Five Youth Trends for 2016

The kids are all about control, psychedelics, gross stuff and blurred lines right now. And because they are, we will be. Here’s a glimpse into European youth culture:

  1. BROWSING THE MARGIN

CUTTING THE CRAP, BY EMBRACING IT. AN ODE TO THE CRAP, THE CREEPY, THE ORDINARY AND THE BIZARRE

One step beyond the attraction to the ordinary — a trend we outline in our trend report Bright Underground — is today’s growing appeal for vulgarity. Consider these outpourings as odes to shittiness, a big fuck you to refined taste and a middle finger to commercialized awesomeness. These kids are all about embracing cutting edge creativity. And when that’s no option, they go with the brutally honest and the horribly awful. They seek inspiration in the margins, the peripheral places and deviant social strata, which for years have been neglected by the dominant hipster culture.

2. IN THE CONTROL ROOM

HACKING THEIR LIVES AND ENVIRONMENT, SHAPING IT EXACTLY THE WAY THEY WANT

Growing up in a chaotic world, in which the recipes for success are continuously changing, is not exactly an easy task. Luckily there is an Internet overflowing with how-to clips and “10 ways to make it big” recommendations from peers and other companions in misfortune. Supplemented by the rapid and incessant technological advancements, present-days youngsters are buckled up in the driver’s seat of their life. First they hacked the Internet, to accordingly hack their lives. Now they’ve embarked on the quest to hack their body and mind. With the supreme purpose to be as efficient and effective as possible, they’ve made it their mission to become their finest selves.

3. BLURRED LIVES

DETACHMENT FROM CATEGORISATION, IN A NORMATIVE SEARCH FOR WHAT’S RIGHT AND WRONG

Adolescence is a transitional stage in which youngsters take up the daunting task to mould and shape their identity. While doing so, today’s youth is surrounded by tools that help empower them to become whoever they wish to be. They are in control of their identity and the world they live in. By the same token, they’ve distanced themselves of the stigmas and labels from previous generations. In times in which reality is increasingly quantifiable, modern-day kids decide every new day who they want to be and how the world should be perceived. The days of the black and white dichotomous way of thinking are over. Make way for grey shades.

4. MINDFUL MINDFUCKING

CURIOUS EXPLORATION OF THE POSSIBILITIES AND LIMITS OF THE MIND

After years of bodily obsessions and seeking an immaculate balance between body and mind, the shift is now back to the psyche. Scientific research and new technologies have aroused the interest of both the new and old(er) generation. Mind wandering, experiments with new technology, hallucinogenic substances, psychedelic art: they’re all means to discover new, untilled worlds and expand horizons. After all, rules are meant to be broken; no frontiers are sacred. Hence, this pursuit for inspiration and meaning could very well reach its zenith in the neurology field.

5. UNDERWEBCULTURES

LIKEMINDED PEOPLE FROM ALL CORNERS OVER THE GLOBE JOIN FORCES TO FORM NEW NICHE COMMUNITIES

As the world has become ever more fragmentised, today’s kids are disengaging from the long-held itch — particularly notorious among previous generations — to label and define everything. Still, this by no means eradicates the innately human and universal desire to belong. In the end, this quest for belonging always involves some notion of labelling and defining. There’s simply no escaping. Eluding geographical limitations, youngsters connect with kindred spirits to share their passions, opinions and missions with. Oftentimes powered by the Internet, through new and sometimes more established channels and platforms. But also offline meetings are an essential part of this. In today’s blurry times, hidden from the omnipresent eye of trend forecasters and marketeers, these youngsters form new groups with their own idiosyncratic set of rules and cultural codes. Safely under the radar.

This blogpost first appeared on www.trendwolves.com