A strong, “structural” social pattern that will always morph a bit with the times, tweak to the zeitgeist, accessorize according to season - but never go away - is what the trend-experts at The Color Association of United States are calling AGAINST THE GRAIN. ”It reminds us of what spring is really about – rebirth and renewal,” they note. “A range of warm autumnal colors brings a sense of warmth and luxury to the sunnier seasons, translating exceptionally well for hair.” We agree, but their take is, for us, is too narrow - giving undue credit to a social behavior that is actually just a small snippet of a much bigger pattern picture. The Againt-the-Grain’y surge in popularity of all things artisanal (including bread), small batch (such as fitness & personal training) and the custom-made (a personalized, print-on-demand exoskeleton, anyone?) speaks to something much more fundamental than simply the awakening that is spring. Rather, it reflects people’s fear about being spun - into the poorhouse, into the hospital & maybe even an early grave - by the large, corporate brands (Big Government included). Sure they promise all the things they promise during the Superbowl, in print glossies, at giant music festivals, but what they deliver is often shoddy, produced on the backs of exploited labor & most menacing for the hapless buyer: actually dangerous to your health. See Exhibit A: beef sold by family-friendly brands that is tainted with unspeakables (yes, Arbys, we’re talkin’ to you & the parts of human digits discovered by a youngster tucking into one of your burgers), sprinkled with salmonella (Dole Foods bagged salads), and the fact that food-borne parasites, bacteria & viruses make almost 50 million people sick annually in the US alone. And anything that can cause major harm to your health taps into the fundamental human drive to feel safe from threats to life & limb. That’s what AGAINST THE GRAIN has in common with the HAZE pattern: the *concern for personal safety* element which makes you wanna retreat to a secure stronghold. Both are simply variations on the deeper pattern, which are causing people to go to smaller sources they feel they can trust instead of the massive, mendacious brands. This retreat - be it literally or in terms of how you vote with your cashish are both simply different manifestations of a more fundamental social pattern we’re tentatively calling FORTRESS.