The return of the Y2K years, when everything was not so digitized, the depressive feelings triggered by the time we spend with the screen, and the tiredness caused by the bright lights push us to cling to analog systems once again. 2022 will be a year when we will see the clash of these two extreme cultures.
Life has been flowing fast, probably since modern times when we made the transition to the industrial revolution. Maybe you needed to escape from the city or move to a remote corner like the Fogo Islands for it to flow slowly. Before, we had no idea who was doing what, how they were having fun, how much they were traveling. This is the only big difference with the past. Then came Instagram. The first rule was to attend parties where you had so much fun that you couldn’t post photos on Instagram. Codename: Keep it private. (Of course, you couldn’t add photos later to this application at that time. You could only share the frames you took at that moment.) Today, it has already been discovered on social media to stay in the moment that many envy. Then things changed. Being on Instagram meant you were approved. It was at this time that FOMO (fear of missing something) emerged. Along with the pandemic, new ones have been added to the fear of missing out on what’s going on in real life, not being able to go to meetings enough, and not spending time outside. While we initially thought we were adopting JOMO (this time when we are happy to miss something) instead of the innocent FOMO, we realized that we live in the bottomless pit of the internet. According to internet jargon, this coincides with the first season of the pandemic. Those were the days when we collectively met Zoom, watched Normal People, Tiger King, and Unorthodox in one sitting, danced in front of the screen and savagely bought sweatpants.
The Calvin Klein campaign shot in analogue.
Time passed quickly, as if we were born into digital, just like the Alpha generation. We quickly adapted like chameleon. How many more shows could we fit in a day? Do you remember the days when we couldn’t be outside after 9 pm and instantly “live” boxes were lined up on the Instagram feed. Dark times, right? What if you’ve been ignoring all of them and stepping aside and just enjoying yourself… At this time, according to WGSN, we entered an irreversible road. The time we spent with the screen had reached 80 percent. Literally half the day was spent zapping between apps. Like trendsetters who see the future, 41 percent of the respondents started to think, “Is this really affecting us mentally?” This is how the first seeds of a feeling of returning to analog paths began to be sown. But the transition wasn’t that fast, technology was determined to lure us into a bottomless pit we didn’t understand a little more.
The tides between coins, NFT and the effort to understand what the Metaverse is, to be a part of it or not to be a part of it, are starting to tire us out digitally. You are not alone, especially if you have recently moved away from the digital world and focused on real-life areas. Again, the words of Levent Erden, with whom I spoke to ELLE before, echo in my ears. He said, “We cannot continue our lives with a single subject that we have been educated on.” “A second university is a must in order to catch up with life after the thirties or early forties,” Erden stated. It’s not unfair. That’s why, this time, we tried to understand other alternative realities.
DIGITAL MINIMALISM: ARE WE IN THE CURRENT?
If we are in technology, we are definitely not in the moment. Maybe in the future, maybe in the Matrix or in a different dimension. According to WGSN, one of the 2022 trends is digital minimalism. It is important not only what technologies we include in our lives, but also how and why we use them. Not only digital fatigue, but also the seductive energy of nostalgia is effective in the rise of analogue cultures this time. It is obvious that the two cultures that will be on the rise in 2022 will be at war with each other. One side is forcing us to be too digital. From Ralph Lauren to Vans, from Balenciaga to SXSW, he works to create user experience in the metaverse by collaborating with companies like Roblox, including culture and arts festivals.
According to a study by Deloitte, digital fatigue has occurred in one third of consumers, especially since 2020, when Covid-19 became a part of our lives, due to technology. The digital tools we own more than one, and the newsletters that we subscribe to in order not to be left behind, are also the cause of this fatigue. There is somehow an irresistible urge to subscribe to news or commentary sources. The feeling that you will be left behind as soon as you are not, but when your mailbox is full of these mails, you are in a battle to catch up with them. In Deloitte’s research, 32 percent of digital content consumers complain of fatigue. Those who feel the most tired are those who try to catch up with the world on 11 different channels. iPhone users know well. Every Monday morning, your phone presents you with proof of how much time you spent with the screen the previous week. If you feel a little depressed when you see how many hours a day you look at that bright screen, you are not alone! In recent years, we often see Gigi Hadid, Frank Ocean and even Timothée Chalamet with analog machines at the parties they attend. But the real wonders are the designers and brands. Gül Ağış, Simone Rocha, and even Calvin Klein are caught in the magic of 35 mm films in their campaign photos.
In fact, we rely too much on technology and its benefits, which we consider to be its blessings. I think we should take a look at what Gen Z has done more than ever. They get out of digital tiredness and continue on their way with analog methods or let’s say, the old-school tactics of the X generation.
One of the benefits of this trend is the emergence of a lot of new brands, especially in the category we can call Life, instead of digital products that we can never really hold and own. You may have noticed that there are many brands that design rugs or artisanal decoration objects. Fanzines produced instead of digital newsletters are another way. One of the reasons for this is that many brands, from Marc Jacobs to Valentino and Burberry, do not only produce content for digital but also make small fanzines in print.
Photos of Gül Ağış Spring/Summer 2021
According to trend analyst Lore Oxford, if marketers spend their budgets solely on the Meta-dominated digital universe in 2022, the outcome may not be disastrous, but it would be wrong. However, investors should not prioritize only digital, especially in 2022. With the pandemic, almost every platform from YouTube to TikTok has grown like crazy, their market shares have expanded. However, just at this time, brands such as Nike, Levi’s and Uniqlo also created offline opportunities in stores to be able to communicate with their customers one-on-one. The opening of pop-up stores by various brands, from Dior to Burberry, in big capitals, from Bodrum to Dubai, from Seoul to London, stems from the desire to create an analogous interaction. The aim here is not to be trapped behind the screens at home. Pinch to wake you from your dream of living in the Metaverse.
THE CHALLENGE OF FASHION WITH ANALOGUE
Gül Ağış named her Spring/Summer 21 collection “Analog Diaries”. And when I spoke to him at that time, he summarized his collection and display method as follows: “With the importance of digitalization during the pandemic period, we questioned what we received from the world. I didn’t want to be on a digital platform because of the longing for organic life. On the contrary, I started to question subjects such as slowing down, simplicity, patience and happiness as a mood, more than ever.” Can Dağarslanı shot the collection using only an analog camera. “In contrast to the speed in digital shooting, I had the excitement of not knowing how the frames were taken for a week,” said Ağış.
Analogue shot of Zoe Gerthner for the Chloe campaign
In the second half of the 2010s, when the Instagram generation dominated the culture, a group of new photographers wanted to put a stop to the trend. To put it like that, it sounds like a bunch of 60s hippies going against convention, but in a way it is. New faces of fashion photography such as Harley Weir, Jamie Hawkewsworth, Zoe Gerthner had abandoned digital cameras and turned to analog. If I’m not mistaken, it was the best content describing a period of the 2010s. Buying analog cameras from the Lomography Store, which is open in Galata, and sharing the resulting frames on Instagram.
No rising trend is achieved by the efforts of a single discipline. It needs to interact with other creative industries to impress large audiences. According to Business of Fashion, the reason for this approach especially in fashion is Gucci’s collections prepared with retro touches or Vetements’ eclectic structure. After all, nobody wants to shoot a collection inspired by the subculture of the 1970s with a digital camera with sharp tones and lines. According to Ken Miller, creative director and curator, “Young photographers in particular turn to analog photography when they want to make their work special and personal.”
A throwback to ’90s minimalism after Y2K. Balenciaga introduced its Pre-Fall 2022 collection accompanied by polaroids. Jamie Hawkesworth also chose to use film for the Loro Piana campaign.
Balenciaga’s Pre-Fall 2022 collection also contains a bit of longing for these feelings, referring to them. Demna wanted to relive the ‘cool’ days when we were offline in the second half of the 90s. In the absence of the Internet, random encounters… To capture this retro spirit, director Harmony Korine introduced her collection with the aesthetics of movies recorded on videotapes with Polaroids. In a sense, Demna uses the ideal marketing methods of 2022. It also draws you into the meta, and wants you to taste the irresistible charm of nostalgia.
It is necessary to spend time in the dark room in order to print the taken analog photos in a three-dimensional way. This process, the experience and pleasant process you will get here, sums up the whole process of the analog soul in the best way. While digital or iPhone photography is like fast fashion brands in a way, haute couture continues the analog spirit of this industry. Long processes, often custom clothing or creations created by hand rather than machine-cut fabric.
Julia Holcomb’s series titled The Impossible Project.
Couture is not the only example in this regard. Another tradition that was born in Japan after the DIY culture is slowly taking over the world fashion these days. Boro is a traditional patchwork method used by farmers. A method created by the wives of farmers 100 years ago. They sewed clothes using hemp instead of cotton, as the cold in northern Japan was not conducive enough to produce cotton. They produced durable clothes by stitching fabrics on top of each other. This method, which requires handicraft, is still used by many brands today. Mitsugu Sasaki, designer of Sasaki, one of the popular streetwear brands, said, “I like sewing by hand more, because what is produced with a sewing machine can be reproduced. However, the art and craft you make with your hands is unique. The process is difficult, but the important thing is the time you dedicate yourself.” Handwork gives a different spirit to the products. The feeling passes more easily to the owner of the product.
Likewise, being able to dye fabrics in a natural way under the title of sustainability, natural dyes produced from the leaves of plants, the pulp of fruits and the powder of flowers are also a part of analogue fashion.
Analog may be more popular today because of the feeling of nostalgia, but it means more ritual. Maybe I’ll romanticize it a bit but it’s more like enjoyment. The music we listen to on Spotify and the sounds that fill our ears from records do not have the same energy as looking at an illuminated screen on a Kindle and scrolling through the pages of a book. Even the pleasure we derive from the Game Boys we own doesn’t give the same taste as consoles, games with endless possibilities.
Article: Aykun Tasdoner
Photos: MICHAEL SANDERS, GETTY IMAGES TURKEY, IMAXTREE.COM
Taken from ELLE Turkey February 2022 issue.