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Gazing Into A Crystal Ball, With Li Edelkoort

We chat to the trend forecasting pioneer about predicting the future of fashion.

Gazing Into A Crystal Ball, With Li Edelkoort

Lidewij Edelkoort’s mind is like a crystal ball. For over 35 years, the pioneer and founder of trend research has been one of the world’s best-known and most important trend forecasters. Having hosted a trend seminar with her in January, we picked Li's brain about the future of fashion and what it’s like to be a modern-day oracle. 


Your manifesto“Anti-Fashion” toughly judged the fashion industry. What are the top 5 key theses of your new manifesto “The Emancipation of Everything”?

In “The Emancipation of Everything”, I speak about how we can start afresh after the death of fashion norms. Our world is in a major flux and the only way to reinvent ourselves for this new timeframe is to rethink everything we do and goto the very essence of things. The feminisation of man is a long-reaching trend that will redefine society at large. At the same time this means that women feel free to celebrate both their assertiveness and their femininity. Everything we design can also be rethought: basics, browns and beiges will be elevated; denim will become gentrified and work wear will be rehabilitated to remind us of the beauty of industrial uniforms for the future, instructing a more rigorous tailored principle.


Your forecasts are released two years ahead of impact and take around six months to prepare. How is it possible to dig into something that does not yet exist? What factors indicate that something is about to become “the next big thing”?

It can be literally anything! As a forecaster I am constantly on the hunt for new social-cultural developments. In order to discover the beginning of a trend, one should be able to combine, compare and bundle the different inputs like anarchaeologist of the future. I am gathering small fragments of information all the time; these existing snippets of information show similarities, and once they have reached critical mass, a new trend starts to evolve. Once the keyword is found the real research begins.


You’ve traveled a lot, you’ve probably seen and experienced all - What touched and inspired you the most recently?

I was fortunate enough to realise a lifelong dream and visit Georgia O’Keefe’s home just outside of Santa Fe. The modest, dedicated and pure aesthetic of her studio and residence is very uplifting and you could feel the artist ’s presence even today. A very powerful experience! When it comes to trend prediction, intuition is key. How do you“train” your intuition? And do you have a personal hide-away for relaxation and new impulses? Everybody has intuition. I started listening to my intuition early in life and it became stronger over the years. Your intuition is like a muscle; you can train it by using it more often. What ’s most important is being able to trust it wholeheartedly. I do have some places I escape to for clarity and rest. One favourite is Essaouira in Morocco. I recently bought a house there since I love everything about this seaside fortress city: the food, the colours, the architecture and the smell of the ocean, the people… And safari in South Africa is always an inspiring place to get away from distractions. Contemplating animals in the wild is the best recipe against depression.


How will the retail future look – which values will be increasingly significant and how can retailers keep up with their customers?

So far, this century hasn’t developed its own retail innovation and environment. The fashion industries keep delivering drops until we shop, and against all odds, the status quo of retail seems to project business as usual far into our future…Indeed, the outer shell of shops has changed, with landmark architecture branding luxury houses and even certain volume chain stores recently bringing high and low even closer than before. Yet the inner identity of shops has not been reinvented and is in urgent need of creative and conceptual thinking. Mood marketing will rekindle and improve the relationship with consumers in the future, and therefore will inspire very different store environments and philosophies. Shopping will need to reach the consumer on another, more private level. Imagination, improvisation, intelligence and humor are needed to redefine the shopping experiences of tomorrow. To engage in a new dialogue with clients, to anticipate their every wish, to service their every whim, to satisfy their hidden desires. To bring them together in a social space.


Credit: Daniel Costa

22 / 01 / 2016 // by LigaStudios Team

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