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D1A’s 2021 Trend Recap

The trend cycle now moves at a pace that leaves even forecasters—usually in lockstep with the next craze that will break through to become mainstream—not entirely certain how to spot the next big thing. However, a select few trends this year were unavoidable, bubbling to the surface in a way that was both disruptive and lasting. Here, our editorial team takes stock of the trends that, for us, defined 2021.

Shroomcore: In 2021, the impact and influence of mushrooms permeated across the fashion, skincare, CPG, construction and automobile industries. The “mushroom aesthetic” itself is evident in the rise of fungi-inspired items like lamps, candles and more. It doesn’t hurt that the world’s most booked Airbnb is also referred to as the “mushroom dome.” What intrigued me most though, was the uptick in the usage of psychedelics as both a means of escape and introspection—especially among Gen Zers. This comes as new research into psilocybin (the active ingredient in shrooms), LSD and MDMA has illustrated the medicinal qualities of long sanctioned and stigmatized drugs. — Eli Williams

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CREDIT: AXIOS

Fashion’s Web 3 Season: Luxury clothing brands and investors flocked to metaverse platforms this year to promote IRL products, sell virtual wares, and everything in between. For instance, Gucci launched a virtual sneaker, activated its latest fragrance in Animal Crossing and created a bag that sold for more on Roblox than its equivalent IRL price. Other recent moves include a metaverse business unit at Balenciaga and an NFT version of the viral JW Anderson sweater made famous by Harry Styles and KnitTokers. I’m curious how long, if at all, the cachet of physical luxury product and labels will continue to translate on the Planet of the Apes. — Clara Malley

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CREDIT: @Rdite_Rdiet via Twitter

Sentient Brands: It was vaguely dystopian when the verified Empire State Building TikTok account made a video about “couch guy”—a viral video in which a girl tries to surprise her boyfriend by visiting his college dorm, only to discover him on the couch cozied up to three other ladies. Not only was everyone weighing in with their own speculation, but it seemed as though corporations began working the seeming pain of a complete stranger into their marketing narratives to increase their own brand awareness. He became insanely famous for a week or so, and wrote about the experience. The brands have moved on. — Trey Taylor

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CREDIT: @empirestatebldg via TikTok

Virtual Memories of Loved Ones in Animal Crossing: New Horizons Animal Crossing: Virtual platforms, specifically the popular Nintendo Switch video game Animal Crossing when it became popular in April 2020, started to be used to memorialize loved ones who have died. Players virtually spend time with avatars of passed loved ones, use the game to mourn and build memorials, or to continue experiencing mom’s love. This is representative of 2021’s huge shift to virtual reality and how we seek connection or inject humanity into spaces that weren’t necessarily built for that. — Emily Zhang

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CREDIT: u/MessiahX via Reddit

Rug Tufting: Lockdown has made many of us go stir crazy while confined to our homes, but it also reignited interest in retro crafts– specifically rug tufting. Artists like Nicholas Ferrara, aka RugSoda on TikTok and Instagram, went viral in March for showing how he made his “Flat Tom” rug. Artists like him helped lead the trend to its current virality by creating unique custom rugs that are difficult to find elsewhere. From the combination of pandemic-induced boredom and increased social media usage during lockdown, rug tufting became a hit and, in my opinion, seriously cool. Like who doesn’t want their favorite Super Smash Brother’s character as a rug? — Danielle Lee

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CREDIT: RUGSODA

Flash Investing: Flash mobs are back, except in 2021 they swarmed online to disrupt financial markets in sudden and surprising ways. Powered by community sentiment, Redditors kicked off the year by sending GameStop stock on a meteoric rise and sticking it to traditional hedge funds, and a DAO—or decentralized autonomous organization—rounded it out by breaking crowdfunding records (raising over $30M in 72 hours) to nearly buy a copy of the US Constitution at auction. Not sure if this bodes well or ill for society in general, but it certainly bodes weird, and feels like just the tip of the iceberg for how DeFi (decentralized finance) might be the source of great shock and awe in ‘22. — William Rauscher

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CREDIT: @ConstitutionDAO via Twitter

Online Resale: The resale industry is continuing to expand its userbase thanks to vintage resellers like Depop, Poshmark, The RealReal and thredUP. Instead of having to sift through hundreds of articles of clothing in traditional thrift stores, these online marketplaces provide easy access to secondhand clothing. Brands like Levi’s and Urban Outfitters are also capitalizing on demand by adding their own resale options, allowing people to sell items from any brand in exchange for money, discounts or store credit. The benefit? A rise in resale could mean less clothes end up in landfills. — Braelyn Diamond

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CREDIT: Depop via New York Magazine

Hyperlocal/Hyperspecific Memes: At their start, memes were universally relatable and funny to all. It’s been interesting to see them get more and more specific to niche subcultures and people who live in a certain city or neighborhood. I’m thinking of accounts like @starterpacksofnyc, @west_la_memes, and @meetmeintranspecos. These memes are funny only to a particular group of people—if you know, you’re in on the joke (if not, sorry). — Elise Bang

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CREDIT: @starterpacksofnyc

Emo/Punk Rock: Rock is back, baby! Earlier this year, artists like Machine Gun Kelly and Willow switched from their respective rap and alt genres to (punk?) rock. In May, Olivia Rodrigo’s “good 4 you” became a TikTok anthem, paying homage to emo-rock favorite Paramore. Finally, Italian rock band Maneskin has been dominating the radio waves, with rock songs like “I wanna be your slave” and “Beggin” since late May. Why are these trends so popular? My guess is people are finally starting to embrace their inner angst (and I love it!). Plus, throughout the pandemic, spaces like TikTok have provided a safe space for creatives and emo-rock lovers to express their interests. Ergo, to me, 2021 is all about rock and angst. — Dharma Gutierrez