Melissa GrayMarketing Communications Coordinator
Even for people who ‘don’t buy into trends’ that notion in itself is a trend –meaning this very statement just isn’t true. Almost everything you buy is derived from a trend. But what’s the difference between a mega-trend and a fad? How do trends come to fruition? Can designs using trends really stand the test of time?
Here at Sanipex Group, we want to share the excitement trends offer to us, and inspire you to create stand-out, on-trend designs in your own right. So, we thought an introduction to trends was in order before we give the full low-down on what’s hot and what’s not.
What is a trend?
The most basic explanation of a trend is something popular that becomes the ‘next big thing’ – and how long it sticks differs from trend to trend. Trend reports are created from major trend forecasting houses such as WGSN – these are then considered concrete facts in the design world. Hundreds of blogs are created from these trend reports to spread the word, with many small game bloggers also writing forecasts themselves just days after world trade fairs and design exhibitions. The chain of events starts even further up with manufacturers using techniques varying from questionnaires to scenario writing to predict the trends of their consumer.
It may surprise you that the first step in trend prediction is analysing human behaviour. Contrary to popular belief, trends are actually a methodical response to a shift in society’s way of living. The level of impact and the lifetime of a trend can be explained in the hierarchy of trends: Mega, Macro, Micro and Fad. We promise this is a design blog, but we’re taking you to back to art school:
Mega-Trends & Macro-Trends
A mega-trend is an undeniable change to life as we know it, these are predictions decades into the future – think evolving technology, global warming or megacities.
Global Trendspotter defines macro-trends as the children of mega-trends. They are more numerous and all of them related to the ‘profession’ of their parents. As mega-trends are covering a very large area, mega-trends tend to focus on certain parts of the bigger picture.
With Trendbible further explaining that ‘Understanding the specific combination of factors that drive trends is crucial for knowing what will influence future consumer attitudes and tastes. There are a number of calculables from cultural events, politics, economics and product launches to technology.’
Macro-trends carry a lifetime of 5-10 years or more – such as technology in the home, sustainable design and architecture to service a growing population.
Micro-Trends & Fads
In turn, a macro-trend creates a micro-trend; lasting 3-5 years. Globaltrendspotter explains that micro-trends are ‘the most active, diverse and appear very fast one after another. The list of micro-trends is the most lengthy and diverse, and that’s because they are the “solutions” that directly address to consumers.’ Trends as we know them are generally micro-trends, lasting 3-5 years; whereas fads come and go seasonally – or at a stretch, annually.
However, all trends have the capability to move up the ranks. At one time social media was considered a fad, yet social media is now a macro-trend. Social media influences us so much so that new eponymous title ‘Influencers’ was born.
Where do colour trends fall?
Colours are considered a micro trend. To be a real long-lasting trend, Michelle Ogundehin for Dezeen advises ‘Any serious trend prediction has to be rooted in the cultural context, in other words, a rigorous examination of where we’ve collectively come from and an assessment of where we might be headed.’ These can take months of analysis or be a conclusion of years of observation.
Pantone has named a Colour of The Year (COTY) since 2000, with it really taking off in 2007. The process now takes around nine months of in-depth research to choose. The Pantone Color Institute studies colour trends throughout the year in order to decide on the next Pantone Color of the Year to launch in December. They take into consideration all aspects of society: fashion, marketing, social media and even politics. The hue chosen as Color of the Year has become increasingly influential in the vast world of design. Pantone states that the COTY is ‘…a colour snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.’ This year that was Classic Blue.
As the ‘it’ colour only lasts for the year in question, it may even fall into the fad category. Although this doesn’t mean the shade isn’t heavily influential; products are created in response to the named colour, with a much-anticipated hype surrounding the announcement.
Popular colour palettes are also revisited to create zeitgeist designs of an era– to capture the spirit of age. We’re seeing avocado green and burnt oranges in line with the 70s trend, as well as bold colours emerging from the influence of 80s & 90s to create nostalgic, playful designs.
Trends are typically born from a response: Brosa states that in the 60s – 80s, alongside the societal and political revolt; “Rebellion became the name of the game … not just in society and politics, but in the design world.” Vibrancy & drama broke through in contrast to earlier minimal styles, with bolder colours defining the palette for the era. (Before reverting back to minimalism in the 90s – a typical trend cycle.)
This dramatic design rebellion is a prime example of how design is influenced by human behaviour and global movements. In contrast sometimes a trend is born from an epiphany of one designer that simply catches on.
This dramatic design rebellion is a prime example of how design is influenced by human behaviour and global movements.
Is there a link between fashion and interior trends?
Most definitely. If trends are based on social movements it only makes sense; green living will be applied to fashion in terms of ethically sourced fabrics; interiors with recyclable well-made products and architecture that serves our wellbeing – such as WELL buildings standards.
Gudy Herder, of Eclectic Trends, discussed in Décor8’s podcast that in the past five years especially, we’ve seen a direct link from the catwalk to home accessories. Trends are accelerated by the instantaneous communication of social media. Live feeds, re-posting and blog reports of events inspire the rest of the world in a matter of minutes. Colour palettes are the most translatable of course on these visual platforms.
Examples of trends crossing sectors can be seen from the use of Gucci’s floral depictions trickling down into home decor with floral wallpaper effect tiles. In contrast, burnished gold and brushed brass metallics adorned the interiors world before making heir way onto the catwalks. The SS19 catwalks featuring ‘Craft’ and ‘Seventies’ trends made their way into interiors with woven textures and rustic handcrafted wooden furniture in boho vibes.
Trends in the Home
There has been an ever-present appreciation of craftsmanship and handmade items in interiors – which is set to continue. However, the incredible macro-trend of slow fashion is also one we haven’t seen since post war times within fashion, more on that below.
We all know fashion is a second skin we choose for ourselves. It communicates who we are to the world. Or rather, who we want to be perceived as. We do the same for the houses we live in and bear our souls to the visitors of our homes.
Picture your home: What’s your favourite space? Which is your favourite piece and why? Which mementos have memories?
We fill every aspect of our lives with the things we love over what’s trendy. Especially in our homes, it’s personal taste that speaks to us. Kelly Hoppen advises us to “learn how to look not just with your eyes but with your heart.” If you choose what makes you happy, it will stand the test of time and it will make you feel ‘at home’. Because home is a feeling. Sure, it’s a place, but it’s the place that allows us to disconnect from modern, ubiquitous life and reconnect with loved ones. You relax, unwind and destress at home. Washing away the days meetings in a rainfall shower, letting off steam in the steam room, forgetting about worries brought by the daily grind by barbecuing with loved ones.
Your home is your space to create an environment that makes you happy, look after number one and choose to Live Well. How we do that is by analysing our own behaviours and designing to meet these needs… it’s not dissimilar to the trend prediction process – we are actually predicting our own life trends every time we redecorate.
Our home lives today differ greatly to those of past generations, and they’ll change again.
Where are trends heading?
In short, we’ll crave connections with nature to battle technological bombardment, and ‘buy better’ to fight against environmental damage. In a world which is becoming increasingly digital with many mass items produced, we are rediscovering the value of simple pleasures – such as spending more time at home in our space and learning to appreciate well-crafted wears.
As well as a prediction, trends can be reaction to society. Speaking about the recent pandemic, Lidewij Edelkoort – the famous trend queen that is never wrong – advised Dezeen “There is no way we can continue to produce as many goods and the many choices we have grown accustomed to.” Buying less, but of better quality, helps the environment in place of mass production, hand craftmanship equally excludes the needs for factories to consume as much electricity.
Likewise, Vogue writes about slow-fashion as opposed to throwaway fast fashion; this translates to the interiors sector where well-made, long lasting furniture and furnishings are favoured over cheaper items with in-built obsolescence.
Carla Buzasi, managing director of trend forecasting agency WGSN agrees: “The industry is going through a period of major disruption,” a macro trend seems to be appearing as “Consumers are far more conscious about their buying decisions than they ever have been.”
We are more aware of the environmental impact that our buying patterns have. We’re also not afraid to select items due to personal taste as opposed to trying to conform to ‘the norm’. This in a nutshell leads to eclecticism – many items of differing styles paired together.
A further prediction by Li that is already coming to fruition, was that by 2025 there would be a “fusion of everything contrasting”. This can be translated as working from home, with multi-functional spaces; in house retreats with hotel style escapisms in our own homes; or eclectic design styles, merging Seventies colour palettes with Art Deco pieces.
Speaking of Art Deco from the 1920s, are we expected to see any similarities from this era in the 2020s?
Bauhaus was a design-school-turned-art-movement from the 1920s featured a focus on craftsmanship and arts yet synonymously utilitarian concrete walls – sounds familiar right? Art Decos’ influences of curvilinear forms and crafted items with marbles and metallics have also crept back into trends, with fine craftsmanship using quality materials aligned to the new age movement of buying better and buying well. The Alpine range bespoke crafts countertops, basin and table tops with onyx effects to concrete style tiles; these blended against walls and floors of the same tile showcases an ultimate hotel-luxe vibe.
Italian Bark’s blog compared the technological advances of the 1920s to 2020s: ‘The 1920s saw mass production of gadgets that were displayed by consumers able to buy them, this contrasts to tucked away luxuries we keep to ourselves’. Such as at-home-spas in today’s world.
A confirmation comes from Pascaline Wilhelm, fashion director of Première Vision, the fabric fair where collection ideas are often first seeded: “Looking ahead to 2021, extravagance is being replaced by something more discreet, with the notion of things done well”.
Lidewij Edelkoort also advises “It is no longer attractive for people to encounter the same old thing on every street corner.” Which suggests eclecticism continues to grow in demand, with more original choices being preferred. Li declares that success will not be expressed in dollars but “in degrees of happiness”. Reaffirming the trend to live well and live happy.
How do we design to Live Well?
The Scandi hype saw Hygge and Lagom lifestyle trends become buzzwords in recent years and lifestyle trends are only set to flourish and further influence interior design. You might recall 2019’trend of Japandi or Scandanese – a blend of East meets West. This was inspired by the cultures ethos’ of creating calming environments.
‘In The Way You Live’, Amanda Talbot writes ‘For centuries, the Japanese have been a great influence on how we can incorporate nature into our homes by incorporating natural fibres and materials and blurring the boundaries between indoors and out.’ Remember the ‘Indoor-Outdoor’ trend too? That’s evolving into Biophilic design.
Biophillic design is already set to boom as predicted by Schmit-Arch Architects back in 2018. At Sanipex, we suggest adding daylight with natural-light kelvins on illuminated mirrors, including plants real or fake in your space, adorning walls with jungle prints and using colour palettes that emulate nature, to create escapism.
Reconnecting to nature has proven health benefits, Biophillic design is a revolt to how much time we spend with technology and perfectly synchronises with the ‘well-being’ macro trend – Remember our ‘Live well.’ tagline? Architects can also find info on WELL buildings here.
PPG created their Colour of The Year as a shade responding to the growing desire to mimic natural hues and reconnect us with familiar surroundings, a second blue tone similar to Pantones Classic blue, this shade is Chinese Porcelain. ‘The need for simplicity and escapism from technology is in part, the reason that consumers are craving blues like Chinese Porcelain that brings us closer to natural elements such as the sea and sky – the horizon spot, creating serenity in any space.’ Adding natural elements to space in terms of colour, texture or plant life is known as Biophilic design. Likewise a further rediction form top trend predictor Li Edelkoort is that green will be the colour of 2021 nurturing a need to reconnect to nature.
As the personalisation trend grows expect to see an explosion of colour in the market from pastel shades to dramatic inky tones.
Do not have anything in your home you do not believe to be useful or beautiful.
And as you guessed, there will be micro trends which stem from Well-being and Biophillic macro trends. These micro trends are set to evolve from the 2020 pandemic circumstances:
Hygiene could now become a major requirement in the design process – with anti-bacterial tiles and infrared sensor mixers as the new norm.
Sanipex Group offers four finishes of infrared mixers, yet the association between stainless steel and clinical hygiene could see stainless steel as the new favourite finish in the design world.
These thought processes are trend prediction – analysing how we will live and designing trends to fit the need. This is how you design timelessly.
How do I use trends to design for the future?
Trends in their simplest form offer a wealth of inspiration and help us create long-lasting designs – that’s our main mission here at Sanipex Group. So watch out for an in-depth look at all the hottest trends in our Inspiration hub and stay tuned for daily inspiration on our Instagram.
Remember that you have to know where global design is headed to be able to design for it, and don’t forget to dare to be different from Dorothy Draper: “I always put in one controversial item. It makes people talk.”
The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now. Not for the person we were in the past.
Japanese Organising Consultant