Topics to Watch: October 2016

Of late, Topics to Watch has celebrated simpler times in the shape of the ancient (labdunum), the nostalgic (synthwave), the comfortable (chicken and waffles) and the slow-moving (Yin Yoga). This month we see nods to all, as people continue their quest for simplicity, not only reinventing old art forms but honing in on the patient act of creating. So as we look for the next big thing in creative and product development, it’s time to pause, reflect and embrace the slow.

Arboriculture
American Society for Horticultural Science, The Care of Trees, Certified Arborist, Atlanta, Georgia, Urban Forestry

Last month, we highlighted Urban Horticulture, which is the study of plants in the urban environment. Arboriculture, on the other hand, is the study of trees, urban or otherwise. Sometimes called tree surgeons, arborists work to maintain healthy populations of trees, which provide sustained benefits to people around the world. The continued interest in climate change and environmentalism, although not new, supports growing interest in both fields. Today the arboriculture movement is as much about supporting trees as it is about bringing people into the field—with countless certification programs being promoted both nationally and internationally.

Choker
Necklaces, Clothes, Earrings, Beads, Skirts, Dresses, Gemstones, Pearls, Corsets, Jewelry

When it comes to quintessential 90s fashion, along with grunge, plaid everything, bodysuits and Birkenstocks, there is the choker necklace. Whether lace, ribbon, velvet or jeweled, the look was glam and punk and everywhere. Today this is a ubiquitous fashion trend. Countless editorial pieces highlight not only who’s wearing one but provide instructions for the novice.

Draught beer
Restaurants, cigars, Geneva, Switzerland, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, whiskey, beer tap, stone brewing, pint glass, beer bottle, cask ale

Once again, what’s old is new. Draught (or draft) beer refers to beer that has been stored in either casks or kegs rather than a can or a bottle. Historically, a hand pump was used to dispense the beer from large casks. Now, craft beer has become more about “Farm to keg” or “Farm to barrel,” with breweries sourcing local and more people drinking local. A number of states like New York and Virginia have allowed breweries to source, produce and serve beer on farmland, making craft breweries more and more similar to wineries. Draught beer can now be enjoyed by region.

Embroidery
Screen-printing, vinyl records, clothes, textiles, arts and crafts, crocheting, crafts, handbags, dresses, birds

As global as it is ancient, embroidery is the decoration of fabric with thread or yarn. Top fashion designers have been showcasing embroidery in runways over the last couple years. But today’s resurgence really comes from its reinvention. Previously a dainty and painstakingly slow craft associated with grannies in rocking chairs, embroidery designs are now pop, feminist or laden with political statements. The message comes from the contrast: embroidery’s historical delicateness—and the time it requires to create—makes it the perfect canvas to express designs and ideas that are bold and progressive.

Pit barbecue
BBQ, mashed potatoes, enchiladas, restaurants, potatoes, Toronto, Portland, Baltimore, Carolina style, seafood boil

Pit barbecue is a barbecuing method that cooks buried meat and root vegetables, like potatoes, below the earth. Its rising popularity is a nod to the slow food movement and a return to long established traditional cooking. For a food that’s as comforting as chicken and waffles, barbecue has always invited debate. Regions across the US even compete with one another as much as areas within the same state (like the Carolinas). But it’s a debate born of deep passion and pride in cooking and technique. Taking at least 12 hours, pit barbecuing is the ultimate commitment to preparation and an appreciation of the good that comes for those who wait.

Reiki
Massages, chakras, essential oils, animals, angels, barcelona, Mikao Usui, Reiki share, Acupunture

Reiki is a healing technique based on the principle that a therapist can channel energy into her patient by placing her hands in different positions on the body. Founded by Mikao Usui (1865–1926), the practice is now growing among celebrities and celebrity doctors. The treatment is slow-paced; each position is held for 3–10 minutes. A Vanity Fair article officially welcomed Reiki to the mainstream, highlighting it as part of a New Age resurgence. We agree, especially as we see more and more people connecting to slow-paced practices to take a breather.

look for the next big thing in creative and product development