December 13, 2017

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Retail Lab @ Glee: Interview with WGSN’s Lisa White

Lab
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As Head and Creative Director of WGSN Lifestyle & Interiors, Lisa White and her team run the only B2B trend forecasting website focused on interiors and product design. Lisa was part of the team Retail Lab, a must-see part of Glee 2017. Here we talk to her about trends and how they can influence the decision of the consumer.

Can you tell me more about the lifecycle of trends – why do some take hold, whilst some wither and disappear as quickly as they appeared?

I would describe trends as something that is going to be long term, anything less and it’s merely a fad.  A trend is where you take a look at how people are living and how society is changing. They start and spread through innovators in fashion, media and influential figures in an industry.

A good example to demonstrate this is the colour ‘green’, this trend has been taking place for almost 20 years.  In the beginning green was seen as a wishy-washy colour and people didn’t like it as it was perceived to be bad luck.  Now we see green everywhere, and people want the colour everywhere in their lives.  Yellow was also seen as hard to wear and perceived as too strong a colour, yet has now become a trend as people want warmth and happiness around them.

Looking at the Diffusion Model relating to trends, how do you think the trends in the Retail Lab @ Glee will work on this graph – will the timescale from new product to establish products/concepts be short or more long-term?

The Diffusion Model is when a new idea or new product is accepted by the market and the speed with which the new idea spreads from one person to the next. The trends we have chosen for the Retail Lab are long-term.  People want to feel part of a community and the essence of family is extremely important too, something garden centres can capitalise on when putting projects together, Grow-Your-Own is a great example of this.

Even though people can be split around the around the world, there is still a desire to be together and share moments.  Wellness is a global trend and focuses on health and well-being which outdoor activities such as gardening can have, whilst Re-Wilding looks at how people want to get back to nature and enjoy the environment around them.  The curve on the graph has slow and long but is picking up speed now and will hit a peak over the next 10 years.

How do you translate trends and identify those that you believe will ‘stick’?

Lifestyle trends often starts off as experimental.  For example, wellness in food will see people experiment with, and try different things before they come into fashion.  People start eating more salads and drinking more smoothies to feel healthier and better in themselves.  Then you see the colours from the food and drink coming into the interior and into fashion. When something becomes popular and makes people feel good, they then want to surround ourselves with and it’s amazing how one factor in our lives can influence another.

Are all trends translatable for all industries? How have you decided upon those trends that will best work within a garden retail environment?

Trends are translatable for all industries, especially the garden environment.  One of the trends for 2018 is ‘Slow Futures’ which will see people want to slow down. They want to take a look at good things from the past and learn to slow down more in the future. In gardening, this trend will be seen with the resurgence of heirloom vegetables, vintage roses and “forgotten” flowers like marigolds, dahlias and zinnias.

There is also an upcoming trend called “Youth Tonic” where we will see Millennials wanting brighter colours in the garden. What is important to know is that for new generations, it is no longer about the experienced gardener but about the gardening experience. People want to enjoy doing everything they used to do inside outside: eating, relaxing, playing and even working in the garden.

What influences the power of trends – economic, lifestyle, environmental? Or are some as simple as colour or material for example? 

All of the above!  For a real trend to be powerful, it is fed by economics, politics, sustainability and social media.  Everything influences trends, it can be as simple how you took the Tube this morning or something your grandmother said to you. We are definitely seeing a trend of going back to nature and the garden becoming more colourful and playful.

How influenced are home colour trends by the fashion industry?

Everything influences everything else and goes back and forth.  The catwalks for S/S18 are set to feature a lot of interesting and powerful pastel colours and I expect to see these translated into the home and garden.

Of the trends highlighted in the Retail Lab @ Glee, which one/s are you most excited about?

Wellness, because gardening involves the individual, the family and the community and contributes to physical, mental and even spiritual health!

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