TRENDS

 

So, what is a trend? …

This is the determinant question! Only one perspetive can be associated with our trends research. A trend is always a movement of a large number of verifable actions. You can have math and statistical trends, sector trends, and behavior trends. When we are dealing with Trends Studies, our attention is focused on the later perspetive.

 

 

In this sense, trends are the reflection of our experience in society, product of civility, values, desires and the economic and socio-cultural context. William Higham proposes that trends are changes that typically occur across a large number of consumers and that they are created by changes in political, economic, socio-cultural or technological environments [4]. Henrik Vejlgaard [1] studied in depth the issue of trends and developed a sound base theory for the development of studies in this area. According to the author, for a trend sociologist, a trend is not something that happened, but rather a prediction of something that will occur in a certain way and that will be accepted by the population in general. For him, trends are a process of change that affect most of us [1]. Martin Raymond suggests that trends can be an idea, showing change direction [2].

Trends are currently in the throes of an accelerated cycle. However, the process and the nature of trends remain the same. A trend is a process that registers a behavioral change that is based on emerging mindsets and that is later supported in interpretations that can generate strategic clues. Trends presuppose a profound change and development in the taste and style that permeates our daily lives. Nevertheless, care is needed in defining the word and its meaning in today’s world, especially in the business world and in the study of trends. Els Dragt helps to sum Trends Studies definition of trend, by stating that a trend is a direction of change in values and needs which is driven by forces and already manifests itself in various ways within certain groups in society [3].

 

 

Henrik Vejlgaard  adds that the development of a trend is one of the unresolved mysteries of our everyday lives. The plot begins with one or more people developing a new product / service. However, the most important element concerns a diverse group of people, called trendsetters [1], that is, those individuals who ensure the first dissemination and validation of a trend and its object, promoting the same to their peers. Trends can be identified and monitored through several tools and practices and among them is Coolhunting, one of the basis of trends studies.

With trend studies, and by developing the analysis of consumer behaviors, trends begin to distance themselves from fashion and now reflect all our social behaviors. A trend is subject to a macro cultural context and are not limited to design and style; they also affect what we eat and drink, what we read, what movies we want to see, among others.

Trends can be paradigms, the definition and bigger expression of our times; macro trends that affect a large number of sectors, individuals and groups; or micro trends, which affect particular sectors or types of patterns (from Style and Taste to Consumer Behavior, among others). Consumer Trends, like William Higham suggests, are the trends that will drive strategy and within a marketing context, a trend is a change that occurs among consumers [4].

 

 

The forementioned authors refer, with certain differences, the several natures and impacts of trends. Reviewing the postulated literary basis, it is possible to find some concensus on the nature of trends and the different patterns that emerge in society.

A mindset trend represents a big behavior moviment that comes as a major expression of the spirit of the time. Both macro (trends that affect a large number of individuals and sectors, and have a general impact on daily life) and micro (trends that affect specific practices and that can be specific to certain social grupos or sectors) mindset trends have a big impact on social change and the way we move among certain visions and expectations.

Fashions and Fads, on the other hand, are behavior patterns with specific sociocultural processes and dynamics. The fashion system works within its own rules, as Jean Baudrillard and Roland Barthes suggested, but they affect what we can understand and style and taste. Fads are the more ephemeral type of sociocultural trends, disseminating very fast, usually associated with a specific object or practice, and disapeering as fast as they appeared.

 

[1] VEJLGAARD, Henrik (2008). Anatomy of a Trend. New York: McGraw-Hill.

[2] RAYMOND, Martin (2010). The Trend Forecaster´s Handbook. London: Laurence King.

[3] DRAGT, Els (2017). How to Research Trends. Amsterdam: Bis Publishers.

[4] HIGHAM, William (2009). The Next Big Thing. London: Kogan Page.

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