A year older (and hopefully wiser), we’ve once again summoned our crystal ball for a look forward to all the good, bad and ugly trends that will define men’s lives in 2018.
We’ve got good news for dad pants, marijuana enthusiasts and people who hate Facebook.
And also some bad: for music festival organizers, famous men with hands and people who like Facebook.
But before you take any to Vegas, just remember: all predictions wrong or your money back.
1. We will consume more media made by women
In 1985, cartoonist Alison Bechdel posited a simple test for adjudging the prominence of female characters in film. She (intentionally) set the bar as low as possible: the only parameter being that two named female characters must have a conversation about a topic other than a man. In the three decades since, the trend has improved only slightly: according to FiveThirtyEight, 18 of the top 50 films of 2017 failed. Given that the Hollywood elite is largely populated by men who think it is OK to harass and assault women, this is hardly surprising. But the fallout from that saga has precipitated a watershed moment: redemption will live and die by the industry’s embrace of femininity, both in front of the camera and behind it.
2. Television reboots will suck the fun out of television
Over the last two years, a handful of iconic primetime television shows — from the cloying (Fuller House) to the clairvoyant (Twin Peaks) — have been rebooted to varying success. And the trend shows no signs of slowing. Currently in the works? Will and Grace, Mad About You, Roseanne, Charmed, Miami Vice and The Office, among others. Television has caught up to film in terms of both commercial and critical success in recent years thanks in large part to creative risk-taking and an influx of new voices and ideas, which in turn owes to the emergence of streaming services as a foil to the conventionality of network TV. Adopting Hollywood’s “safer” model — which prizes remakes and sequels, vehicles that have already proven their success — may translate to more ad dollars, but it will not translate to great content.
3. You will happily welcome back “relaxed fit” clothing
In an age where “being ordinary” was the year’s biggest fashion statement — signified by trends like “ugly” dad sneakers and Balengencia’s $2,145 copycat Ikea tote bag — expect the irony to fade, but the fit to remain. Relaxed forms of dressing will pick up even more momentum with laid-back fits crossing casual boundaries into formal territories.
4. You will protect yourself from the Big Brother that you created
The vision of the future that George Orwell forecasted in 1984 nearly 70 years ago is — tragically and eerily — an accurate one. One major thing he got wrong? An oppressive government didn’t need to implant surveillance devices in our homes; we voluntarily put them there. But with the massive Equifax data breach still fresh in our minds (and completely unresolved by congress), we will increasingly protect ourselves from our devices in 2018. Look no further than Akita, a new “digital watchdog” that monitors activity on all your connected devices.
Image by Ian Keefe
5. You will seek out vacation destinations that don’t have wifi
According to a recent American Express survey, 22% of Americans said that disconnecting from technology is their biggest travel goal for 2018. The “digital detox” is in vogue for a reason: vacations are, by definition, an escape from workaday anxieties. The only way to achieve that in the age of the smartphone is to cut yourself off from it completely.
Inside the Articles of Style x Tanteo Tequila showroom in Manhattan
6. Collaborations will go brick-and-mortar
Collaborations have become the bread and butter of retail marketing in recent years: What better way to expose your product to a new audience than to find a likeminded brand, create something together, and then distribute that thing to both of your networks? In 2018, expect that trend to incarnate in the physical, as shared retail spaces — which allow small labels and designers to collectively shoulder the costs of going brick and mortar — increasingly pop up in big cities.
7. You will heed the the call of root-to-stem cooking
It’s a buzzword you’ll hear often, but before you roll your eyes, know that root-to-stem cooking — similar to “nose-to-tail,” but with vegetables instead of whole animals — will be big for two reasons: the next evolution of plant-forward dining and call to diminish food waste. All of which is to say: eat more vegetables.
8. Soccer will continue to gain ground in America, World Cup be damned
When the U.S. failed to qualify for the World Cup last year, many predicted it as a death knell for the sport’s emergence as a real threat to the traditional giants of the American sporting landscape. But with Fox Sports invested in the next two World Cups to the tune of $425 million and NBC now five seasons into its $1 billion+ investment in England’s Premier League, don’t expect the train to lose too much momentum. (That the U.S. has finally produced a world-class talent starring on one of Europe’s most successful clubs certainly helps.)
9. Elon Musk will get to work
It’s a make or break year for Elon Musk. In recent years, he’s promised us affordable solar energy, airplane-speed trains and humans on Mars. In 2018, it’s time for the polymathic billionaire to prove that he is more than a concept artist, and show material proof of the better future he envisions.
10. Dining out will go very regional
“There’s more to X than you think.” Substitute just about any type of ethnic cuisine and you’ve got 2017 in a dining nutshell. Restaurants showcased regional nuance on their menus in a big way last year, and we’ll see that continue in 2018. In particular, get ready to explore new tastes and smells from the Middle East, with foods from Lebanon, Iran and Morocco taking center stage in big dining cities across the country.
11. The all-in-one high rise will rise
In 1971, J.G. Ballard published High-Rise, a dystopian novel in which a stratified society exists in its totality within a single apartment building, complete with office space, social events, a grocery store and more. In 2017, you can live in one of those — right down to segregated facilities according to your monthly rental fee.
Image: Panorama 2017 by Mike Falco/ InsideHook
12. Music festivals will finally jump the shark
In 2016, the New York Times reported that they would no longer cover events like Bonnaroo and Coachella because of the “unrelenting sameness to this whole festival thing.” Two years later, things have only gotten worse: the most hyped festival of 2017 was an unrepentant disaster, and the headliners at Coachella — once the champion of indie darlings — look like they were curated by the Nielsen ratings. With more festivals than ever vying for public attention, there is a bubble fast approaching. And this will be the year it pops.
13. Generation Z will invade the political spectrum
We already know that millennials are to blame for everything. But now their successors — some call them “Generation Z” — are stepping into adulthood. And they are woke AF. Politically charged, brand-wary and eager to have their voices heard (see: the ones currently suing congress over climate change), expect very young people to make waves by demanding social, economic and environmental justice in 2018.
14. Investing in weed will make people very rich
Yesterday, the most populous state in the Union began selling recreational marijuana — legally. With stocks soaring and multinational corporations beginning to form, the industry is poised for a serious boom. Buy now, before prices get too ... high.
15. Brands will stand for something (beyond their product)
When Donald Trump announced that his administration would be shrinking the square footage of two National Monuments by some 85% last month, outdoor gear brand Patagonia took swift action, converting their website into a PSA encouraging people to take action. Now more than ever, consumers care about the ethics of the brands they choose to endorse. In turn, expect to see more brands partnering with nonprofit and socially responsible initiatives to paint themselves in a favorable light.
16. Male birth control will inch toward reality
“Reverse inhibition of sperm under guidance” — aka male birth control — has been in clinical trials for more than five years, with patents approved in a handful of countries, including the U.S. The product closest to availability is Vasalgel, a penile injection that has gained little support from pharmaceutical companies for obvious reasons. But with a gel version now under trial, that could soon change.
17. More and more people you know will delete their Facebook accounts
The role of social media in the 2016 election made many Americans, perhaps for the first time, begin to think critically about the way they use social media. When algorithms decide what type of media we see and don’t see, we begin to alienate ourselves from people and opinions we otherwise might have considered. In essence, a tool that once promised to connect people has instead become a mechanism for dividing them. Throw in its insistence on occupying every minute of our daily existence, and it’s easy to think of Facebook as a kind of dangerous digital drug with a serious addiction problem. Once people begin to regard it as such, quitting will increasingly become an attractive option.
18. You will be forced to reckon with the folly of your idols
The biggest news story of 2017 was, despite all his efforts, not about Donald Trump. (Directly, at least.) It was about famous men — many beloved, most prodigiously talented — being outed as perpetrators of sexual violence and intimidation against women. In all likelihood, this trend will continue in 2018. But while the entertainment industry has roundly shunned these men so far, what are we to make of their existing work? Are Usual Suspects and Louie now verboten viewing? Or can we separate the artwork from the artists and continue to enjoy them? While art does not inherently have a moral purpose, it often — as is certainly the case with Louie C.K. — reflects the attitudes and ethos of its maker. As viewers (and especially male viewers), we must evaluate the content we consume, and decide on a case-by-case basis if that consumption is a tacit endorsement of the person who created it.
Main image via TED Talks. Additional reporting by Michael Nolledo.