Sparks & honey tracks cultural trends by drawing on dozens of data sources, hundreds of scouts and cultural strategists in our London, New York and Los Angeles offices. In January, we covered hundreds of signals and featured the best daily in our app N2 (Now, Next). Here are the hottest trends summarized exclusively for The Drum.
2. A cabin in the woods
It was fashionable in the late 19th century to prescribe "rest cures" to women (and some men) with nervous disorders. And now it seems some 21st century neurasthenics — allergic to Wi-Fi, constant digital connection, and the modern world itself — are looking to get away from it all by going to, or at least fantasizing about going to, cabins and tree houses.
There's a cult book titled "Cabin Porn," along with a number of Tumblr accounts featuring photos of lonesome, rustic A-frames from Utah to Norway to Malawi.
And Airbnb recently released its top wish-listed destinations and properties and tree houses were at the top, particularly one in Atlanta in the woods right outside the center of the city. The three rooms — a living room, bedroom and deck — are connected by rope bridges, and the bathroom is a 30-second walk from the main house. You’d think more high-end, amenity-rich homes would be at the top of people’s lists, but, according to Airbnb, people are looking for “fantasy.”
3. Hijab chic
Given the charged political climate we're living in, with Islamophobia and misconceptions about Muslims on the rise, it’s powerful to see beautiful images of Muslim girls and women — both for non-Muslims and for Muslims alike.
Haneefah Adam, a 24-year-old from Nigeria, mashed up the iconic blonde haired blue-eyed Barbie in a headscarf many Muslim women wear called the hijab to create her Hijarbie Instagram account. Adam even sews Hijarbie's beautiful clothes and says her desire is to inspire Muslim girls. "It’s about having a doll that looks like her, that represents her own cultural and religious background.”
Italian designers Dolce & Gabbana also recently debuted a line of clothing aimed at its Muslim consumers featuring abayas, or long cloaks, and hijabs, or head scarves, decorated with flower and lace designs that are the design house's signature.
That Muslim women represent a $266bn market is no doubt part of the motivation, and other brands including DKNY and Tommy Hilfiger are already selling hijabs to designer-loving Muslim women. These images both bring Muslim women into a non-stereotypical visual plane and raises them to a conventional place of beauty. As one commenter on Jezebel wryly noted, "Capitalism, bringing us all together. Eventually."
4. Le doggy bag
You know the movement not to waste food has truly gone global when the French begin to do something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago: take home leftover food with them after eating at a restaurant.
A new French law is seeking to force restaurants that serve more than 150 customers a day to give out doggy bags. The law is seeking to curb food waste in a city in which creates 125 pounds of organic waste per year per capita, consisting largely of leftover and unconsumed packaged food. The obstacles are mainly cultural, as cuisine is raised to practically a religion in France, and chefs fear that food taken home will "degrade" the original preparation.
Although about 75 per cent of French people are open to doggy bags, 70 per cent have never taken one home. They’re about to.