The Mystic Effect _
From whimsigothic interiors to outlandish avatars
The new meaning of mysticism
The growing interest in spiritual and holistic practices is reflected across a variety of industries, influencing different aspects of life. As consumers seek meaning, connection, and well-being, principles and practices rooted in mysticism continue to shape and inspire various sectors of society. From fashion shows and club nights to social media and gaming, consumers, and more specifically, Gen Z’s, are turning to the mystical to make sense of the chaotic world around them.
[Image Credit: Ubisoft]
Why are we talking Gen Z?
Their size and influence make them a significant part of the global population. Considered the most digitally connected, socially conscious and more diverse than previous generations, brands are increasingly interested in understanding their preferences and behaviours.
Despite their secular leanings, Gen Z’s are less trusting of modern institutions than previous generations. With recurring crises to confront, many in this demographic are exploring different faiths and modes of living that could offer reassurance and meaning. According to Vice, 60% of Gen Z’s say they are searching for spirituality outside of organised religion, while 87% say that taking care of their soul is important to them. Whether others actually believe in the occult forces or the divine protection of 11:11, Gen Z’s definitely do and with their known impact on society, tapping into this belief is important for brands to leverage.
[Image Credit: Glamour UK]
Gen Z’s appetite for mysticism has infused the fashion world, drawing on spirituality and the cohorts desire for escapism. The affinity for fluidity across aspects of their lives applies most strongly to self-expression. Many Gen Z’s are embracing otherworldly aesthetics as they seek to escape to more fantastical and buoyant versions of reality. Gen Z’s affinity for mysticism is influencing the way they express themselves through fashion.
Some seek comfort in spiritual cosplay as a means of escapism, often switching identities in order to create different iterations of themselves. Others choose from a range of beliefs that best suit them to influence their everyday fashion. Recent fashion week revelations align with dreamy and ethereal directions, hence the revival of the Y2K butterfly craze, layered hyper-feminine outfits and pixie cuts. In some cases, emerging spiritual interpretations are taking a dark turn, taking influence from the ritualistic, cult side of mysticism – entering the realm of symbolic accessories, gothic garments, and sombre tones.
From boho-chic to grungy aesthetics, mysticism has definitely played a part. It will continue as the fantasy world expands and scientific discoveries develop, allowing us to discover what was once the unknown.
[Image Credit: Blumarine]
As an always-online generation, the boundless possibilities brought by the introduction of social media mean that identity is influenced by gamified and customisable mentalities. Shifting identities has become the norm for Gen Z, who are increasingly expressing themselves through avatars and digital personas. The metaverse provides consumers with a platform to present themselves as outlandish creatures, with 53% of users saying their avatars incorporate mystic elements.
Mysticism is nothing new, but the modern form of the practice certainly is. Online platforms have become the new church halls, creating spaces that reside between digital and spiritual. Gen Z’s now look to platforms such as TikTok for spiritual guidance and tarot readings from the app’s self-proclaimed psychics. However, this type of accessible mysticism does not come without backlash, with critics stating that these new-age practitioners could wrongly guide their followers as well as provide misinformation regarding religion.
The gaming industry, predicted to reach $490.6 billion by the end of 2023, continues to grow, with fantasy games accounting for 39% of its global revenue, according to Sensor Tower. For some, this interest in mystic themes lies with nostalgia. These games often reflect stories or narratives from childhood fairytales and classical tragedies. For others, it is a different form of escape, allowing users to forget the real-world woes and immerse themselves in imagination.
[Image Credit: Debuts]
Interior design is everchanging, responding to social, cultural, and technological influences. From the bold and colourful designs of the ‘70’s to the natural and eco-conscious aesthetics of the 2010’s, interior design has adapted to meet the changing needs and preferences of the consumer. Emerging from years of unprecedented changes, we have dictated how we want our living spaces to look and gone are the days of soul-less overly minimalist interiors. Instead, we find value in texture, colour, and warmth, leaning towards more personalised spaces. Mysticism has provided interior design with a wealth of inspiration.
According to Pinterest, the ethereal aesthetic will be one of the most significant forces in design this year and will flow into early 2024. From delicate fabrics to a soft, soothing colour scheme, curating a cohesive, harmonious space is easier than you think. But this doesn’t mean filling your home with stark white and billowing curtains, tapping into elaborate prints, and utilising flora and ornate décor can achieve a whimsical aesthetic.
Alternatively, for those wanting to return to the whimsigothic style of 1990’s, artists are providing designs using of darker woods, rich tones, and decadent textiles. This aesthetic where romance meets macabre has been prompted by cultural cues such as Dolce & Gabbana’s satanic SS23 show and shows like Netflix’s ‘Wednesday’ having immense popularity. Due to this, it is evident that consumers are finding inspiration in the darker narratives, which have translated into the world of interiors.
[Image Credit: Nickolas Sargent]
So where do we come in?
Just as people are drawn to the practises of mysticism, many are drawn to the aesthetic too, the stuff that comes with mysticism, not just the services but the accessories and the overall look and feel. If you’re a brand or retailer looking to design a retail space that’s reflective of current industry trends such as mysticism, then this is where we can help…