As the shops re-open and consumers look forward to a return to normality, the potential for a trend-driven shopping boom may seem to be at odds with the desire for a slower life filled with more meaningful things. Should retailers still be designing and purchasing products for their customers based on trends, and is there a middle ground where trends and sustainability can meet?
What drives trends?
Successful trend forecasting is built on knowledge of the colours, textures and themes that embody a trend, and also the underlying forces that shape and move them. It's a perfect combination of art and science, looking beyond just aesthetic to determine why people feel emotionally drawn to or connected with something.
For example, as urban living and green space deprivation become increasingly prevalent, consumer desire to emulate green spaces and nature within their homes has grown at an exponential rate – as shown by the uptake of foliage-print wallpapers, indoor plants, and green hues in decor and furniture in recent years.
Similarly, trends from the last 12 months have reflected consumer desire to feel safe and cocooned at home, with cottage-cool prioritising comfort and cosiness above all else.
Make it unique
Influencers drive trends, especially on social media, a place where the lines between trend-setter and trend-follower are becoming blurred.
Recent analysis of the influencer landscape suggests we are moving into a ‘post-trend’ world where, rather than see an abandonment of trends all together, they are increasingly based on a feeling or symbolism of significance.
Trends no longer need to ‘break the internet’ or ‘go viral’ to make an impact. This new era of trends will instead be characterised by connecting people and uniting them within a trend or a movement.
Quality that lasts
From furniture to fashion, many suppliers and trend-setters are resourcing more thoughtful, timeless collections. Not only does this set precedent and aid steps towards a more sustainable future, it also reflects increasing consumer belief that the true definition of quality is something that has been designed with consideration, skill and care.
Big ticket items made to stand the test of time can last for generations, with a sofa lasting on average between 7 and 15 years. Rather than consumers adapting and purchasing in-line with every trend, this shift would instead see uptake of fewer but more meaningful styles.
Embracing Trends and Sustainability
So, is there a place for trends in a time of slow living and sustainability? Yes, although perhaps trends will look different than they did before. Trends of the future will be broader, focusing on design that provokes emotional responses and allowing more room for personal interpretation, while remaining an important part of purchasing and culture.