Trend forecasting is a profession in which one's intuitive muscle is trained in the same way that an athlete trains a muscle of the body. I like to regard my work as a modern-day form of archaeology, where a fragment is found here, another fragment there, until one day all of the information is combined to formulate an idea – a lifestyle change, a trend.
I’m a trend forecaster. The difference between trend scouting and trend forecasting is obvious. Trend scouting is looking at things that are already there; you weigh the repercussions and estimate how long it will last. Whereas what we do — what I do — is forecast what is but a breeze on our neck; a glimpse into the future often without much evidence to support it. I have to make do with shreds of information, from sources as diverse as a conversation, a client’s opinion, a newspaper article, a financial report, a film, an art exhibit or fashion show. My work is based upon intuition. Only then do we add reason and philosophy, and try to detect and understand the repercussions.
Where do all your visuals come from?
Many of the visuals come from the magazines I produced over the years (View on Colour, InView and Bloom). We had to create these key images since they simply didn't exist elsewhere. We also have a large library with art and design books and magazines that provide endless inspiration.
What are your predictions concerning the current environmental threat the world is experiencing?
As part of my forecast for summer 2008 two years ago, I studied the nuances of grey, including inspirations by the weather and natural disasters. The idea was to explain that beauty could be derived from chaos, that we were metaphorically interested in burning bridges and starting afresh, and that ash, lava, earth and rainstorms could inspire the creation of interesting highly-tactile and beautifully-dilapidated fabrics and shapes. Little did I know that we would see even more floods, earthquakes and mudslides beyond the tsunami and the ecological spirit would be fueled partly by nature making man feel small and humble. Also with the prolongation of our summers long into fall as a result of global warming, the idea of an Indian Summer with autumn leaf colours and exuberant and decorative styles fit for a regal maharaja or savvy sultana seems imminent.