The earth is angry. Fuming. Trends forecaster Li Edelkoort’s seminars held recently in Cape Town and Johannesburg didn’t begin with images of stick-thin models or in-vogue interiors, but rather with pictures of hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, man-made disasters and sea birds strangled in plastic and oil.
The trend prophet has spoken. Her predictions hold a wake-up call for designers, manufacturers and consumers – in short, all of humanity – to end the plundering of our earth’s resources for our continued senseless consumption.
“Earth has had enough,” says Edelkoort, and the writing is clearly on the wall for the “shop till you drop” mentality. One has no choice but to take this elegant, grey-haired wise woman seriously: she is internationally renowned and Time magazine has named her one of the most influential people of our time.
New pink and the new mood
Beyond declaring yellow as the new pink, and beards as de rigueur for men again, Edelkoort gave seminar guests deeper insights into the zeitgeist and her imaginings of new retail concepts to suit the era.
She predicts that retailers and brands will find exciting new ways to build relationships with consumers. Methods will include Mood Marketing, which will see a new generation of shops taking customers on an inner journey to the self, transcending the “buy, buy, buy” frenzy.
The shop-as-sanctuary will therefore be a retreat where a calm environment is combined with unsurpassed quality and minimum detail. These shop interiors will be spiritual and quiet, offering customers a space in which to connect with their senses.
Eco brands will also increase in popularity, and indigenous designs made from locally produced materials, such as mohair, will flourish – think in terms of a neighbourhood store. Also prepare yourself for the “Mono” shop, which specialises in a single item, such as shirts, and does it exceptionally well as a result. And at long last – we will see the T-shirt being dethroned by the tailor-made shirt.
Inspired by the unisex movement of the 70s, shoppers should also look out for the “Boyfriend” shop, where gentlemen’s clothes are the focus in a relaxed, tongue-in-cheek milieu. Harris Tweed, plus fours and the cravat make a comeback (women’s wear included), and cartoon character Tin-tin serves as inspiration.
Navy and army surplus stores will also make their mark.
“Young people wear camouflage clothing as a form of protest but this also has an environmental advantage, because these items are made to last,” says Edelkoort. “Naval clothing will take the lead, the bomber jacket will be popular again and brass buttons will take the military look to the streets.”
Those looking for drama in their lives will enjoy “Theatre” concept stores and brand experiences that invite you inside on a red carpet and open the velvet curtain for you. This flamboyance will also influence fashion, with the train making a reappearance on evening dresses.
Caravans and vagabonds
In complete contrast with this extravagance, the Caravan trend will be driven by the cultural diaspora, and new form of folklore will be evident in the use of ethnic detail and the blending of bright patterns. Another nomadic trend, which Edelkoort calls “Vagabond”, reflects sensitivity towards the homeless. A striking example of this theme is bedding decorated with images of the cardboard under which street people sleep. A portion of the proceeds from this range will be donated to a project in aid of the homeless.
“In essence, this is a shop model with an anarchistic undertone. Credit cards will make way for payment methods such as bartering, and the decor and clothing consist of distressed materials and surfaces, particularly worn textiles, such as faded denim. The silhouette is oversized and reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin.”
Do-It-Yourself shops aimed at the consumer’s growing need to be involved will place the homemade item in a totally new class of desirability.
From the practical, including hand-made pom-poms, to the super-sensual: Edelkoort predicts the rise of ‘bordello’ and burlesque-inspired concept stores, where purple dominates and everything from sexy adult toys and lingerie to erotic gourmet food will be sold.
More predictions in short
- Out-of-focus, blurry images of photographs and film material are high on the trends list. It also isn’t necessary to buy everything you like: simply project the chair you desire against the wall
- Noir in the news: expect shops dedicated to black, and only black – as this colour “has become a shield we hide behind”
- Interiors are transformed into indoor landscapes, including furniture pieces that are very organic, partly functional and partly sculptural
- The home is set for nomadic living: as the mood takes you, the bedroom becomes a dining room and the living room becomes a temporary bedroom
- Wood is ever-present, with planks, in particular, being big news. Chalets and cabanas will serve as design inspiration