August 4, 2019 / Trend

The Psychedelic Renaissance

It’s with great fondness, if not a little nostalgia, that I see this revival for all things 60’s wafting through everything from fashion to music to furniture design.

Michael Sheridan, 2017

Bold colours, white shoes and playful prints can be found all over the fashion industry. Of course, there are modern adaptations; white boots and white sneakers, looser silhouettes that can be found on suits as well as dresses and the fantastical air of escapism fully taking hold. A trend we first looked at in 2017, we revisit its evolution, bridging the gap between high and low culture, developing into a new form of high.

In a political dichotomy where liberalist attitudes are at the forefront of youth culture, it is no surprise that a psychedelic resurgence is happening, in a not dissimilar socio-political arena to that of the ‘60s. With a subversive street-wear culture to match, the psychedelic trend is not just about taking drugs. It is a form of escapism which is being seen in art, fashion and music.

Art exhibitions that explore futuristic fantasy have emerged as a theme with London’s recent We Live In an Ocean of Air and Milan’s Broken Nature. Fashion also delves into this, mixing fantasy, streetwear and sustainability by brands such as Nike and Burberry creating pieces made from sustainable materials with a quixotic feel.

Luxury brands like Louis Vuitton are embracing the fantasy fuelling with their latest New York pop-up which envelops both the exterior and interior in neon green. The immersive experience highlights the interest of high art and streetwear, brought together in an almost extra-terrestrial environment.

Iridescent colours have become features of stores and pop-ups around the world, creating a visually dream-like, fantasy fuelled interiors. Aimed to access consumers’ emotional sides, design studio Joy Season opened the ‘auspicious cloud’ in Beijing, a meteorological representation of ‘heaven and good luck’. The refracted colours immerse the consumer with changing light and colour highlighting the physical manifestations of a psychedelic resurgence.

Chance The Rapper, Kanye and A$AP have all admitted to taking psychedelics in the creation of their latest albums, highlighting the overlapping of psychedelics in art, much in line with The Beatles using acid in the creation of their St. Pepper album.

With the CBD revolution and cultural acceptance of substances like cannabis, a doorway has been opened to explore how drugs once deemed detrimental can have positive effects on not just our health but creative influences.

Not limited to hippies and youths, micro-dosing LSD has also become popular in Silicon Valley, leading us to consider if psychedelics are the new cannabis and will be seen as less-illegal and more of a creative enhancement in the near future. Reflected in design, we will see designers use colour to play and enhance, change and replicate moods, engaging with consumers.

Key Insights

  • Tap into the fantastical escapist mindset of many consumers to guide relief from the anxiety felt from the current socio-political climate.
  • Embrace burgeoning ideas about creativity and psychedelics. Cultural views on the substances are not as harsh have they have been. Encourage safe and secure use.

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