The other week, Stefan Nilsson held a presentation at my high school about trends. Simply put, Stefan works as a trend analyst. He travels around the world every year and attends large conferences of launches, from products to fashion. At the same time, he manages to visit cities and conduct an analysis of the inhabitant’s lifestyle: What do they do on the weekend? What do they spend the extra $50 on? Furthermore, Stefan looks at the food, because it is the only thing that creates queues. Thus, Stefan is the right guy to ask ‘why do we have trends?’
Trends point on what is ‘in’ and what is ‘out.’ What you are going to do this weekend and what food you are going to eat on a Friday night. Many say that they do not want to have trends or be trendy, but strangely enough, we are all influenced by trends.
The trendsetters, where do they start? Either they can be local trends, that only happen in a specific region or city. Or they can happen around the world. If everyone has a wristwatch, it is not a trend to wear a wristwatch. However, if a specific wristwatch started to increase in popularity, it would be considered a trend. Another example would be the mobile phone before it was a trend, now it might be more trendy to have a specific app installed.
Centuries ago, trends came from royalties. Now, they come from idols and famous people. And Stefan has found something interesting, trends appear to originate from the specific cities: New York, London, Paris, and Milan. But New York is the most important city for trendsetting. An essential thing to note is that there are no trends that are created in Sweden. We Swedes are very good at absorbing new trend abroad since that is what we talk and read about. From a few clicks on our smartphone, anyone can be updated with the latest fashion trends in Paris. Swedish people have a need of being the same, and this means that trends hit very hard.
Trends set what you will like and dislike the next coming year. It will decide what food you will eat and what workout you will perform. Smart companies and shops would try to capitalize on this; if people are queuing until 22:00 at night to buy an ice cream, only to take a picture of it and publish it on Instagram – well then you got your business model. Remember, you haven’t eaten something unless you have taken a picture of it.