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This week: The New Normal: Gun Violence in America, Gucci's new VIP flagship store, plus-size design courses, American Gen Z job-hoppers, bleisure lifestyles in the travel industry, a magazine turned multi-functional talent agency, and Our Home States Futures macrotrend.

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15 September 2023

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: Toi Toi Toi Creative Studio for Contentful. Photography by Koy+Winkel, Germany


Left: Kickback is a line of bullet-resistant amenities and loungewear, US. Right: Biofire, US

1. Unlocked : The New Normal : Gun Violence in America

Gun violence has reached an epidemic scale in the US. With over 480 mass shootings as of 4 September 2023 alone (source: Gun Violence Archive), Americans, including myself, are desensitised but desperate for a solution.

Until the mid-2000s, we viewed mass shootings as shocking – a major, rare and tragic event that seemingly only happened to a few unlucky people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Until then, I knew each major tragedy by name, from the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado in 1999 to the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012. These shook me to the core, yet I could have never foreshadowed they would become the norm.

Mass shootings don’t just wreak havoc and devastation among survivors. They can trigger a ripple effect of trauma among witnesses, their families, and even people taking in the news. This widespread pain drives a new grief economy in the US, composed of counselling services, support groups, young adult grief clubs on social media, physical memorials and museums. There is even a rise in grief subscription boxes, such as Good Grief and the Loss Box.

Read the unlocked article.

‘Americans feel these stories are important to tell, not only in support of survivors and victims, but as a call to action’
Gucci, New Bond Street, UK

2. Gucci’s New Bond Street flagship store focuses on VIP consumers

UK – Italian luxury giant Gucci opened its new flagship store and exclusive salons on London’s prestigious New Bond Street in September 2023. The 15,000-square-feet megastore, located in a historical Grade II-listed building, marks a significant development in Gucci’s brand strategy.

The store’s layout is designed to prioritise Gucci’s most luxury-focused customers, offering an elevated shopping experience. The ground floor showcases a range of products, including handbags, footwear, fine jewellery and more. But the store’s true innovation lies on its upper levels. The fragrance and timepieces sections are complemented by a mezzanine floor housing the Gucci Valigeria travel collection, while a Tudor Room on this floor will exhibit items from Gucci’s archive in Florence.

The crowning jewel of the store is Europe’s first Gucci Salon on the top floor, which made its debut in Los Angeles earlier this year. This VIP space is designed to resemble an elegant home, and offers made-to-measure and made-to-order pieces, and promotes intimate, personalised interactions with the brand for its top-tier clients. The opening of such a VIP space underlines the growing importance of catering to Guilded Luxury clients in retail, as discussed in Five Luxury Brands Recrafting Heritage In-Store.

3. Fashion Institute of Technology introduces plus-size design courses

US ­– Designing clothes for plus-size bodies can be a challenging task, requiring specific tailoring and pattern-making skills – and education. With the launch of two dedicated courses in autumn 2023, the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) aims to train the plus-size fashion creatives of tomorrow.

The New York-based college is introducing two courses developed by Mallorie Dunn, a plus-size fashion design expert and founder of the clothing brand SmartGlamour. One focuses on small business production while the second centres on inclusive pattern-making. By making its curriculum more inclusive, the FIT hopes to give future fashion industry leaders the tools necessary to push the industry forward in catering for every body. ‘My inclusive class will cover real-life statistics and sizes. Students will also be able to fit their trial pattern and final garment on a plus-size fit model in line with the average plus-size consumer,’ Dunn told Teen Vogue.

While fashion has been making strides in inclusivity, the sector is still riddled with fatphobia. Education is key to bridging the gap between current unrealistic standards and the real needs of a US market where the average consumer is plus size.

Universal Standard, US
Toi Toi Toi Creative Studio for Contentful. Photography by Koy+Winkel, Germany

4. American Gen Z workers plan to change jobs frequently

US – A report by ResumeLab released in September 2023 suggests that young Americans aren’t planning to stick around for long in the workplace. The majority (83%) of all Gen Z workers surveyed consider themselves job-hoppers. Some 77% of those with no degree and 92% of those with a master's degree also consider themselves to be job-hoppers.

ResumeLab surveyed 1,100 US-based workers belonging to Gen Z, defined as the generation born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, to examine their work expectations, demands and habits. Although they seem to be ready to move from job to job, a majority (97%) of the young people surveyed admitted that work is part of their identity.

Contrary to initial impressions, 78% of the Gen Z respondents said they plan to spend between two and five years with their current employer, showing a willingness to grow for several years at the same company.

As explored in our Work States Futures macrotrend, it is up to employers to understand and respond to Gen Z’s various needs to retain them in the long term.

5. How have Bleisure lifestyles radically changed the travel industry?

Bleisure, the pandemic-boosted lifestyle shift combining business and leisure travel, has grown in popularity due to businesses maintaining flexible working policies. The Bleisure tourism industry accounts for almost 33% of the global business travel market, with innovations spanning hotels, co-working spaces and more (source: Future Market Insights). This great merging has unlocked new ways of splitting work and leisure, from which emerges a new lifestyle typology that The Future Laboratory has dubbed the Promad: purposeful, progressive and proactive nomad.

Watch Chris Sanderson, co-founder of The Future Laboratory, offer a brief overview of the trend, and learn more about how the Bleisure category will undergo further radical changes as consumers use the opportunity to extend their stays.

LS:N Global members can find our Bleisure Redefined foresight research here. LSN:Global is the trends and consumer foresight platform that powers The Future Laboratory’s services, which include our highly regarded Strategy team who can help unpack the relevance of Bleisure Redefined specifically for your business. So get in touch with us now to find out how we can help you make a better, more resilient future happen.

The Face Represents (TFR), UK

6. Lifestyle magazine The Face begins multi-functional talent agency

UK – The Face magazine (published under Wasted Talent) has launched The Face Represents (TFR), a one-of-a-kind agency offering bespoke talent representation, curation and artist services.

Intended to bridge the gap between talent, brands and fans, TFR uses The Face’s reputation for finding and platforming under-the-radar talent across the creative industries. The initial roster includes musicians Beabadoobee and Annahstasia, and sustainable fashion designer Freya McKee.

‘For the Face’s entire history, we’ve always been about finding the most talented, forward-thinking people – not just the biggest – and letting them tell their story to a wider audience. But increasingly, the people that we work with are operating outside the system and need to find new ways of connecting with our industry’s most innovative brands,’ managing director Dan Flower told WWD.

As explored in our Elastic Brands report, embracing flexibility and diversifying offerings to remain relevant amid rising inflation and budget cuts is crucial for brands. TFR is the second such initiative for Wasted Talent and The Face, following Accelerator, an in-house TikTok talent agency that was launched in March 2021.

7. Macrotrend Preview
Home States Futures : Residential Retail

With hybrid working becoming the new normal, global retail footfall in decline, and the evanescence of third spaces, there truly is no place like home for brands.

As our offices become more social, intimate and personal, our homes are becoming more collaborative, corporate, commercial and hybrid.
But our living spaces are also becoming the real battleground for brands – with consumers demanding new kinds of intimacy, service and regenerative practices, and brands delivering these through transformative experience and superlative service. 

Our Home States Futures macrotrend will highlight a new approach to viewing the home as an active and concentrated retail and lifestyle eco-system. It will become a hub that brands must target, woo and win over in precise and interconnected ways. To conquer this home-centric market, brands may appoint chief household officers and businesses will need to coordinate conversations, find synergies and create clear cross-selling strategies.

Join our in-house team, invited experts and global panellists at our Home States Futures online event on 19 October 2023 from 4:30pm to 5:30pm BST as we examine the future home – in terms of how we broker time, maximise wellbeing, re-assess usage, reduce waste, embrace data and develop new ways to side-hustle revenues from our sitting rooms.

Ketut Subiyanto

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