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Anatomy of a trend.

by Lauren Stoeckel

1 min read

As an avid observer (sometimes participant) in the ruling culture of the day, I consider Sean Monahan of trend-forecasting consultancy 8Ball (and previously now-defunct art collective K-HOLE) something of a hero.

A vibe shift is a term Monahan coined to describe #thatfeelingwhen something changes in ‘the culture’ and a once-dominant social wavelength starts to feel…dated. Monahan charts three vibe shifts of recent years:

  • Hipster/Indie Music (ca. 2003-09)
  • Post-Internet/Techno Revival (2010-16)
  • Hypebeast/Woke (ca. 2016-20)

I find this framework fascinating for dissecting the triggers, ideas and ultimately artefacts of the cultural phenomena that envelope and enrapture us. But its principles and practices are just as useful for teasing out cultural insights on a smaller scale. 

For fun, I’ve had a play at reverse-engineering it for the hipster trend.

And for all those wondering if they’re out of date, last word from Sean: “It’s okay not to survive the shift. We all have permission to stay stuck at whatever makes us feel comfortable, and if that’s in 2016, 2012 or 2010, that’s fine.” 


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Lauren Stoeckel

→ As a strategist, Lauren has honed and grown her craft across multiple network agencies, leading the strategic charge on brands such as Monash University, Public Transport Victoria, Defence Force Recruiting, Bonds and 7-Eleven. An advocate of an audience-first approach, Lauren enjoys the pursuit of new insight and counts brand and comms strategy, consulting, and understanding data among her strategic skills.

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