Still, a question remains as to how forecasters can compile tableaus of the Josie and the Pussycats shirt and I love this future when they only have imagery, experiences, and objects of the present from which to draw inspiration. For example, how can a forecaster, in effect, “see the future” whilst luxuriating at a spa that is very much of the present moment? The short answer is that she doesn’t, nor do any of forecasting’s principal futurists. In one telling experience from my summer at Edelkoort Inc., I got to spend the afternoon with one of Edelkoort’s Paris-based trend assistants as he prepared to “go hunting” for inspiration for the forthcoming Spring/Summer 2013 forecast in New York’s more bohemian neighborhoods. As he mapped out bespoke men’s tailoring shops, antique stores, and new interior design shops to visit, I asked him how he planned to cull visions of the future from extant (and mute) objects. His response was that while a trend forecaster cannot literally “see the future,” he can seek out glimmers of new ideas in extant objects (an intriguing fabric, a clever arrangement of objects, an isolated shape, etc.) and either keep them whole (for photographing later) or repurpose or recombine the objects to designate a more futuristic vision. Played out on the pages of Edelkoort’s Trend Forecast, the viewer is presented with themes (of which there are upwards of 10-20 in each forecast) that, at once, seem familiar yet also on the verge—attesting to the forecaster’s elusive ability to sense what’s to come, while also calling into question who exactly these elusive “trendmakers” even are.
Josie and the Pussycats shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater and long sleeve t-shirt
It is here then that one has to question whether at this point in her career, Lidewij Edelkoort and her team are still predicting trends or if they are effectively driving the Josie and the Pussycats shirt and I love this ebb and flow of trends within the fashion marketplace. In other words, is Edelkoort now publishing a self-fulfilling prophecy? And more importantly, is she creating slower, perhaps more ethical trends, thereby undercutting her company’s bottom line? One salient example that may provide some insight into this question is that of Trend Union’s Spring/Summer 2012 forecast entitled “Earth Matters.” Clearly responding to the impact humans are having on the environment and a rash of then-recent natural disasters occurring worldwide (Hurricane Katrina, the Haitian earthquake, the volcanic eruptions in Iceland, etc.), “Earth Matters” reduced these meta events down to their basal elements. Focusing on new uses for chalk and clay in the beauty sector, to abstract iterations of Earth’s geological stratum in textile design, the effect of our planet-in-tumult on the culture, fashion and beauty industries is reconsidered in artful and avant-garde ways for the future, but is also (and quite obviously) culled from current concerns with sustainability in its focus on reducing waste and creating less (in a sense, slowing the trend cycle down). In short, the future accuracy of this trend forecast is unquestionable as our relationship with resources and our planet is, in no uncertain terms, undergoing transformation as resources dwindle and global markets founder. In a way then, this forecast could be viewed as an iteration of the undying “eco” megatrend in the past decade that has permeated nearly all sectors of culture.