10. Immersion of graphic design aesthetics into social media

Social media and digital communication were in full force in 2018. As different platforms became more dominant and others faded away, Instagram remained a constant throughout the year. While it is a site most all social media users have been familiar with for years now, trends within the app have come and gone. In 2018, a very specific curitoral push arose on the feeds of many Instagram users. Where the app was once a place to casually drop photos of just about anything, a newfound sense of protection over feed aesthetics arose in the Instagram community.

Graphic design aesthetics began to saturate the feeds of 2018 Instagram users. Embellishing pictures with doodles using a plethora of digital applications, filtering all photos to “match” or even completely editing pictures in Adobe Photoshop, all to uphold an aesthetic Instagram feed, became a full time job for many trend followers in 2018. The puzzling part about all this work for a group of small, tile-sized photos comes with the fact that pressure to have a picture perfect grid and distinct aesthetic is not necessarily to gain followers, but to set ourselves apart from others our followers. Why is it that a simple star doodle on a picture makes the comment section burst with “omg so cool” and “love this” more than just a plain photo would? And why are people texting me asking if I can edit their photos “cool” because they need to “work on their feed”? While the answer may vary for person to person, in 2018 our social media presence, on Instagram in particular is our brand, our image. So to be on trend, to draw on that extra star or color block that picture of you and your best friend blue to match the rest of your feed is worth it, not to gain a fan base, but to take part in a widespread trend pushing for individuality and more accessible aesthetic in a world where our Instagram profiles are our first impressions on others.

Margaret Sheridan, Style Beat Editor

9. Creative workouts

At the start of each year, innumerable people across the globe resolve to become fitter and work out more regularly but only some manage to achieve it. Often, the diminished desire to work out can be explained by the loss of interest in the activity. However, 2018 shook things up with the rise of more creative, out of the box workouts that showed the world that working out does not always need to equate to the same monotonous gym or running routines. Names such as SoulCycle and Orange Theory, which are revolutionised forms of indoor cycling and personalised group workouts respectively, became ubiquitous and ushered the rise in popularity of various fitness trends that keep people engaged. Fitness trends in the past year have included various forms of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts that are not only more fun but shorter too, along with classic workouts like yoga continuing to gain popularity. However, the fitness revolution in 2018 did not stop at creating new workout trends but rather grew to involve the use of fitness apps alongside healthy eating too. Apps such as Aaptiv and Sworkit were huge successes by providing personalised, comprehensive training without the compulsion of having to workout in the gym. Another vital aspect of the revolutionised fitness trend was the inclusion of mental health with fitness no longer being defined as simply physical. Hence, the past year was one of innovation and inclusion in many ways and its safe to say that the revolution will only continue to grow this new year.

Priydarshini Gouthi, Daily Arts Writer

8. Pantone’s color of 2018: Ultraviolet

At the forefront of design and style, Pantone’s announcement for Color of the Year holds a great weight in fashion, design and style. This one color predicts the entire outcome of the whole year. In 2018 the color was Ultraviolet, a prismatic, rich shade of purple. While Ultraviolet is not a color that comes to mind as necessarily high fashion or practical for design purposes, 2018 was the year that disproved this theory, opening the eyes of designer and customer alike to a new neutral.

A symbol of individualism, Ultraviolet was a color used by pop culture icons such as Prince and Jimi Hendrix to depict individualism and independence. It was then, and this past year in 2018, refreshed as a color symbolizing individuality, emotion and going against the grain. While questionable at first, when truly reviewing the events of 2018, Ultraviolet is a perfect match for representing a monumental year within and beyond the world of style and design. Amidst a year of heightened political climate, the beginnings of a more diverse government and a strong push for self betterment, among other changes, it is no wonder Ultraviolet has saturated itself into our homes, the runway, and design as a neutral color, one that has no intention of changing. A color designers were once unsure how to use, 2018 showed us the versatility and beauty of Ultraviolet, a now high fashion, design-worthy hue that isn’t going anywhere as it continues to blend into design, reflecting the individualism and change that has only just begun in 2018.

Margaret Sheridan, Style Beat Editor

7. “No makeup” makeup aesthetics

All of us have seen the hashtag #nomakeup trending on Instagram or have tried to perfect the “no makeup” makeup look ourselves over the past year. 2018 witnessed the surge in the beauty industry striving to encourage a more natural appearance and it came as no surprise that various cosmetic companies hopped on to the train. One of the first brands that made this revolution as glamorous as it is today was Glossier. Products like the Sheer Matte Lipstick or the Haloscope, which gives an inner glow, serves the larger purpose of feeding into the frenzy. This aesthetic was a long time coming with the beauty industry slowly evolving and encouraging its consumers to be content in their own skin in many ways. However, the trend hasn’t been simply limited to creating the ‘natural look’ – it  extends to the manner in which the industry markets it. Be it through the minimalist packaging design coupled with pastel colours that are more subdued in nature, or through campaigns that aim to be more relatable to the mass audience. The influence of the “no makeup aesthetic” amplified through the course of the year with various celebrities making appearances with no or minimal makeup alongside the countless YouTube videos and articles published on perfecting the same look. 2018 was marked by the idea of no makeup transforming from an aesthetic into a movement and finally into a phenomenon that had everyone following suit.

Priydarshini Gouthi, Daily Arts Writer

6. Oat milk

2018 witnessed the widespread popularization of oat milk. I know what you’re thinking – oat milk hardly compares to the other fads of 2018, but you’re wrong there.

Oat milk was invented by Rickard Öste, a food scientist and the founder of the Swedish company, Oatly, in 1994. The product was, understandably, not an instant hit as it does not necessarily sound like the most appetizing thing. However, by 2016, the product had gained immense popularity throughout Europe. It was around this time that Oatly started selling their product to small New York coffee shops. However, as economics has shown us countless times, as soon as the product grew in demand, it ran out. Though oat milk had some presence after the Oatly shortage, it was largely ignored in large supermarkets.

Here’s where the beauty of 2018 comes into place.

By 2018, Oatly’s oat milk was back in the United States, but this time cafes nation-wide such as Intelligentsia immediately bought up the product. Not only were coffee shops carrying a greater amount of it than before, they were also selling it to a crowd that would appreciate it more: the young, hipster, environmentally-conscious subgroup. These customers not only appreciated oat milk for its health benefits as an alternative for the lactose intolerant, they also acknowledged the environmental benefits. Oat milk’s popular competitor, almond milk, requires one gallon of water for one almond to grow, while oats require six times less water.

Furthermore, oat milk just tastes good. It has been called the best alternative to whole milk in coffee due to its creamy consistency.

So basically, 2018 gave us easy access to a substitute for the lactose-intolerant community that not only tastes good, but is also great for the environment. If that isn’t coffee culture genius then I don’t know what is.

Sophia Hughes, Daily Arts Writer

5. Infiltration of streetwear into high fashion

2018 was a year of throwbacks classic prints, plaids and textures. With these twists on old classics happening on the runway, a more modern trend solidified itself this year. Where there was once a stark line between casual athletic wear and dressy, 2018 was the year the line completely disappeared. In fashion shows and on runways everywhere, street style and athleisure aesthetics completely infiltrated high fashion.

Pairing Adidas track pants and a blazer? Yes. Chunky sneakers and formal pant suits? Absolutely. Fanny packs as… purses? Welcome to 2018, where brands like Gucci, Balenciaga, and Off-White have completely revolutionized what was once known as formal wear. Starting with this street style high fashion combo in just footwear, 2018 was the year that showed fashion connoisseurs and consumers alike that sweats can and should be worn in public or that your favorite oversized hoodie totally works with your favorite eccentric earrings. This casual, comfortable, trendy take on streetwear seamlessly and aesthetically saturated runways in 2018, a concept too fresh and too practical to leave behind in the new year.

Margaret Sheridan, Style Beat Editor

4.  Champion’s evolution as a brand

It is safe to say that the brand, Champion, came up in 2018. As athleisure filled runways and the early 2000s began making a comeback, Champion rose in popularity.

To provide a full analysis of Champion’s evolution as a brand, we must start from the very beginning. Champion’s simple, relaxed, clothing catered to the blank and oversized attire of the early 2000s and ‘90s. Known for its creation of the reverse weave, the hooded sweatshirt, and the sports bra in the mid-1990s, Champion was the epitome of activewear. The brand had become so prevalent that it was named the official outfitter of the NBA in 1980. It was not until 2000 that Champion was considered more than activewear, it became a keystone for the normcore aspect of early 2000s fashion.

Champion’s versatility can be seen in its comeback. It made its return by collaborating with well-known streetwear companies in 2017 such as Supreme and the French label, Vetements. Through each of these collaborations came distinct clothing, however, the Champion brand was undeviating. By 2018, Champion stood on its own as a fashion superpower. It no longer needed collabs to be attractive to customers; the classic blue, white and red logo was powerful enough for stars such a Kylie Jenner to sport.

Creators have subtly vocalized that this had been part of the company’s plan from the start. “I came in to Champion 12 years ago as an intern. My whole thing was to take it from an urban phenomenon to pop culture,” says Champion’s global brand ambassador, Manny Martinez in an interview with Esquire. Champion was never meant to be homogeneous in the purpose of their clothing, the audience or in its decade. Though point A and point B in Champion’s evolution could not be more different, its versatile yet simple aspect is consistent.  

Sophia Hughes, Daily Arts Writer

3. Vibrant makeup

The unveiling of Meghan Markle’s wedding day tab may have revealed just how much can go into looking like you aren’t wearing anything at all, but 2018 saw an explosion of beauty trends that served us the extravagant and the unexpected. YouTube MUAs and Instagram personalities are as prevalent as they have ever been and each artist’s path to carve out a creative niche for themselves has had the cumulative effect of ushering in increasingly vibrant, layered, multi-dimensional concepts that are encouraging the everyday beauty consumer to step out of their comfort zone and let cosmetics be a vehicle to realize personal fantasies. Unnaturally colored blush and eyebrow looks, forehead blush, luminous-vinyl textures (think face gloss and lacquered eye pigments), 3-D sticker appliqués and beyond have trickled into the routines of anyone possessing the gall to give these trends a try. It isn’t so much that any specific trend originated in 2018 or that anyone reinvented the wheel, but that makeup is on its way to becoming a creative space more concerned with creating new realities rather than heightening this one. Accounts like eve.frsr, branalunan and sydn4sty have amassed sizable followings by doing just this, and the cosmetics market has responded with aplomb — independent companies (like blush tribe and claropsyche) seemingly crop up every day with palettes, pigments and accessories to meet ever expanding needs, while larger companies like Anastasia Beverly Hills and Tom Ford are launching new products and widening their shade ranges to accommodate demands that reach further and bolder than their current offerings. It’s the Wild West right now, and there has never been a better time to pick up a kabuki brush and some pressed powder and see what happens.

— Sam Kremke, Daily Arts Writer

2. Exploded versions of classic prints

Bold yet complementary shade ranges, classic prints reimagined and expanded upon, and plush textures played very nicely together this year. Whether it be fashion, expressing opinions or fighting for the things you care about, 2018 was not for the faint of heart: If you have something to say, say it! Words aren’t meant for mincing and they might best be backed up by a hardy cotton velvet, mohair or a blown-up woven houndstooth jacket, considering they all talk their walk and they were seen in nearly every fall runway show this year. Spring’s spliced double-jackets, leather inserts and drawstring necklines folded over into wildly proportioned faux furs and modernized classics taken to proportional and textural extremes. From the likes of household names like Balenciaga and Loewe to cult favorites like Engineered Garments, Neighborhood and A Kind of Guise, it felt as though classic silhouettes and prints had died and ascended to a retrofuturist heaven featuring droves upon droves of fuzz. A few outerwear highlights from the year were Demna Gvasalia’s interpretation of the double jacket at Balenciaga this spring, N.Hoolywood’s half leather, half super 120’s wool trench from their JFK inspired runway, Kapital Kountry’s oversized denim blazer with hand stitched smiley face patches along the arm and Craig Green’s brilliant employment of color blocking. This year marked both the expansion and deconstruction of classic styles across the board, creating a luxurious launching pad for designers moving forward into the new year.

— Sam Kremke, Daily Arts Writer

1. Voting as an aesthetic

While a plethora of trends emerged on the runway in 2018, some of the most notable statements took the shape of a less wearable form. A year of political turmoil and tension, the push to vote became a major theme of this past year. With primary elections in Aug. and midterms in Nov., combined with an emphasis on change, voting became a sort of decorative accessory that was once so mundane and uninteresting.

Voting has and always will be fundamental and one of the most important parts of civil discourse, but 2018 spun voting in such a way that it became shiny and new, a hip, cool aesthetic that extended beyond runways or clothes. The act of voting itself inspired a whole new wave of trends: ‘I’m Voting’ stickers were sold online and in stores, becoming a main focal point of laptops everywhere. Celebrities even used their fame to endorse this act through special merchandise and limited edition tees. With these items driving the aesthetic of voting, one thing in 2018 became very clear: to take the time to vote is to be on trend, showing it becoming all the more fundamental to being a legitimate trendsetter. A certain alliance formed with this aesthetic, between voting graphic tee wearers and sticker holders alike. Whether or not everyone who reps a ‘I’m Voting’ sticker or shirt actually voted is a debate within itself, but the aesthetic that evolved from the 2018 election scene is only the beginning for the development of an entire brand emphasizing that both the act of voting and showing political awareness are, in fact, high fashion.

— Margaret Sheridan, Style Beat Editor


CORRECTION: This article referred to Aaptiv incorrectly as “Aaptive” in a previous edition.

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