albert Vecerka, US Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace at Rockefeller Center by Liberty Ross. Photography by Albert Vecerka, US

One of the most anticipated spaces of the year had to be the revival of Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace at the Rockefeller Center in April. Capitalising on the pandemic boom for new hobbies, Liberty Ross followed in her father’s footsteps and reimagined the 1980’s skating rink described as ‘Studio 54 on wheels’.

With the resurgence of retro and nostalgic hobbies, Ross decided it was the appropriate time to re-open Flipper’s to provide a health and community-orientated space for people to congregate in real life.

Designed by Bureau Betak, the rink includes food and dining areas, a viewing platform and a store, with events such as music performances and live DJ sets regularly taking place. The venue offers young people a hangout space to foster IRL connections and counterbalances a year overrun with tech innovations.

Download the Future Forecast 2023 report

Victoria Ling for The Future Laboratory Victoria Ling for The Future Laboratory

Now that you know what shaped 2022, discover what’s on the horizon. Download our Future Forecast 2023 report comprising 50 new trends across 10 key consumer sectors, insights from our analysts and interviews with global innovators.

Not a member of LS:N Global?

The Future Forecast 2023 collection, including PDF report and on-demand webinar, is available to purchase from The Future Laboratory shop. Interested in becoming a member? Learn more here

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