NEW YORK —
Ten years ago, wellness was about the hippy and the dippy.
My, how times
according to the Global Wellness Institute, wellness takes in
$4.2 trillion in annual global spending.
Philadelphia is right on the wave. We may be cheesesteak
central, but most of our new businesses are promoting a
wellness lifestyle: Both suburban towns and Center City
continue to welcome boutique fitness outfits, such as Walnut
Street’s Rumble and Cyclebar in Plymouth Meeting. Spiritual
haunts like Syreeta Scott’s Sable — a downtown location
will open later this month — and Angela Monaco’s Ritual
Shoppe sell sage, candles, and essential oils so one can have
a wellness experience in the comfort of her own home. And
every upstart fashion label is more concerned with slow
fashion than with producing the next must-see runway show.
spent two days in New York City chasing wellness trends at the
Active Collective, where boutique owners go to find the latest
in athleisure trends, and at the Global Wellness Institute,
where experts study the economic impact of wellness. This is
what I learned about 2019 wellness trends.
isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The good old
days when getting dressed up at Le Bec-Fin have been replaced
with yoga pants for Sunday brunch at Parc. Avocado toast
included. I spent a recent Friday afternoon with Ashley
Anapolsky, buyer for Philly online athleisure site Addison Bay
at Active Collective, where I saw the latest trends in active
wear, from Athletist to Spiritual Gangster. Top trends
include: reversible leggings and jackets, multicolor camo,
from hot pink to banana yellow to cobalt blue to — aack! —
biker shorts. “I don’t know how this is going to go
over,” said Anapolsky, who admittedly picked up a few. I
— How our
clothing is made will matter more and more
zero waste, sustainability, and slow fashion will continue to
dominate our fashion lexicon. Luckily, Philadelphia is on
point in following these important movements. And We Evolve
continues to make resale desirable with subscription boxes.
Betsy Cook of Haddonfield’s National Picnic makes her pieces
on the sales floor. And in coming weeks, United By Blue will
launch a shoe collaboration with fellow environmentally
conscious company SOLE that they say is the world’s most
eco-friendly — it features recycled cork midsole fashioned
from algea, foam, and rice rubber. “We’ll see radical
innovation in sustainable textiles,” said Beth McGroarty,
vice president of research and forecasting at the Global
Wellness Summit. “If manufacturing is a mean, faceless
business, more ethical fashion brands will provide
transparency into how they treat — and even celebrate by
name — the artisans that created your wardrobe.”
— Wellness is
driving real estate, too. But it’s not cheap.
the high-end social club near 30th Street Station, is opening
piecemeal throughout the year with a theme of cultivating a
holistic approach to health and wellness issues. The club will
feature a gym with an indoor pool and restaurants that
specialize in healthy fare, from juice bars to super-food
cuisine — think lots of kale and cauliflower — courtesy of
chef Kevin Sbraga. Wellness real estate, according to the
Global Wellness Institute, accounts for $13.4 billion in
— Wellness is
not a luxury of the uber-white and uber-rich.
wellness habits have the tough reputation of being a luxury
for the rich. People of color and poorer people don’t see it
as something they have time for or can actually afford, said
Ophelia Yeung of the Global Wellness Institute. It’s hard to
forget that wellness experiences can be done at home, too.
Apps like Calm help us meditate, and email blasts from Black
Zen help women of color (but really, any woman) attack
everyday problems from a holistic point of view. “Coming
home to a tidy space, lighting a candle, and playing your
favorite relaxing music can really set the tone to unwind,”
Monaco said. “Burning some Palo Santo or spraying my
favorite intentional spray can change the energy.” And most
people, especially Oprah, will tell you good energy unlocks
— Get your
meditation on. Anywhere will do.
the Global Wellness Institute, meditation is evolving from a
singular to a plural practice, meaning today you might try
transcendental meditation, tomorrow you might just stare at a
wall and try to rid yourself of monkey mind. “It seems like
we’ve reached peak mindfulness and meditation, but we really
haven’t,” McGroarty said. “After years of talk, people
are actually doing it.” On the horizon are yoga trucks where
people can meet for yoga — not order tacos. Locally, yoga
studios like Yoga on Main in Manayunk, Pa., have instituted
weekly meditation practices. For example, every other Monday
it features chakra meditation and oneness blessing. That is
definitely on my bucket list.
— The science
of smell is the next wellness frontier.
The sense of
smell is on the cusp of a wellness moment as scientists study
the impact of scent on our physical and emotional well-being.
Under the umbrella of aromatherapy, it’s long been known
that candles and oils can help us feel better. But, according
to McGroarty, companies like Nue Co. are marketing anti-stress
supplement as fragrances, and restaurants — think Autograph
Brasserie in Wayne, Pa., — are offering scent-based menus
that pair wine and foods with Diptyque candles. “It seems
that a lot of my brands, like Ferragamo, Hugo Boss, even
Armani are using real essential oils in their fragrances,”
said Nir Guy, owner of King of Prussia specialty store
Perfumology. “The more natural things they are putting in
are making our brains happier. People are less allergic to it,
and they don’t sneeze as much when they come into my
— Dying well
is just as important as living well.
We are so
afraid of death — I know I am — that we don’t give it
much thought in life. As a result, we watch our friends and
loved ones rush through the process eager to get the death and
burials over with. Ironically, the wellness market, which has
extending life at its center, is part of the problem.
Suddenly, MGroarty said, it seems a “death positive”
movement is here, bringing with it talk of making the dying
process more humane. And just like birthing doulas who help
women give birth in a loving surrounding, there are death
doulas who help us die with dignity. But at the heart of our
relationship with death is coming to terms with how we are
living, said Henry Fersko-Weiss, president of the
International End-of-Life Doula Association. “If you don’t
think you’ve had a life worth living, the dying process
becomes even more unbearable,” Fersko-Weiss said.