The world is burning. Global protests, political instability, the rising cost of living, the aftermath of the Covid pandemic, and the climate crisis are only some of the issues we are all facing in 2023. Feelings of uncertainty and rage are moving from social media into the real world, as people are taking to the streets demanding their voices to be heard. One of the most interesting movements currently dominating the conversation is Eco-Vandalism.
Eco-Vandalism refers to the extreme actions taken by climate activists, usually Gen Zers, using provocations to send a clear message to politicians and people in power. Eco-Vandalists have been targeting museums to harm priceless works of art, like the Mona Lisa and Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, in protest against global warming and the climate crisis. So far, these controversial acts have been receiving extensive media coverage, becoming a hot topic on social media.
It’s no surprise these young activists, who are feeling hopeless about the future of our planet, choose to fight against it within the bounds of the radical presentation culture we live in, focusing on the visual impact of the movement – using bold colors such as orange, red and yellow, splashes of color and graffiti, low-tech aesthetic, handwritten messages, and a ton of spunk.
Leading designers and brands are encouraged to take a stand on environmental issues, developing new technologies for textiles and production, using deadstock fabrics to create new collections, upcycling old garments, and raising awareness through campaigns. “The Age of Rage” is challenging the industry, forcing brands to think outside the box.
Instagram’s 2023 trend report states that more than half of Gen Z plans to DIY their clothes next year, citing sustainability as a key issue for the generation, which could lead to an influx of individualism.
Interior and graphic designers are using low-tech aesthetics, splashes of color, graffiti, and airbrush techniques to make a statement. With clashing colors and conflicting materials, they bring rage, protest, and intent into everyday products, elevating the ordinary into a statement piece.
Rave parties and underground events are gaining popularity as counteracts to a lifestyle of wealth and hedonism, with elements of body paint, punk hairstyle, and nudity.
In these volatile times, it’s no wonder cultural trends are leaning toward the extreme. Despite its controversiality, Eco-Vandalism is about substance, not looks. It’s a cry for attention to the most important things – our world, our future. And that’s how the most interesting trends come to life.