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November Culture Report

Welcome to the November Culture Report, an autumnal adventure into marketing methods, musical meanderings and the much-mentioned metaverse. Editorial team: Nicolas WheatleyAlice CrossleyCaris DollardFrancesca BriginshawFrank BroughtonIsaac McMorrowDominic HusbandsAyoade BambgboyeRebecca Leon, Giulia Lindsay

TODAY IN TIKTOK

All the latest charts, hits, hashtags, brands and rising stars are in our TIKTOK REPORT, plus Astroworld conspiracies, COP26, Squid Game and more. Get it in your mailbox every month. Click here to sign up.

CULTURE CAMPAIGNS

Nurofen worked with musician Anatole and scientist Dr Claire Howlin to write music that eases pain. We’re interviewing the good doctor on our next podcast.
NUROFEN – TUNE OUT PAIN

As animator Yannis Konstantinidis says, ‘You can’t negotiate the melting point of ice’. It took a year to make this poignant stop-motion film using polar bears moulded from real ice.
WWF – ANIMATING WITH ICE

Since lockdown, Made.com has been spending its influencer budget on real people. Madeover is their YouTube series about purposeful makeovers – nice sofas in places that deserve them.
MADE.COM – MADEOVERS

RADIO’S A BLAST   

Blast Radio is like Twitter, (or maybe Snapchat) for musicians. It’s a community audio app that lets creators post musical doodles, snippets and offcuts, letting them fire off B-sides, improvisations and work in progress, allowing their followers an insight into their creative process. The Blast Box connects to your turntables, mixer, mic or amp, and lets you go live (high res) at the press of a button. All content disappears after 24 hours and there are programmed broadcasts too. Carl Craig, Animal Collective, Space Dimension Controller and Kevin Morby are some of the first to sign up. FRANK BROUGHTON

IMAGINARY HANDBAGS   

A digital Gucci bag just sold for more than the real one. An avatar accessory of the iconic bee-embroidered Dionysus bag, available exclusively on the children’s gaming platform Roblox, has sold for 350,000 Robux – approximately £3,035 (and it isn’t even an NFT). The real-world version of the bag retails for around £2,500. How the virtual bag will impact on the value of the real one we’re yet to see, but this is a wake-up call for any fashion brands not yet playing in the VR market. Burberry launched an NFT collection in the multi-player game Blankos Block Party and Balenciaga lent its designs as NFTs on the popular game Fortnite.

Is it desperate escapism after two years of Covid? Or young people rejecting the nine-to-five in favour of new ways of making a lot of money? Whatever’s causing the pull towards the metaverse (and it’s not Mark Zuckerberg), it’s clear there’s a growing appetite for anything but the real world. Millennials and Gen-Z grew up with games like The Sims and Star Girl, so digital fashion has long been lurking in their background. The early noughties saw an era of ‘hype beasts’: collectors making big money off reselling brands like Stussy and Supreme. Is Gen-Z doing the same? ALICE CROSSLEY

AMAPIANO MIXTAPE 

Emerging in 2012 from the townships of Pretoria, Amapiano (Zulu for ‘the pianos’) is the sound of the South African underground that’s beginning to top charts around the continent. The style merges pitched piano melodies and the slow groove of 90s South African house with various localised rhythms. Having made its mark in its homeland, tracks are finding a footing in Britain. Check out the album ‘Uwami’ by DJ Black Low – killer, snapping rhythms. Or dip into this playlist for some of our favourite cuts, ranging from the deep, emotional groove of Gaba Cannal and Zano’s ‘Without You’ to the Killer Kau’s menacing ‘Amaneighbour’.  Listen here
ISAAC MCMORROW

GREEN AND BLACK FRIDAY    

With Black Friday coming at the same time as the COP26 summit, many brands are trying to recalibrate the usual hyperconsumerism of discounts and promotions. Deciem has a Slowvember initiative, where they offer 23% savings for the entire month, but no products available on Black Friday, encouraging people to slow down and come together. Adopting the ‘Green Friday’ approach, several brands are combining discounts with donations. Missoma is giving back through their 25% savings, teaming up with charity, Tree Sisters to offset its carbon footprint, and Cinta The Label is giving customer’s 20% off, but £5 from every order will go to Plastic Oceans UK. Shoppers are already keen to shop local, and Which? is urging people to see sales differently and shop responsibly. Mind you, more luxury brands are getting involved as they find ways to adopt Black Friday without diminishing their value: last year Charlotte Tilbury ran a referral campaign with gold flashes everywhere and this year Monica Vinader is giving subscribers exclusive early access to their sale. CARIS DOLLARD