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Nostalgia

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As anxieties around COVID-19 have segued into a deeper and more consistent malaise, a longing for simpler times has caused people to reshape everyday behaviour’s around comforting goods and long-established beauty rituals. The “new normal” has transformed the beauty industry, particularly the production and consumption patterns. Holistic care, mindful products, ethical production cycles and good value products are the key aspects for brands to flourish post-pandemic. 

A Sense of Normalcy

Being locked within four walls at homes, the pandemic has given us the time to be more mindful and pay attention to ourselves and our body as a whole which we may have overlooked in the past. Rather than investing in a magical foundation for flawless skin, the consumers are now more inclined towards a product that makes them feel better. Shoppers are seeking products made out of natural vegan and safer ingredients that mainly emphasize efficiency and functionality with a deeper meaning attached to them. 

To meet these expectations, beauty brands are trying to penetrate consumers’ minds and respond to their needs by introducing a product that fulfils the same. These brands are evolving and focusing more on self-care routines to provide a sense of normalcy. 

Back to Roots

Consumers want to turn back the clock and teleport into older and simpler times. They want to embark on a journey to explore new products and brands which reflect nostalgia, hence, leading to an urge to reconnect with their roots which helps ease anxieties. For decades, the beauty industry has been focusing on the look, rather than the “feel-good factor”.

The new-age consumer seeks transparency and is willing to make an effort for meaningful buying decisions. They want to relive and see through their personality via their product choices. This evolving landscape has given a boost to newer brands whose DNA respects the old age rituals and practices which are rooted in nature – the constant adapting and healing source.

Whether it’s about engaging brand narrative or adding a charming aspect to cosmetics via nostalgic packaging, many brands have been focusing on native practices as part of a holistic approach to wellness to establish trust with a consumer base. Thus, the question arises – How is this sense of nostalgia impacting beauty and wellness habits in the current scenario? 

The Impact of Nostalgia Marketing

Tapping into the nostalgic fond memories of millennials to stir a sensorial experience that teleports into a different time and space is the new tool found by the brands called Nostalgia MarketingWith the ongoing hectic lives, reliving a “blast from the past” positive memory that makes us smile is most likely to move our emotions.

Following this trend, beauty brands are taking leverage by reigniting their products and campaign strategies. The brands are identifying those special moments from the pasts which millennials crave. They are incorporating them in the form of impactful storytelling, a visually appealing packaging design with a familiar motif, icon or colour palette, by offering special services like customization and personalization or establishing an emotional hook by producing creative marketing strategies for brand promotions on varied online/ offline platforms. 

Nurture with Nature

The chemistry of ancient rituals along with nostalgic narrative has given birth to a new age oomph beauty segment. The nostalgia centric goods can innate optimism and produce meaningful content for maximising social media visibility through different mediums.

This trend has also led to the birth of many brands on a global scale. One of such newly launched brands is Fable & Mane which focuses on centuries-old ayurvedic rituals for a healthy scalp or hair. Founded by the sibling duo, Nikita and Akash Mehta, the brand is rooted in introducing authentic Indian hair care rituals and practices.

It pays homage to their grandmother’s traditional hair oiling routine with a blend of handcrafted plant oils and formulas for long, lustrous hair. With reminiscent packaging which is a reminder of ancient Indian beauty secrets along with powerful branding, it is a perfect example of a nostalgic brand, catering to the idea of “east meets west” at the same time.

Moreover, the COVID-19 has acted as a catalyst for hope for the beauty industry. The shift in consumer preferences and values has altered the otherwise regular expression: a sense of well-being and the vitality to nurture the nature around us is turning out to be as a key priority. And the nostalgia factor has acted as a feather in the cap by introducing a renaissance period for the beauty industry.

It’s time for ‘beauty’ to evolve, being in sync with the past & present, mutually. 

I had an interesting conversation with Chavie Lieber for the Business of fashion about my predictions for playful pieces after last year.

“We want to buy bright, child-like pieces that make us feel hopeful during very dark moments. People are desperate to inject a sense of fun and playfulness into their wardrobe after a year of lockdowns and sweatpants.” 

Take a read in full here.

Ahh The Good Old Days;

It’s the reason why we all collectively paused our daily activities to watch the new Lion King trailer last week, the reason why we’re waiting in anticipation for Ariana Grande’s Mean Girls inspired video and why songs from your childhood will always be better than the ‘trash they play today’. These days, with the political and social landscape being as it is, it can seem that there are more things that divides us than brings us together but one thing that we all share despite our style, age, gender or ethnicity is nostalgia. Nostalgia is a sentimental longing for the past that continues to make everything, including fashion, circular.

Fashion Loves A Revival

When speaking about fashion’s obsession with the past, Jessica Regan, assistant curator for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute stated that “We can sit far back in the history of fashion — back to the early 19th century, which was a period of rapid industry and change — and see nostalgia for a preindustrial past, based on romantic notions of chivalry.” Whilst fashion’s love for nostalgia is surely nothing new it has been ever more present in the last two years.

Last year, the original supermodels assembled for Versace’s Spring Summer 2018 show in tribute to the late Gianni Versace. Gucci’s Cruise 2018 show paid homage to 80s designer and bootlegger Dapper Dan and beloved 90s brand Juicy Couture remerged this year during New York Fashion Week’s Fall 2018 season. The digital age in which we live has given us unparalleled access to images from years gone by which easily allows designers to draw inspiration form the past with one simple click. But this ease of reference is not the main reason why the glasses we look through to the past with are oh so rosy.

Fashion Psychology Nostalgia

The Psychology of Nostalgia

Early research previously identified nostalgia as a negative experience due to its association with negative psychological states. For example, in a study where researchers (Wildschut et al., 2006) induced high levels of loneliness in some participants and low levels of loneliness in others, the participants in the high loneliness condition were found to be more nostalgic. But we now know that the reason why these participants engaged in more nostalgic thinking is due to the psychological benefits of nostalgia. Nostalgia protects and fosters good mental health. After engaging in nostalgia inducing activities research has shown that people experience higher self-esteem, are more optimistic, feel less lonely and more socially connected, are more creative and can even feel… cosier.

Word association studies show that people often associate nostalgia with the word ‘warm’ but you may be surprised to know that nostalgia has similar physiological benefits. Researchers at the University of Southampton found that people placed in cold rooms rated highest on nostalgia scales and thinking nostalgic thoughts in cold rooms made people think the room was warmer than it actually is. Proof that the good old days can help towards your heating bill this winter!

Jewellery and Nostalgia

More than just memories, nostalgia can refer to a variety of objects. Within the context of fashion, one of the most nostalgia inducing items can be jewellery. Whether it’s a costume necklace that you’ve had forever or a treasured item that has been passed down for generations, jewellery can be incredibly sentimental. The sentimentality and preciousness of such items are also heightened when they have a connection with someone we’ve lost.

When going through the stages of grief it’s not uncommon to experience a sense of meaningless that alters your sense of belonging. This is backed up by a 2010 study by Juhl and colleagues which found that the existential threat of death awareness triggers nostalgia. This is why companies such as Heart-In-Diamond which produces memorial diamonds that allows you to take a lasting reminder of your loved one with you everywhere you go are growing in popularity.  

“There is something touching about using jewellery to memorialize those whom you love. I always feel them beside me even if they are far away.”