As with the natural ebb and flow of cultural trends, it seems that the age of the ‘that-girl’ wellness trend has come to an end – paving the way for newer movements such as the ‘feral club rat’ and ‘goblin mode’ to redefine the zeitgeist.
From athleisure to green juice detoxes and restrictive meal planning, the pandemic triggered an influx of self-improvement mania that started with good intentions, but soon soured into a performative obsession. However, as scenes of the war in Ukraine, on-going climate change and the cost of living crisis became the top news stories, people awakened to issues much bigger than themselves. This caused people to strive for more than just pursuing a seemingly endless journey of self-optimisation and giving birth to the ‘that-girl’ antithesis – the ‘feral club rat’ and ‘goblin mode’ which embraces the messiness of life.
People have also gained consciousness of the underlying consumerist agenda behind the wellness trend which profited off people’s insecurities. For 2022, the majority of Gen Z are now more likely to say that ‘personal development’ or ‘having fun’ are their top priority lifestyle changes for the year ahead.
The new dawn of the post wellness revolution sees people seek a balance with a gentler form of self-development taking over the reins. This manifests in the likes of TikTok and YouTube star Emily Mariko, who embodies this shift in culture most accurately with her unrestrictive yet healthy food content on social media. Meanwhile, vegan/vegetarian meat alternatives company Beyond Meat, are riding the wave by partnering with fast food chains such as the likes of KFC, Subway, TGI Fridays and McDonalds.
With the hashtag #feralgirlsummer garnering more than 300,000 views on TikTok, it seems that this movement is here to stay. But how can other brands, also resonate in this space authentically? This new era calls for brands to send messages of empowerment, balance and support, which prove more meaningful than pushing glorified aspirational ideals and exploiting people’s feelings of not being enough. Relevant brands will also do well to help consumers become unapologetic in their self-indulgence to keep up with more progressive mindsets. Ultimately, those who speak the post-wellness language are asking for more humanity, authenticity, and relatability in the brands they love.