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Need to Know: 2018 Recap

Need to Know

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2 January 2019

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: Piñatex


Over Christmas, our LS:N Global sector specialists hand-picked their top campaigns and consumer behaviours that defined 2018. Here's a key trend from each.

Sharewear by Atacac


The Trend: Immaterial Fashion

With fashion’s credibility on sustainability under scrutiny, and consumers questioning traditional ownership, the last year has seen the industry rethink how to offer fulfilment without subscribing to the fast-fashion, mass-consumption model of the past decade. Our macro-trend Immaterial Fashion identified a new industry model that embraces digitisation at every level, providing brands with the opportunity to push creative boundaries and streamline production processes.

While other industries have embraced digital tools such as 3D rendering, machine learning and artificial intelligence, fashion has remained wedded to tactility and the physical. But a world of immaterial and digital fashion offers opportunities for brands to exert their creativity and connect with consumers through a different medium. ‘I think consuming digitally will be much more sustainable. In that sense, technology can save fashion,’ says Jessica Graves, founder and product scientist at Sefleuria, an agency that uses algorithms to help fashion companies scale sustainably.
Read the full Fashion recap

SCOBY by Roza Janusz, Poland


The Big Idea: Rethinking Plastic

Consumers became increasingly concerned about plastic’s environmental impact in 2018. In response, supermarkets and grocery retailers began to explore plastic-free concepts. British supermarket chain Iceland adopted the world’s first Plastic-free Trust Mark in May, which was created by environmental action group A Plastic Planet to inform consumers and drive demand for plastic-free packaging. ‘Finally, shoppers can be part of the solution not the problem,’ said Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet.

At one of its Amsterdam branches, Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza also introduced a free-from aisle for more than 700 products packaged without plastic. And in London, bulk buying by weight made a return to food retail with the opening of Bulk Market, which offers a wide range of goods that can be either wrapped in paper or taken away in customers’ own re-usable or plastic-free containers.
Read the full Retail recap


The EVERYTHING, Fall/Winter 2018 campaign by KENZO



The Campaign: The Everything by Kenzo

Luxury campaigns took a dramatic twist in 2018, with cinematic experiences dominating brand communications. In the spring, Tiffany & Co.’s, musical-inspired short featuring actress Elle Fanning and rapper A$AP Ferg positioned the brand towards Millennial audiences, while in the autumn, Lexus brought together man and machine with Driven by Intuition, the first luxury campaign written by AI and directed by Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald.

However, it was Kenzo’s 30-minute campaign, The Everything, which set the bar for modern luxury communications. Drawing on the recent popularity of TV shows rooted in fantasy, The Everything took the concept of a fashion film to the next level. Starring Milla Jovovich as its mother figure, the narrative followed a clutch of teenage siblings trying to balance real life with having supernatural powers, each dressed in pieces from Kenzo’s collection.

At a time when luxury fashion creative directors are striving to stand out, it demonstrated the holistic vision of Kenzo’s co-creative director Humberto Leon, who directed the film. ‘I really wanted to give the audience something to feel. With The Everything I think that the viewer can actually walk away with something,’ he said.
Read the full luxury recap


The Interview: Ramaa Mosley on teenage directors

Earlier in the year, we discussed the rise of Generation Z-led think tanks with Ramaa Mosley, the founder of youth advertising and production agency Adolescent. With young people already creating content from an early age, Mosley believes there is an opportunity for brands to trust a teen with their entire advertising and marketing campaigns.

‘We help brands and entertainment companies to reach a youth audience by using young, Generation Z creators,’ explained Mosley. ‘The youngest talent that we have represented was 11, but they tend to be aged between 13 and 24. We represent prodigies who become masters, and then we move them into developing features and tv shows.’

‘We offer brands think tanks, where we put together a curated group of teenagers who already understand and love the brand. We then go through a process of ideation, pulling research and notes and creative concepts,’ said Mosley. ‘When our young people make the content, it’s their voice. It’s beautifully made. It’s high production values, but it’s authentically their vision, which is more likely to hit home with a youth audience.’
Read the full youth recap

Photography by Abigail Berger
Glossier Flagship, New York

Beauty & Wellness

The Space: Glossier’s flagship store

With the success of bricks-and-mortar retail no longer determined by sales per square foot, the digital first beauty brand Glossier has created an inspirational space that enables customers to experience it’s brand values on a deeper, physical level.

The two-storey space in New York’s SoHo district was originally a shoppable showroom attached to its office, but Glossier and design agency Gachot Studios have transformed it into a brand experience and community space with ‘offline editors’ who encourage customers to use the store as a place to experiment with beauty. ‘It’s encouraging people not to shop the space but use the space,' says Christine Gachot, co-founder of Gachot Studios.

The flagship offers a sensory way to shop and socialise. Its interior taps into Glossier's Millennial pink branding, while its Wet Bar and Boy Brow Room allow visitors to test out products without restrictions. Building on the hype for Instagrammable retail spaces, it also features a selfie-ready 23ft-long red sofa that doubles as a communal relaxation space for shoppers.
Read the full beauty & wellness recap

The Lobby Bar cocktails at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles

Food & Drink

The Trend: Uprooted Diets

Throughout 2018, we kept a keen eye on the news around Brexit and how it might affect the nation’s food supply chain. It was the basis for our last macro trend of the year, Uprooted Diets, which examines how politics is affecting our access to the global pantry, why climate change is changing what ends up on our plates.

The trend, which will also dominate the conversation in 2019, offers context on how consumer diets have shifted thanks to a global network of supply chains, but also questions what might happen when these networks are compromised. While nationalist policies and hotter climes are forcing us to rethink where our food comes from, there will be exciting new narratives emerging around provenance and what sense of place for food and drink truly means.
Read the full food & drink recap

To find out the 50 consumer trends that will affect your brand in 2019, download our Future Forecast report here.

Visit The Future Laboratory's forecasting platforLS:N Global for daily news, opinions, trends, sector specific insights, and strategic toolkits.



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