Every designer, company and retail store knows that a good trend forecast is invaluable. This article introduces you, our readers, into the world of forecasting. What will the world look like in one year?
„Trying to find trends on the internet is going to be just about as successful as looking them up in a phonebook“, says sociologist and PR-editor Kai Lehmann (2005). Concerning future trends Google is (at least for beginners) not the answer to the million dollar question. As soon as styles have become mainstream, they are everywhere, like the marble and copper trend just a few months ago. But surprisingly the designers of these marble candleholders and copper lampshades aren’t even the people setting the trends. Between them and the customer, a further step is taken by people who know trends very well before anyone else does. (Cf. Resch 2015).
The key to developing trends lies in the hands of trend researchers. They prepare designers and companies for the future, always a year ahead of everyone else. This technique is quite new, only being invented in the late 1980s when trend research as we know it today fully seperated itself from future research. Focussing on short term trends such as fashion, leisure activities and entertainment, trend research targets the essence of today’s society. (Cf. Uni Linz) The core are „cultural, social and aesthetical phenomenons which highlight the way society is changing“(ibid.). To uncover these changes as early as possible through „weak signals“ is the job of a trend researcher. Another important part is the sustainability of the trends as well as „possible adjustments to the needs and aesthetical standards of a target group. “ (ebd.)
What does the work of a trend researcher look like?
Gudy Herder is one of those trend researchers. The Barcelona-based expert and coach for interior and lifestyle trends gained her experience working for several furniture, fashion and luxury companies before starting her own business. Today, her job description includes talking on trend panels, coaching and advising international customers and running her blog EclecticTrends.com about micro and macro trends in interior and lifestyle.
Researchers like Gudy visit expositions, read studies and data evaluations to gather the necessary information, but an essential part is also found on the streets. The results are presented at trend panels, as a constant inspiration for designers and companies. Way before the presented trends become mainstream, trend setters play a key role as early adopters when they wear certain pieces and ‘present’ them to the world. Until this specific trend reaches the consumer, one to two years can pass. (Cf. ibid.)
Not every trend is a trend
Trends can be divided into different categories. „The fastest trends in our society are product trends which usually vanish as fast as they appear (Resch 2015). Consumer trends are more crucial because the stay relevant for about five to eight years and sometimes even spread to other areas like interior. (Vgl. ebd.) „It is very well possible to find a couch matching the pattern of your dress. “ (Resch 2015) Only very few trends turn into so called mega trends which last 25 years or longer, more often concerning meta issues like sustainability or retro. (Cf. ibid.)
Why we talk about trends
Companies need the results of trend researchers to develop their products. Gudy Herder travels Europe on her mission to teach designers, marketing and innovative teams what trends are all about. This means they don’t only know about the trend itself, but can also learn about its realisation.
On the 27th of May, you get the chance to join us in Berlin with Gudy Herder who will talk about the upcoming interior and lifestyle trends for Spring/Summer 2017. The trends „Unknown Terrain“, „Candy, Please!“ and „Time Out“ are the main focus. Curious to know more? Get your tickets here! (The talk will be given German) We look forward to meeting you!
Horx, Matthias: Ausführliche Einführung in die Trend- und Zukunftsforschung. Artikel auf horx.com. Online unter: http://www.horx.com/Einfuehrung.aspx#Trendspotting [12.04.2016]
Lehmann, Kai (2005): Die Google-Gesellschaft, Vom digitalen Wandel des Wissens. S. 329-336. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag.
Resch, Sabien (2015): Wie lange brauchen Trends eigentlich, bis sie sich durchsetzen? Artikel auf stylight.de. Online unter: http://www.stylight.de/Magazine/Fashion/Wie-Entstehen-Trends/ [12.04.2016]
Uni Linz: FreiTour-Wik: Trendforschung. Eintrag auf soziologie.soz.uni-linz.ac.at. Online unter: http://soziologie.soz.uni-linz.ac.at/sozthe/freitour/FreiTour-Wiki/Trendforschung.htm [12.04.2016]