25 July 2012
Karl Lagerfeld said it, Kelly Hoppen said it, and Paul & Joe founder Sophie Albou said it.
Those famous words “I don’t follow trends” that designers, particularly those of the luxury variety, seem proud to announce.In an article in the Times Magazine the fashion designer stated of her foray into the world of home interiors; “there’s no trend to it” whilst a collective of Twitter followers wondered how on earth such a collection, with more than a nod to mid-century pottery, could possibly be independent of a trend towards nostalgic vintage tableware and homeware.
Above; Paul and Joe La Maison
While its understandable that the word ‘trend’ for some conjours up ideas of flash-in-the-pan fads, understanding how people want to shop and analysing what influences and shifts taste is a crucial part of any designers process. Having an awareness of commercial appeal is second nature to most successful designers, but it would be foolish to think that designers like Kelly Hoppen or Sophie Albou don’t care about commercial success.
Let’s face it, they have to tap into a taste level with sufficient appeal, even though both obviously have very strong brand handwriting and don’t jump on the back of every trend going. And that’s the true skill with trend forecasting, it’s about tapping into a higher conscious, and referencing trends without changing the whole personality of the brand every season.
While an interior designer like Kelly Hoppen often gets criticised for only ever doing neutral colour palettes, you could miss the perfectly-timed stacked steamer trunks she developed as part of her retail collection, below. During recessional times, nostalgia sells, and I’m sure this is not a trick Ms Hoppen has missed in creating this updated version of the classic vintage steamer trunk.
Above; steamer trunks by Kelly Hoppen
Whilst the real claim behind ‘we don’t do trends’ is seemingly about valuing true originality and exuding authenticity, it also suggests that designers are not seeing ‘vintage’ as part of a trend. Starting in fashion and spilling over into homeware back in 2006, this over-arching vintage influence (where old, used products that sell a story and have a special emotional value), has been a long-running theme. It’s clear that designers look to the past for inspiration, but even the decade they plunder for inspiration has a significance, after all, ‘vintage’ in 2006 was all about post-war Britain (coining the now over-saturated Keep Calm and Carry On phrase), and is now currently spinning a cycle of influence from the 1990s.
Nostalgia means different things to different generations, and in terms of trends, nostalgic influence changes season on season. Here at Trend Bible, we continue to find ways to help our clients inject freshness, whilst appealing to an ongoing consumer demand for familiar, comforting design. I would like to bet that Kelly Hoppen and Sophie Albou will be doing exactly the same.
Overall a great day which involved getting everyone's thoughts, ideas and reservations down on paper. I am looking forward to seeing how this information will be overlaid with the vital trend insights we need to drive new product development and long-term business growth.
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