The Wellness Vibe is Shifting
The Goop era is on its way out.
I’m reading Chuck Klosterman’s latest book The Nineties, and it's making me think about how future generations will define the Lululemon-clad wellness mania of the last decade. How will they view a time when we wore athleisure everywhere, discussed plant-based diets ad nauseam, and put our faith in CBD tinctures?
How will history treat Gwyneth’s carnival of pseudoscience?
As I document in my upcoming book The Gospel of Wellness, there are myriad reasons why wellness took off, specifically with U.S. women. In many ways, wellness became (and was treated much like) fashion. New York Fashion Week hasn’t been relevant in years! Media outlets devote more ink to celebrities’ meticulous self-care routines than whatever Michael Kors puts on the runway.
Take the Sex and the City reboot. Honestly, I felt like the Peloton (hilariously used as an execution tool) was the most culturally relevant item in that series—a series that was once heavily defined by fashion. As many of my friends noted, no one dresses like that anymore. New Yorkers rarely ever wear heels, let alone stilettos. And Just Like That’s Carrie Bradshaw was crystallized in a former “vibe,” a term that went viral following a New York magazine piece on how trends define cultural moments.
So yes, wellness is pervasive. It’s now mainstream culture. And yet, to quote New York mag, the vibe is already shifting. Wellness, like any industry, isn’t immune to the cruel fickleness of trends, even on a micro-level. Bone broth (2014) gave way to coconut water (2015) then to green juice (2016) before skipping to kombucha (2017) and “functional elixirs” (2019). And so on.
In the last two years, wellness experienced a seismic shift. There was a time when a new product trend sprouted every month. Now they feel few and far apart. Did we just run out of ideas? Or maybe decimate the media to the point where they stopped covering the sector as extensively?
Partially, but it’s more than that.
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