What will be the top trends of 2009? Here’s what professional trend spotters forecast:
Marian Salzman, trend spotter, chief marketing officer for Porter Novelli Worldwide:
The “Cuspers” are Boomers born between 1955 and 1964, said Salzman.
She predicts the Cuspers, sometimes called Generation Jones, will continue to rise to power. She ticks off a list that includes president-elect Barack Obama, Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations nominee, and Caroline Kennedy, who could be tapped to run for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vacant seat.
Unlike older Boomers, Cuspers are more egalitarian, more tolerant and more anxious to make a big difference, she said. Look for more Cuspers in leadership roles, said Salzman. And look for their “let’s get on and do it” message to resonate with the masses, she said.
Anna D’Agrosa and Paige Newman of the Zandl Group:
Newman and D’Agrosa see aversion to “toxic spending” — living above one’s means and buying things they don’t really need or want.
“Lately, several people have even mentioned that the recession almost seems like a blessing because they are now forced to readjust their values and make different choices, says Newman.
Even those who are OK financially are choosing to cut back, place more value on substantive things and focus on personal relationships that are not based on buying.
Credit crunch couture/DIY and “upcycling”
Jeremy Gutsche, chief trend hunter, TrendHunter.com; Rita Nakouzi, director, Promostyl, North America:
Inexpensive designs are getting a lot more attention, says Gutsche.
Designers such as Vivienne Westwood, who made a splash in her spring/summer 2009 collection by emphasizing fashion statements that work on a limited budget, including necklaces made out of safety pins and shawls from tablecloths, are going in that direction, he says.
The credit crunch is also adding fuel to more folks doing it themselves, says Gutsche. A troubled job market and the need for extra cash will motivate hobbyists to transition their love for their craft into a cottage industry.
That dovetails with “upcycling,” reusing an item so that it doesn’t become waste. The term comes from “Cradle to Cradle” authors William McDonough and Michael Braungart.
“There would be no waste if we upcycle everything that we’ve used,” Nakouzi says.
Last year, Etsy, a site where people buy and sell handmade things, challenged users to create an upcycled object to sell on the site, she said.
Nakouzi said to look for things like a chair cushion made out of old neckties, and more restaurants and hotels using reclaimed materials.
Distraction as Entertainment
Ann Mack, director of trend spotting at JWT:
Content creators are layering a multitude of media into entertainment for simultaneous consumption and engagement, Mack said.
For example, “LittleBigPlanet” users are gamers, social networkers and content creators; “The Hills’ ” Backchannel social networking site is where fans can gather to talk about the show as it’s happening on TV, and author Stephenie Meyer has a playlist that readers can listen to while they’re reading the Twilight series, she said.
“People are almost in an entertainment bubble of sorts,” said Mack.
Jane Buckingham, president of The Intelligence Group:
The year 2008 was all about computer saturation, says Buckingham, with people Facebooking, uploading videos on YouTube and watching television on their laptops.
“But next year your media friend might start collecting dust when a mighty mini version takes hold,” says Buckingham. “With the iPhone, the Bold and the Google phone, we’re beginning to truly be able to take our shows on the road.”
For example, the iPhone can be a baby monitor and a Google phone, such as the T-Mobile G1, has a bar code scanner that allows you scan any bar code at the store and then immediately compare prices online.
Buckingham said she’s heard of people cutting their Internet service to save money and relying on their phones. After all, an iPhone is much easier to fit into your pocket than an iBook, she says.
Feedback 3.0/Clever Consumer
Reinier Evers, founder of TrendWatching.com; Jeanine Recckio, beauty and lifestyle futurologist, Mirror Mirror Imagination Group:
No longer can companies ignore the millions of people who complain online about defective products and bad service, says Evers.
“The recession will put consumers in a more powerful position,” he said.
Feedback 1.0 was the lone customer posting a review or complaint and companies ignoring him. Feedback 2.0 was when millions posted, with companies largely ignoring them. Feedback 3.0 finds companies listening and replying, says Evers.
For example, Starbucks lovers can already “help shape the future of Starbucks,” by sharing their ideas online, and hotel managers can respond to complaints and praises posted on TripAdvisor.
Recckio says that in these rough economic times, the consumer carries more power. She’s telling the retailer, 'I’m not shopping unless it’s on sale,’ or 'This is nice, but I don’t want to pay this price,’ ” she says.
And the retailer is bending because it needs the sale, she says.
The Dowdy Look
From David Wolfe, trend forecaster, The Doneger Group:
It’s going to be trendy to dress dowdy, Wolfe says, with faded colors and melancholy looks. The look is almost a backlash to the flashy, celebrity driven, sexy style that has been dominant for the last decade, he says.
“In a funny way, I think it is a successor to grunge,” he said. “I think it’s going to be much more sophisticated and really kind of poetic and pretty.”
That’s not to say people are going to shop at Goodwill and thrift shops. People will go to high-priced designers to look like they’re not spending a lot of money, he said. But looking lavish will seem emotionally wrong, he said.
Let the Good Times Roll
The Trends Research Institute’s Top Trends of 2009:
During the Great Depression, arts and entertainment flourished, according to founder and director Gerald Celente.
When times are down, people want to lift their spirits, says Celente.
He predicts that while angry music will be part of the new tunes, there will be a reincarnation of upbeat and swinging sounds. There will also be more dance halls, particularly for the young, single under-40 cabin feverish crowd.
“The last thing they are going to do is cocooning,” he says. “They’re going to want to go out and play and laugh it up and dance like they did during the Great Depression.”