1. ARE YOU WOKE?
The word “woke” has taken on a new meaning in recent years, shifting from simply denoting that someone is awake to being a proclamation of awareness of social and racial discrimination, injustice and environmental degradation, and encouraging activism against them. Dutch trend expert Jan Agelink and his team at Buro Jantrendman have analysed the effect the Woke movement is having on society – on lifestyle, fashion, interiors, design and colour trends. In a series of presentations around the country this week, he outlined how inclusivity and the push towards sustainability are having an impact on four major trends.
2. SPEAK LOUDER
Consciousness is the overarching element here – consciousness of how our consumer habits have an impact on others and the environment. Products made from waste; recycling and upcycling; craft and everyday design exemplify this trend. Far from being doom and gloom, the colours here are loud, vibrant and unafraid to clash in a mishmash of mixing and matching.
A couch made entirely of dead stock fabrics by Balenciaga, Timberland’s Construct 10061 project, where collaborators push the boundaries of sustainable design, and Mud Jeans, where you lease a pair of jeans for a year, can have them repaired free of charge or return them for recycling, are examples Agelink gave of this awareness of the need for sustainable solutions.
3. HEAD TO TOE
This trend recognises a growing body consciousness and awareness of what we put into and onto our bodies. Luxurious fabrics, tactile textures and organic shapes and motifs abound in a palette of neutral colours which suggest skin colour across the human spectrum. Linked to this is a preference for natural, biodegradable materials and accentuating imperfections.
James Dyson Award winner Lucy Hughes’s bioplastic made from fish-skin waste, the growing popularity of natural dyes – even Nike has a naturally dyed collection – and Fabian Knecht’s fascinating art installation which turns ordinary scenes of nature into artworks were fascinating examples of this trend. Connecting with other people and the natural world is essential here.
4. CODED NATURE
The interconnectedness of nature and science is emphasised, with a minimalistic interpretation of the complexity of nature. Artificial intelligence and using science to enhance human experience has given rise to designers like Iris van Herpen, whose designs are almost architectural, and Singularity Sushi’s intricate creations, which are custom-designed based on a DNA sample patrons provide. Technology is being used to innovate in traditional hands-on pursuits like fashion design and cooking. Human interaction with technology is key here, as is controlling our tech, rather than allowing it to control us, through apps designed to manage online activity and encourage more engagement offline.
“In all of these trends there is a sense of needing to live more purposefully, to interrogate our experiences and opinions to ensure that we are being inclusive and aware of the impact our actions and choices have on the people and the environment around us,” says Agelink. “The idea is to be meaningful instead of mindless, to move from accumulation to circulation. Semantics are being challenged and boundaries dissolved to find new ways of creating and consuming in a time of ethical, political, social and environmental awakening and youth activism.”
At the other end of the spectrum are the fantastical, futuristic elements we are seeing on the runway, in pop music – Billie Eilish is leading this trend – and in punky, dystopian and androgynous designs that push boundaries, pairing sherbet shades in neon hues with graphic monochromes and holographic elements that trick the eye.
Miami’s Dali Lives show, which uses technology to bring the artist to life in an interactive exhibition, and Tim Walker’s immersive exhibition of his inventive photography at the V&A are good ways to experience this trend first hand. Self-expression, creativity and admiring individuality are crucial to this trend.