“The Geeks, the ones that care, the ones that do it for free, they are the ones who stick around”, said Tyler, The Creator in an interview that has recently garnered traction over the internet. And we agree. Tied to the rise of meta cringe and our collective search for authenticity has us favoring interest and connections that go beyond the mainstream.
Enter: The Geek Elite.
Against this backdrop, those prone to hyper-fixating on specific subjects are gaining influence. With celebrities and ready to join in cosplay. Self-aware and unapologetic, the Geek Elite invites us to unabashedly revel in our unique interests and foster connections that go beyond the popular.
Specialized hobbies are taking over social media and building up hyped-up IRL communities, niche music festivals dedicated to specific genres, subcultures and eras are popping up across the world. Anime franchises are selling out fashion collaborations and video games are inspiring high grossing feature films and popular series. Take „The Mario Movie” and „The Last of Us”. With Gentle Minions hitting local cinemas, adults photo-shopping their faces into Barbie Movie posters and Shrek Raves popping up internationally, it’s safe to say that today’s movie fans have gone FERAL.
While nobody’s quite sure what sparked TikTok trends like #GentleMinions, it’s an exciting example of social media encouraging people to go out into the real world and have fun showing off their passion for movies.
Talking fashion: The anime fashion pipeline has reached new heights. In 2023 alone, we’ve seen Loewe’s collaboration with Studio Ghibli’s moving castle, Jimmy Choo’s collaboration with Sailor Moon and MSCHF’s infamous Big Red Boots, among others. Less Japanese-inspired, but equally noteworthy, collaborations with niche internet communities are also on the rise. Last year, Tiffany’s launched an exclusive offer for CryptoPunk NFT holders.
As we continue to niche our interests, new festivals dedicated to specific genres, subcultures and eras of music are popping up all over the world. Community is at the heart of genre-specific festivals, which serve as IRL reunions away from the overwhelming choices offered by streaming platforms. Brands are joining in, with Converse and Journeys organizing the Sad Summer Festival. Emerging fashion brands are turning to foodies for inspiration. Last year, Puppets & Puppets launched a black carrot bag that quickly became an influencer favorite. This year, farfalle puffers have unironically become the must-have jacket of winter, and pasta-inspired merch is popping up all over the internet.
In the context of accelerated trend cycles and ever-changing cultural landscapes geeks might be the ones that actually stick around.