Oh, to have a crystal ball and know where we'll all be five years from now. It's certainly a lot easier to predict the hot nail color for spring than to tell whether the next generation of kids will be rebellious or conservative (by the way, my bet is on rebellious). But since we trend forecasters are as predictable for our predictions this time a year as the fact that by the time you read this said nail polish will be sold out, here goes a stab at the big (and small) trends ahead...
Presto Chango: These days there is nothing we can't trade, swap, or borrow. From baby goods to a couture gown, the last purse we bought to our "apartment for a week," just about everything these days that we buy or do is temporary. When you can't afford to buy it, you might as well rent it. When you get tired of it, go ahead and trade it, or sell it! While the trend sure makes it easier to get a new look, life or experience, it certainly makes one wonder what it tells young people about permanence when virtually everything is bound to end up on eBay.
Eco- Everything: Forget just carrying your SIGG bottle, market tote and driving a hybrid. Being eco-conscious is so, well, last decade. Moving forward you'll need to be heading to an eco-spa, having an eco-wedding, cooking with green pans, measuring your home's energy efficiency with an energy hub, and not just tending your own herb garden but cultivating your own live chickens! We've come to realize that it's not about recycling, it's about precycling, where we need to really take charge of how we effect the world! And while we'd love to attribute all of this "do-gooding" to raised awareness, a lot can also be attributed to the fact that much saves you money in the end. And in this economy, that's an eco-essential.
Simple Simons: Call it necessity, call it "a readjustment" -- but people really are starting to live a more simple life. The new status symbol is doing "less" than the Joneses, because we all know the Joneses are far too excessive anyway! From buying things we only really "need," to focusing on old fashioned values and stricter parenting, it seems that a decade of excess seems to have led to a time when simplicity is not just a buzz word but a better word.
Queen for a day: With little money, and questions about the future, it's going to take a lot to get today's consumer to spend. So how do you do it? Make them feel special, unique and a little bit different. Going out will need to be extra fun (swing dancing, anyone?), buying clothes will take fashion that feels exciting (expect sequins, cutouts, and something special), and food and liquor will need to feel new and extreme.
Recession Fatigue: While it's going to take a lot to make us spend, let's be honest... everyone's a little over the recession. They're tired of hearing about it, tired of saving, tired of looking for a job. The want to go out and break loose, have a little fun. Be a little naughty. Now if you still don't have a job, this may still prove difficult, but fact is, consumers are ready to lighten up... when the situation is right!
Media Fusion: It's time for all of the media to stop fighting. Today's generations see them like bickering parents and nothing is less appealing. Instead it's time for the media to truly fuse as a business in the same way that consumers are fusing their use of it... Each media offers its own benefits, but at the end of the day, it is the consumer who is king, and the media who will need to bow down to its lord, not the other way around.
Social Narrowcasting: As we tire of communicating with thousands of people (and everyone knowing everything about our every move) we may look to more niche ways to network, where some know a few choice things, and others know more. With sites like foursquare, gowalla, and ning, and with even Facebook changing their privacy rules, it's clear how we pick our friends may soon change.
Religion Redux: In difficult times we all need something to turn to. And while spirituality was the buzz word, these days more organized religion seems to be gaining followers faster than Twitter! And while it may not be the traditional religions gaining as quickly as hipster variations which put a new spin on old messages, clearly young people are looking for some meaning in a turbulent world.
Generation V: If we have to hear the word "viral" one more time we might just never play another ad, join a flashmob, or tweet again. Oh, who are we kidding. It's perhaps the best descriptor for a generation hellbent on controlling the process and deciding what does and doesn't get popular. From "electing" Obama to the Wedding Dance to making Susan Boyle a star, Generation V feels they are the ones getting things to happen! And without their help in 2010, we certainly won't be hearing about it in 2011.
And as for the little things? Well we can't ignore fashion lifestyle and beauty, so here are a few of what's hot to expect!
- Motorcycle (patched) jeans (www.williamrast.com)
- Estate/Vintagey looking jewelry (think delicate necklaces) (www.vionnet.com)
- Blushes and nudes in clothes - but turquoise as a big one too!
- Peculiare - the hot new nail color from Chanel (www.chanel.com)
- Coconut Water
- Tribal Prints
- Rolled up jeans for men
- Subscription services on the web
Follow Jane Buckingham on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jane_buckingham