We have all noticed how shopping experiences change from season to season with a similarity across products, styles and colour happening at the same time across different platforms. These trends don’t get decided by a panel of creatives sitting around a table, but are rather the result of a multitude of influences from economic, social, political and pop culture. In order to predict these trends everything is explored and investigated and certain patterns start to form, it’s these similarities that will shape the trends for years to come. It is also very important to understand that South Africa is in many ways different to the rest of the world and therefore important to get a local perspective on these emerging trends instead of just taking influence from international inspiration. Colours are one area that often varies drastically from our overseas counterparts, we have different light as well as landscape here in SA and we tend to relate better to more earthy colours. A prime example is bright yellow that we see gaining in popularity internationally, however here at home this colour has never been very commercially viable, and you just have to go to an event or a shopping mall for that matter to see how few people are actually wearing this colour not to mention how few actually use this colour within their living spaces.
The recession, has had a drastic influence on trends and we will see dramatic changes across everything from, clothing, food, business I general and of course interiors and décor related products.
Post recession (my personal belief is that we are not yet out of this financial meltdown with many tough years ahead) we see trends changing more drastically than we have seen in the past, from products to architecture to furniture and obviously the way in which business is taking shape as a whole. This coupled with technology moving at a speed of knots as well as far more awareness of the environment, it is vital that we are constantly aware of these changes and how and what we should be buying. Eco – awareness is possibly one of the most important issues and vital that us as South Africans become far more aware of what we are buying and how we are buying. When it comes to furniture we should be looking at longevity as opposed cheaper more fashionable products that won’t last more than a couple of years. Overall we are seeing consumers hold off on buying cheaper more affordable furniture and saving to buying something in solid wood for example that will last a lifetime and even be handed down to future generations. There is also a new found appreciation for crafted and items and a move away from the mass produced to more hand – made personalized items. In furniture we are seeing a return to traditional ways of manufacture with elements such as Mortise and Tenor and dovetail joinery taking place.
So why should consumers have an interest in trends if they are not designing or manufacturing a product? The answer is quite simple when buying products it is becoming essential to become, a so called “informed consumer”, which will in the long run end up saving you a lot of money and prevent you from buying something that is somewhat a fad and totally outdated shortly after purchase. It is also important that the correct products are purchased meaning you have a clear understanding of there process of manufacture and whether or not they are sustainable both in material as well as adding value to the local supply chain. For too many years we have been bombarded with cheap imports that that rarely last very long and have generally done nothing to boost the local economy. Since the recession consumers all over the world are looking at “Homegrown” first, before investing in imports. I have travelled internationally extensively and I can honestly say that our local designs and product developments are of the highest standards. Why is it then that we don’t support local products the way we should? The biggest problem area is the retailers that fill their shelves with Chinese imports, due to their price instead of rather looking at local products and informing consumers that these products are more expensive due to the manufacturing process but locally made. In the long run we will be looking after our own economy and that is true sustainability.