2 Dec 2019
Antwerp - What about diversity and sustainability in 2020? During the Fashion Talks Flanders DC organised last Thursday in Antwerp, futurologist Lucie Greene made some predictions about trends and consumer behaviour for the coming year. FashionUnited noted six trends:
British-born Lucie Greene moved from New York to LA last year and set up her own trend agency, Light Years. The influence in terms of innovation has shifted to the west of the U.S. in recent years, Greene said in an interview with advertising agency Contagious at the time. New lifestyle trends, direct-to-consumer brands and product categories have come over from L.A. And of course there's also the convergence between technology, gaming and streaming in LA.
Author: Katrien Huysentruyt
Greene looks at impactful cultural changes and how they will evolve as well as the emotions and goals of the consumer: how does the life of the consumers change, how will it affect them, how will they live and, ultimately, what do they want to buy. "I'm helping brands understand the implications of impactful change and what strategies they need to develop to be culturally relevant and attractive in a rapidly changing world," says Greene. She then links some of those changes to eye-catching new brands and brand strategies.
We see an increase in new product categories being launched, such as Tracee Ellis Ross hair care products, specifically for curly and frizzy hair. Large chains are also jumping on this trend and are adding premium private labels to their product range. According to Greene, a mix of technology and influencing is emerging, just look at the September show of Rihanna's Fenty, streamed via Amazon Prime. In addition, there are new brands that pretend to be a non-profit label. They are unpacking the content - sustainability, natural ingredients - and are being sold at a low price to those who join their club.
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Diversity in all its forms will break into mainstream culture by 2020. Greene gives us an example: Universal Standard that sells clothing from American size 4 to 40 (EU 34 to 70). Henning of Lauren Chan, on the other hand, makes formal clothing for work situations that flatters every type of body. Sainsbury's came up with an atypical pregnancy and breastfeeding line and Tommy Hilfiger, with Tommy Adaptive, focuses on consumers with a disability. Campaigns are also increasingly seeing models of real skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne, cellulite or stretch marks.
Fear also stimulates trends - the climate protest is driven by fear - and thus becomes - cynically enough - something that can be capitalized on. "Gen Z grew up with uncertainty, thinks progressively and is very entrepreneurial but with a social purpose. They see themselves as a brand, partly through social media and influencing. They think creatively, make something and sell it immediately, via social media. Retailers who want to appeal to Gen Z must realise that they are dealing with conscious consumers," says Greene. "They love vintage and unexpected categories such as anti-consumption brand Everybody.world or genderfree-shop Phluid. A trend that will become very important in 2020 is the impact of gaming. Greene: "For Gen Z, gaming is a form of social media. They meet on games, and date through apps. They make contact via Tinder and then meet each other on Fortnite. The world of gaming is interwoven with the visual culture. We already had virtual influencers like Lil Miquela, but now there is a complete intersection of gaming and beauty of fashion. For example, the Dazed Beauty platform brings unexpected, futuristic beauty reports with inspiration from cyberspace.
Greene also points to the so-called 'goal revolution' - a redefinition
of why people are here, what makes them happy and what they spend their
money on. Wellness is what millennials want today: from air purifiers to
organic cotton and everything that makes us healthier and improves our
lives. Sustainability is no longer a trend but the basis from which new
brands can start," Greene explains. "Brands that aim to change consumer
behaviour include By Humankind, a beauty label with reusable packaging, or
For Days, where you can take out a zero waste T-shirt subscription.
Another trend that comes under this is the vegan lifestyle, which is sustainable and good for your health. In addition, innovation in the field of sustainability is called the new luxury, such as new textiles as an alternative to animal materials, with Stella McCartney as the pioneer, of course. Social collabs are also being created, such as Guerlain x Unesco or Timberland's reforestation project", she further illustrates.
The fifth trend mentioned by Greene responds to the general wave of isolation: "Social media can tend to make consumers unhappy or lonely. So brands are building new communities where activities and workshops are organised so that they can find that sense of belonging. Examples are the social bakery Luminary Bakery in East London, the collaboration of Vans with avant-garde gallery KK Outlet in Covent Garden and the pottery classes of Still Life Ceramics in L.A.".
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"More and more is also becoming possible due to the rapid technological evolution", says the trendwatcher. "Lil Miquela now has more than 1.5 million followers and has deals with major brands such as Supreme and Diesel who sees her as a powerful marketing tool. Other examples include experience-focused e-commerce, such as Obsess, the shopping platform that leases out virtual, experience-focused stores to brands, as well as the investment in interactive mirrors from the sportswear brand Lululemon. In addition, technology is a source of inspiration for new products: game branding or virtual collections such as Jeremy Scott's collection for The Sims. Augmented reality filters are used to advertise products such as the Adidas Deerupt filter on Snapchat or Candy Crush filter on Instagram to increase brand awareness. It's the 21st-century version of the billboard," concludes Greene.
This article was originally published on FashionUnited.BE by Katrien Huysentruyt before being translated and edited to English
Main photo: Universal Standard campaign NYC metro