In this Trend Report, we are discovering why there is a newfound love for nature and what this implies for the jewelry we want. Gen Z is leading the way to rethink old structures while influencing older generations with their fresh take on the world and all that is right and wrong with it. Nature's Renaissance is one trend that we expect to grow and evolve in the upcoming decade. Let's explore how and why.
True, nature has always been our inspiration.
We adore it, treasure it, yet we, as a species, have done everything in our power to fight nature, detach from nature, or worse, destroy nature. Why? Perhaps it's our fear of not controlling the wildness of nature, its force, that drives us to attempt to banish it or contain it.
There is a silver lining; our attempts have driven us to significant innovations.
Our fear grew into confidence. And our confidence grew into contempt and greed. And our greed turned into destruction. We constantly seem to forget how fragile we indeed are—holding on to a blue planet that floats around in an endless universe. It's all we have, and we all depend on it. This one amazing beautiful planet filled with the most astonishing creatures and plants and flowers. This duality that we have versus nature is key to this huge trend: Nature's Renaissance.
Our latest generation is looking at us. Angry, upset. And they are right.
They grow up hyperconnected and get their information online instantly from any source. Their collective feeling of wanting to change the world is exciting. They obviously aren't born this way (although authors like P. M. H. Atwater think differently) but influenced by what many people are feeling today, at any age: we need to change.
Even if populism based on old school values with roots deep into religion or power are ruling many countries, it's coming together. Despite this factor, it's coming together, and the rise of valuing soft skills is one of its symptoms. Every Harvard Business Review article seems to be about kindness and empathy as essential traits in the business arena. Although the Millennial generation seemed to go towards living life with less stress about careers, they have grown into the picture-perfect generation, aka the Burn-Out generation trying to do everything as a perfect Instagram grid.
Gen Z might be the generation that grows up with more people accepting weirdness, gender fluidity, intelligence, different backgrounds, and so on than those who don't.
They are growing up, like my own son, with iPads when they are toddlers for entertainment. Parents out there ban computers and technology from their kid's lives, claiming that they should be playing outside. Personally, I think that is silly. Unless a child loves to be out, there is no harm in allowing them to play with a mobile or laptop. Why? This is the reality of their life and future. (and evidence that it's harmful to them is not there) They perceive the online world as real, if not more than the offline world.
Many companies now target this Gen Z, and reports about engaging and reaching them are wildly downloaded. We have to be very careful not to be blinded by the companies who write these reports. They are often copies, or the same people get asked the same questions over and over again.
I find the smaller marketer companies that specialize in, say, Gen Z, much more reliable. They depend on this market and have their eyes and ears wide open when communicating directly with their target group.
In the upcoming months, I will share what I have learned about Gen Z and how I think it translates to jewelry in particular, both in design and communication, in bite-size bits and long-reads.
Nora Rachel Jewelry-organic, flowers in silver
This blog is about the return to nature (bear with me for the very long introduction ;-)
But yes, this is the era of Nature's Renaissance, the re-birth, said one of the marketers I recently interviewed for JNA (Jewellery Net Asia- trade magazine). Why? Let's discover: The marketer works for a boutique marketing office in Amsterdam, and she had an excellent name for the overwhelming amount of information processed by people: INFOBESITY.
Rita Soto Ventura from Chili creates jewelry with textile in organic natural forms
They, Gen Z, long to go offline, off the grid almost, for a defined period. And find nature to be soothing and inspiring. Understandably, they try to connect with themselves again. Who am I? Who am I without the influence of any social platform? While the first question is universal and always felt by young generations, the latter is relatively new. Opinions of peers always mattered to us. But these opinions are now amplified by social media. The connection can also overwhelm. Constant noise and interruption distract the mind, making it almost impossible to reflect.
One of the most successful methods to overcome depression is to walk in nature. We may not know why exactly, but the movement of walking and the view of nature, smell, and sounds soothes us. And we are growing to be more conscious about this effect.
Our minds, not focused on our issues, often relax, and sometimes we feel answers, inspiration, or insights floating into our brain like magic.
While relaxing and soothing ourselves, we are more open to feeling compassion for ourselves and others, less judging, more understanding. This process allows us to grow, calm, understand and learn as human beings.
Danni Schwaag Mother of Pearl rings
In two ways, as I see it now, sensorial and visually. Jewelry that soothes us physically could contain soft materials from nature, such as wood, feathers, maybe even leaves, flowers, or plants. Perhaps we can image jewelry that creates us to calm ourselves with soothing sounds or rhythms to calm our heartbeat and respiration.
Visually, it's a given: there are already lots of companies and designers who created magnificent jewelry with nature as their theme. Animals, flowers, fruits, vegetables. But this new generation loves to know what you stand for. Your purpose. Not all of them, obviously, but many. So why not emphasize? Loud communication about what you stand for, what you defend ( trees, indigenous people, conservation of wildlife, vegetarianism, animals, the oceans?) could make you stand out and get noticed.
It is a little warning, the bullshit radar of many people, but Gen Z is mainly as sharp as a knife. Not authentic in your values or purposes? Only trying to sell a ring or two more with hollow phrases? You'll risk losing clients over it, or worse, getting called out on social media or canceled as a result.
In design, one could imagine giant beetles, leaves, flowers, and all kinds of animals but worn on a shoulder, blown up. Or worn as a sculpture on the arms, or brooches worn as garment ornaments, long earrings, or small but capturing traits or behavior rather than only the exterior of an animal. Tell a story of elephants searching for water, the animal kingdom pushing us back, how monkeys play with their young and create something fun that aligns with your consumers' values today and tomorrow. Appreciating nature and showing it through what you wear and how you wear will be a growing trend that will evolve in many forms in the upcoming years.