September 27th, 2021


The Next Big Thing (or Not)

Lenore Skenazy

By Lenore Skenazy

Published August 20,2018

The Next Big Thing (or Not)

Trends are not something I would say I'm great at predicting. Years ago, when I was passing the Empire State Building, two tourists asked me whether I'd take their picture. "Sure," I said. One handed me a phone.

"What the heck?" said I.

"Oh, you can take pictures with a phone now," they told me.

Turns out they were shills for one of the tech companies — Sony or Samsung or something. Whatever, their job was to introduce the public to the idea that phones could double as cameras and how cool that was.

I proceeded to write a column: "Yeah, just what we need, camera phones. Why not a bra that's also a toaster? Shoes that dispense glue? How about a hat that can drive?"

So maybe you can't totally trust me when I say that I've been reading up on trends and that I think these things are on their way. But here goes.

—Running in the dark. Not "running at night," when at least there's a moon. Running on a track in pitch-blackness. I don't even get how people survive this, much less why they'd want to do it. But the company Asics has launched "Blackout Track," which ostensibly helps people concentrate — wait, no, sorry. The word is no longer concentrate; it's "be more mindful." I'd be pretty mindful, too, if I worried that my next step could slam me smack into the idiot in front of me, who's so stupid he's jogging in the dark.

—Male makeup. Men in China are supposedly getting into cosmetics. Sales of guy goop are going up by double digits, according to Jing Daily, a report on luxury goods in China. It quotes one 22-year-old saying he would never tell his dad he's wearing makeup, but he dabs on concealer and some "brightening products" every day. China owes the popularity of this trend in part to celebrity males willing to be the face of the new face, including the singer/actor Luhan, who is considered the Chinese Justin Bieber. The slang for attractive young men with cosmetically flawless skin is "little fresh meat." You'd think that alone might stop this trend, but so far, no.

—Mayonnaise ice cream. Not sure whether this is a real trend or just something so gross everyone is talking about it. Either way, mushy, smushy Hellmann's ice cream is the creation of Ice, which has a somewhat unfortunate name but is actually an artisanal ice cream shop. (And is there anything that hasn't been artisanalized yet? Is there an artisanal eyeglass shop selling prescriptions that are a little wavy and air-bubbled but oh-so chic?) Anyway, Ice's owner said the mayo-cream is a "full-on hit of fat and cream, followed with an eggy, milky aftertaste." Hard to resist with a description like that, right? But here we are, talking about it, so hats off to Ice.

—Pokemon meets Hilfiger. Tommy Hilfiger's new Xplore clothes come with chips embedded in them. Somehow, between the chips and an app on your phone, you can rack up points just by wearing your Xplore clothes to certain places Tommy is presumably partnering with. It's like "Pokemon Go," and you're the Pokemon. (Or the app. Or the sap.) While you get rewards, Tommy gets the reward of "figgering" out where you are and how often you wear his clothes.

—Edible coffee cups. We're talking cup-shaped wafers that can withstand heat and liquid but still taste good when you're done sipping. They're called Cupffees. This idea is so obvious I am kicking myself. (Or maybe it's the guy jogging next to me in the dark.)

Sources: JWT Intelligence, Ypulse, Boss Magazine, Adweek, Jing Daily and Dezeen.