Flux Trends re­searcher Khumo Theko fore­casts the new wave for busi­ness, cul­ture and so­ci­ety.

Glamour (South Africa) - - Contents - Words by YOLISA MJAMBA

New fron­tiers

Flux Trends is ded­i­cated to iden­ti­fy­ing macro trends that in­flu­ence so­cio, po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic land­scapes. Sift­ing through large amounts of data, they ex­tract the most rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion and con­dense it into neat, easy-to-di­gest pack­ages which are pre­sented as busi­ness strat­egy. Here, Khumo dis­cusses the new Con­sciously Di­verse tribes, which touch on gen­der, race and cul­ture. Fem­me­trepreneurs

Neo-fem­i­nism is play­ing out in dif­fer­ent sec­tors glob­ally and women have cre­ated net­works that are em­pow­er­ing each other. In China, for ex­am­ple, they have the ‘She-con­omy’, which fea­tures the high­est num­ber of self-made fe­male bil­lion­aires. Lo­cally, the ‘woman era’ is not just call­ing for equal­ity, but em­pow­er­ment through self-ap­pre­ci­a­tion, self-love and rep­re­sen­ta­tion. Think of busi­nesses like Sibahle Dolls and Ntombenhle Dolls, these were cre­ated to show young black girls in SA that they are beau­ti­ful, too. The con­ver­sa­tion around equal­ity for women, in var­i­ous in­dus­tries, is grow­ing. We’ll also see a new light shed on the con­cepts of equal pay and pink tax (the ex­tra costs women are charged for cer­tain prod­ucts and ser­vices). Women’s rights, in gen­eral, are now be­ing brought to the fore-front.


These are the conscious con­sumers. We’re see­ing a de­mo­graphic that’s push­ing to live a sus­tain­able life, and it’s hap­pen­ing in dif­fer­ent spec­trums. From the one spec­trum ex­ist the min­i­mal­ists, who are down­siz­ing their ma­te­rial goods and clean­ing out their clos­ets. This group lives more for ex­pe­ri­ence than ma­te­rial. They’re travelling and im­mers­ing them­selves in dif­fer­ent cul­tures – liv­ing only off of what is nec­es­sary. On an­other spec­trum ex­ists the food cleansers. Three mil­lion peo­ple have cho­sen to be veg­e­tar­ian, while half a mil­lion have declared them­selves ve­g­ans. This way of life has gained a lot of momentum in SA, par­tic­u­larly in Cape Town, where more ve­gan restau­rants, like Raw and Roxy and Plant, are emerg­ing. The life that mil­len­ni­als are try­ing to live has changed be­cause their fi­nances aren’t the same as pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions. They have stu­dent loans, are strug­gling to find em­ploy­ment and can’t af­ford to live on their own. They’re also be­ing more conscious of global warming and cli­mate change.

african am­bas­sadors

African mil­len­ni­als are recre­at­ing the nar­ra­tive of the African con­ti­nent. Rap­per Khuli Chana’s ‘One Source’ music video fea­tured a col­lab­o­ra­tion of dif­fer­ent artists from the con­ti­nent and ex­plored the con­cept of AfroFu­tur­ism, a mo­tif we also saw in the suc­cess­ful Marvel film Black Pan­ther. The likes of Sho Mad­jozi and Trevor Stu­ur­man are among the artists who add a fresh­ness to the African cre­ative econ­omy, too. There’s also more of a con­scious­ness in iden­tity and we see the ef­fects of this in the push of black women go­ing nat­u­ral. It’s not only about rock­ing your nat­u­ral hair, but look­ing at how to make nat­u­ral prod­ucts for your body as well. Afro-pride is be­com­ing more preva­lent, both lo­cally and for those in the di­as­pora. How­ever, brands who try to ap­pro­pri­ate this move­ment are be­ing pub­licly called out, as was the case with Zara in April. The re­tailer caused wide­spread out­rage when they re­leased a line of socks which fea­tured a design that was viewed as be­ing too sim­i­lar to those be­long­ing to Max­hosa by Lad­uma.

Woke busi­nesses

These are Millennial and Gen Z en­trepreneurs who are cre­at­ing busi­nesses that cater to the ‘spirit of the time’ – re­fer­ring to in­clu­siv­ity. At just 10, Kheris Rogers, from the US, cre­ated a T-shirt range called Flex­ing in my Com­plex­ion, af­ter she was bul­lied at school for hav­ing dark skin. She is now the youngest de­signer to show at New York Fash­ion Week. Big brands are also start­ing to take their ac­tivism to the next level. Black La­bel’s ‘No Ex­cuse’ cam­paign last year was an ef­fort to raise aware­ness for gen­der-based vi­o­lence, while ear­lier this year, Cas­tle Lager re­leased a state­ment an­nounc­ing the re­moval of the la­bels on their beer bot­tles in or­der to “stand in sol­i­dar­ity with all those who are un­fairly la­belled on a daily ba­sis”. It’s im­por­tant that brands are sin­cere when they go this route. Last year, Pepsi re­ceived a lot of back­lash for the ad they aired fea­tur­ing model Ken­dall Jen­ner, in what looked like a sug­ges­tion of po­lice bru­tal­ity be­ing eas­ily re­solved with a can of their soft drink. They even­tu­ally pulled the ad, apol­o­gised and lost mil­lions.


Brands are start­ing to cater to the fe­male au­di­ence more when it comes to fit­ness. In 2016, Nike had a mar­ket­ing ex­pen­di­ture of more than $804 mil­lion (R10.8 bil­lion) and they want to grow it to $11 bil­lion (R148 bil­lion) by 2020. Many women are even ex­er­cis­ing while they’re preg­nant. Videos of Nkateko ‘Takkies’ Maswan­ganye per­form­ing in heels while seven months along went vi­ral and were even shared in­ter­na­tion­ally. Other ‘fit­flu­en­tial’ women like Let­shego Zulu are also break­ing the stereo­type, show­ing that you can be ath­letic and a mom at the same time. Let­shego also en­cour­ages women to get out there and work out us­ing non­tra­di­tional al­ter­na­tives, like Pop­up­gym, which she co­founded in 2017. Body­pos­i­tiv­ity is a huge fac­tor when it comes to the new wave of fit­ness bun­nies. Women like Boity Thulo and Sibahle Mpisane show that you can be healthy and still main­tain your curves.

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