As part of the promotion of our Trend Seminars at INDEX – Dubai in November, the folk at Fifth Ring have been setting-up interviews with the regions Press.
It’s been really interesting to discover the different angles the magazine and newspaper feature writers want to take; mostly I’ve been questioned on the Recession – it’s current & future effects on consumer attitudes and interior design, and of course the usual probing about key colours and styles for home décor in the future. However I have been delighted that most journalists have also wanted to gain an understanding of the actual process we go through to forecast the trends and this is a topic we have always been very open and enthusiastic about sharing at Scarlet Opus because we believe that Knowledge Sharing is crucial.
Last week I was asked during an interview with a newspaper if trend forecasting companies can artificially force a trend into the consumer market.
Rather than discussing whether we could do this I think it’s more important to discuss whether we should!
I believe that trend forecasters must attempt to practice a degree of modesty – the minute you start being arrogant enough to think its ok to alter the natural course and rhythm of a trend, you have lost focus and integrity.
We’ve already discussed the issue of whether trend forecasting has an element of self-prophecy in a previous post which you can read here: http://trendsblog.co.uk/?p=1016
Good trend forecasting requires a genuine interest in societies needs and the needs of individual consumers. It’s about solving peoples problems, making life easier, making it more pleasurable…making things better. Yes trend forecasters can influence things but our influence should be used to encourage our clients to improve and have a more considered approach to their designing, manufacturing and retailing activities.
Trend forecasting isn’t about selfishly forcing purple paisley into fashion just because you happen to like purple and paisley and it isn’t about creating a pseudo desire in consumers for things they could have happily lived without.
Without getting too deep…for us trend forecasting is about getting to the truth of where we are at right now….and where we want to be in the future – and then setting a course with our clients to get us all there!
We’d love, love, love to know what you think….Leave a comment to let us know if you think trend forecasting can have a positive or negative effect on design and consumerism?
I was recently asked how we go about finding all of the images and samples that appear on our Scarlet Opus trend boards each season. It’s a good question and worth taking a moment (or a post) to explain. It will also help to complete our Forecasting Process category (accessed in the right hand sidebar).
So how do we find all of our lovely contributors?…..
Once we have completed stages 1 – 5 of our trend forecasting research process for the coming season, we then begin to gather together inspiring, trendsetting and relevant product images, designs, photographs and samples via a variety of methods:
We visit trade shows and exhibitions like New Designers, NY Market Week, Index, 100% Design etc…
These exhibitions are an opportunity for us to see designers work and discuss the inclusion of their work on our trend boards.
We met Claire Coles at 100% Design a couple of years back and one of her wonderful wallpaper designs will feature on one of our Autumn / Winter 2010 / 2011 trend boards.
For example, we wanted to feature patterned wooden furniture on our Autumn / Winter 2010 / 2011 trend boards so we dug about on the internet until we found Duncan Gowdy.
Duncan incorporates subtle patterns from nature into his beautifully crafted furniture pieces and his creations are exactly right for next years interior trends when consumers will be looking to add pattern into interior schemes in more intelligent, unobtrusive and less obvious ways.
- Actually we do an awful lot of general surfing…..checking-out websites and blogs, seeing who is doing what and what is being said about it. This is how we came across the photographic work of Manny Rodriguez and we’ll be dedicating a Showcase post to him very soon!
In fact the work of exciting photographers and interior designers is a key source of imagery for our trend boards. Sometimes we see something that fits in with our forecasts on image sharing sites like flickr, or a particular image will strike a chord that we see in a photographer’s online portfolio. Then we contact them to gain permission for us to include the image on our trend board.
Sometimes it works the opposite way around and contributors contact us. In these cases we are mostly contacted directly by designers but we also receive a lot of Press Releases from PR companies and Marketing Department people letting us know about projects, exhibitions and products that may be of interest to us. If the info is of interest then we might request images for a trend board, or include it as part of a magazine article……or include it as a posting on our blog – like we did last Wednesday (29th July) when we posted about the cool new skyscraper that is planned for Bangkok.
If you are an interior product designer, textile or surface pattern designer, photographer, interior designer or stylist and would like to submit images or samples of your work to be considered for inclusion on our future trend boards…please read our Submission Info page (accessed at the top of this page or in the right hand sidebar) and then email us at email@example.com
Last week the Producer of Channel Five TV show ‘I Own Britain’s Best Home’ got in touch with us to request information on what the home trends will be in 2010. They are going to provide a Top 10 run down of the key 2010 home trends on the final show of the series. We were happy to help and for good measure provided them with a few of the key colours for Spring / Summer 2010 which included Coral, Greys, Malachite, Maroon & Indigo…not all used together though!
Our involvement in the tv show started a discussion amongst the Scarlet Opus team about the degree to which trend forecasting can be said to be self-prophesising. It’s an interesting debate. After all there aren’t that many trend forecasting companies in the big scheme of things. There are lots of companies and individuals who comment on what’s Now or coming Next season but relatively few true trend forecasters who are looking ahead in terms of years not just months. So if there aren’t that many trend forecasters and we each have our own clients (designers, manufacturers & retailers) who we provide information to…and they all take on-board what we say and design, make and order according to our forecasts…and that’s what ends up in the shops and mail order catalogues and that is what is available for people to buy – then maybe our forecasts have an element of inevitability about them? Maybe trend forecasters predictions come to fruition partly because trend forecasters help to drive the trends in a certain direction? You can see how the cycle works in the flow chart below starting from ‘Forecast Design Trends’ (top right):
Charting The Trend Forecasting Cycle
When making your own mind up on this issue it’s important to remember that trend forecasters can’t go it alone! We can’t just decide what the trends are going to be on a whim (or based on what we’d like to see in the shops) and then tell our clients that. The strength of our individual forecasts becomes stronger by other forecasters predictions being very similar to our own. Why? Because, as explained in our Forecasting Process category, all trend forecasters are researching very similar areas and discovering very similar information as each other. Therefore all trend forecasters predictions should be very similar….or they’ve got it wrong! If you are a trend forecaster, being different in your predictions from everyone else is not a good sign. All singing from the same hymn sheet gives credibility to the information we individually provide.
At seminar events we are regularly asked if all trend forecasters get together each season (in a darkened room) and decide what the coming design trends are going to be. Ermmm….No! To start off with trend forecasters are like most other creative people i.e. they aren’t big on associating with their competition. It’s silly but it’s an attitude we come across at trade shows and exhibitions all the time. We’d like to think that such a meeting of creative minds could be really productive and that a spirit of sharing could give reassuring confirmation of our ideas if nothing else. But we’ve had no invitations to pop ’round for a cup of tea with any other trend forecasting companies as yet.
We’ll be sure to remind you nearer the time when the final episode of ‘I Own Britain’s Best Home’ is going to air. But in the meantime if you want to watch the episodes that have already aired you can do so by visiting: