You might remember last years stars-on-everything appliqué trend ←shameless repurpose plug!…well, this seasons intuitive eye is most definitely a sign of these turbulent times.
Trend spotting is an endless pursuit of mine, and I see it (pun intended) as far more than a fly-by-night hair-colour or fashion accessory—but as an archaeological dig into our modern zeitgeist.
I believe the watchful EYE has made its way into our current pop culture foray as a reflection of our need—more than ever—to feel protected.
However, there is a fuller back story here with lots to unpack, so lets get right into it shall we?
THE WATCHFUL DIGITAL EYE…
While technology giveth—it also taketh, and the world wide web has become the double edged sword for nefarious forces and illegal activity. It is no secret that we are being tracked and in many ways even controlled by our online usage—leading to a pervasive over-the-shoulder paranoia.
We don’t have to look far in politics or pop culture to see this being played out in our day-to-day reality. From evidence that Russia colluded in Trumps campaign, to click-bait #fakenews that influenced the American vote, to the recent disclosure that Facebook et al has been mining our data without our consent.
Just last week Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg began testimony to the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Our entertainment further reflects our reality and it’s no accident then, that Hulu’s The Handmaids Tale was one of the biggest series for 2017-2018 seasons—i.e., being watched and controlled.
FIGHT THE POWER…
At our core, we all have a basic human need to be SEEN, understood and validated.
With the spring thaw comes a deep winter pain that is coming to the surface ie; “into the light,” and what we have witnessed in the last year cannot be unseen.
This has been a year of continuous injustice, violence and systematic racism towards the black community that created the indelible #BlackLivesMatter movement. This has also been the year of the #MeToo movement and the #MarchforOurLives uprising of the Parkland students against gun violence and the NRA.
Kristah Suh, who started the Pussyhat Project, encouraged her network to knit DIY Evil Eye Gloves for the March for our Lives demonstration on March 24th, 2018.
Beyond the main takeaway of “stop don’t shoot” the eye was used as a symbol for self-protection, but its also a clear message of wanting to BE SEEN whilst being on high alert. “I’m watching you…” can be directed at our lawmakers, our police and our oppressors.
We are now collectively taking our safety into our own hands.
“I LIKE TO WATCH…”
Inversely, we all have a natural proclivity towards voyeurism.
The act of voyeurism—sexual or otherwise, is as old as time—but digital innovation has brought the act itself to an insatiable next-level. We are all privy to information hemorrhaging in the palms of our hands and our human interactions and sociability have been permanently altered as a result.
Our collective habit has become that of passively checking our phones first thing in the morning for a fleeting glimpse of digital ephemera. The 24-hour life-casting scroll feed of celebrity/influencer access has become an insatiable voyeur addiction for many.
ALL EYES ON US…
When The Truman Show starring Jim Carey hit movie theatres (←remembah THOSE relics?!) in 1998, it was implausible to believe that someone’s life could be watched on a 24-hour life-casting feed, but that is exactly where we are today!
From 7 strangers “who stopped being polite” back in 1992 to the evolution of digital/social media innovation, we have become a culture obsessed with pointing the cameras at ourselves through a myriad of social media platforms.
So while the camera may have TAKETH away our privacy and our previous analog anonimity, we cannot deny the countless ways that handheld video cameras have helped us capture injustice and bear witness to the world we live in. Never has this been more significant than in exposing the blatant racism and police brutality against the African American community.
From Rodney King to the Facebook Live streamed Philando Castille shooting, to the recent Starbucks incident, the video camera along with the immediacy of social media has been the eye of truth, exposing crimes in real time.
THE EYE TREND
The eye in all its permutations; from evil, flirty, to gimlet is seemingly everywhere for spring 2018. Not only are we seeing the classic nazar symbol which has been used for thousands of centuries to ward off the evil eye, but we are also seeing a bold singular eye on every piece of merch you can shake a stick at. Voila!
Jeweller to the STAHHH‘s Lorraine Schwartz designed a blinged out evil eye capsule collection for spring 2018, which were prominently displayed by a bevy of starlets like Rita Ora and Blake Lively.
I’m super obsessed with this incredible jewelry line from Brooklyn called Scosha. Their offerings are incredibly unique & unexpected, from their mix and match eye charms, to their chandelier “Treasure Earrings” to their line of cat eyes—my fave being the dainty disc droplets tears-of-joy stud.
Jacquie Aiche is a fine jewelry line from Los Angeles with a huge it-girl model following like Hailey Baldwin and Gigi Hadid. Jacquie Aiche is the go-to line for their sensual layering and unique body chains that boast a tribal and mystical aesthetic.
Kenzo’s ubiquitous usage of the multi-eye or “world eye” motif is back for spring 2018 in a kaleidoscope of unisex offerings.
While many co’s have a token or two of eye art—even Ikea has a wayyyyy tacky glass version this spring, nobody interprets hipster eye symbolism better than Brooklyn’s McQuan Studio
“We don’t need to see anything out of the ordinary. We already see so much.“~ROBERT WALSER
The following are a random culling that caught my eye for spring 2018…
Discount Universe is becoming a Coachella mainstay ↓
From L to R below: Catbird Diamond Eye Earrings, Evil Eye Tote at me.n.u, Gigi Hadid’s x Stuart Weitzman EYELOVE mules that launched holiday 2017 are still totes wearable, and a custom eye patch jean jacket at Cacao Houston.
And what would any trend spotting list of mine be if it didn’t book end with some fab nail art? From a flirty eye lashed motif to a traditional nazar, the combinations are endless! The Olive and June stickers are an amazing fast track for an instant DIY mani!
And while I, and many a digital think piece will rhapsodize about our analog pasts—a quieter time when we weren’t inundated with seeing EVERYTHING—I am still grappling with how to be a part of the conversation whilst preserving a sense of privacy.
It brings to mind the old adage; “would you rather be painfully aware or blissfully ignorant?”
I so wish we could find a healthy balance…
…or at the very least a new aperture?
I see you…