Sep 13, 2019 | By Athena Chen
Over the past few years the wellness movement has been on the radar of every designer, marketer, retailer and to be honest, every consumer. And this is because trend movements such as wellness are intrinsically linked with consumer lifestyles and priorities – being out of touch with how these are evolving can lead to brand irrelevancy and lost investments.
So, before you go out and stage a salt room, we’ve identified some of the key ways wellness is evolving, which we’ll be exploring further as part of WGSN Futures in Australia on November 16.
Exclusionary to Inclusionary
Instagram accounts full of clean food, yoga mats and #fitspo hashtags have shown an idealised view of what wellness means. As a result, a backlash has emerged against these exclusionary style images, and we’re seeing a shift towards celebrating our bodies, and the foods, and exercises that work best for us.
US lifestyle blogger Balanced Blonde published a post earlier this year titled Wellness Blogging vs. Being Obsessed with Health. In the post she discussed her transition from her days as The Blonde Vegan and her admission to suffering from orthorexia, to how she finds balance today.
The shift in attitude towards the word ‘wellness’ can’t be ignored, wellness has evolved and has led to the rise of anti-wellness and the #healthism movement. This is about a more inclusive approach to wellness focusing on self-acceptance to create a balance between health and fun.
Bevin Branlandingham is an artist, community leader and aerobics instructor who runs the Queer Fat Femme website, and holds a weekly aerobics class called Fat Kid Dance Party in LA, where participants can dance with no rules, buying into the message ‘all bodies are good bodies’.
An Honest Future
We’re at a crossroads, there’s a divergence in how the wellness trend is evolving, so which road will people be taking? As signifiers of wealth, shift from the material (money and possessions) to the personal (health, knowledge, experiences), the wellness movement will be increasingly influenced by the breaking down of social taboos around body image and mental health.
And this can already be seen in markets where wellness has had a massive impact: currently being held in Sydney, Australia, The Big Anxiety is a festival with experiential events and exhibitions to reimagine the state of mental health in the 21st century. The festival represents a creative, but relevant way of dealing with an issue that is crucial to what wellness actually means for lifestyles in the future.
At WGSN’s Futures Melbourne we will look to understand the implications of these changes for brands and businesses and how they can anticipate relevant Wellness areas to be part of in the future. Ticketing and event details can be found here: https://www.wgsn.com/en/events/futures-summit/melbourne/
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