Got my laptop, 3 suitcases, a ticket to NYC. Yep, ready to launch myself into the Big Apple. I settle in South Williamsburg, where there are spectacular views on Manhattan, lots of hipster-ish Brooklynites and where all the new brands want to be: the perfect hub for some trend-spotting.
Here are my thoughts and observations on what’s buzzing in New York after 3 weeks of being here.
- Super Short Hair, Don’t Care.
Inspired by the bi-sexual R&B star Frank Ocean or Stranger Things’ cool girl Eleven? Was Britney just ahead of the curve? Who knows? But one thing is for sure — the buzz cut is spotted in New York and is making its way into the rest of the world, for men and women alike. And the brighter the hair, the better too.
Why this is happening now?: Traditionally, your hairstyle has been a way to define your gender: Longer hair — woman, short hair — man. Silly, right? But as we all know, in the recent decades, gender role have been merging and so appearances and looks have become fluid too: fashion houses launch androgynous collections, bi-sexual celebrities are celebrated and equally, the buzz cut is rising. It’s the new hairstyle that makes the statement of: ‘this is me in all my glory and beauty — without hair or gender stereotyping to distract from who I really am.’
Takeaway thought: Consider designing with a more open mind or a gender neutral approach
2. Rosé, All Day
Shops, retailers, supermarkets, pop-up shops: The city of New York is painted in pink this summer — (and not the millennial kind of pink but rosé kind of pink). With the Fat Jewish as one of the early adopters launching the bold “White Girl Rosé”, the pinkish wine now also shows up in all other shapes and forms: from beautifully designed cans to forty ounce bottles.
Why this is happening now: Typically known as a ‘girly’ drink, Rosé is now seen everywhere due to an influx of demand from men. e.g. Rosé Mansion, a pop-up near Times Square regularly welcomes numerous men and their mates to drink unlimited rosé after work for $45; Forty Ounce Rosé sells rosé in a masculine forty ounce packs. As gender roles are merging, consumers are no longer restricted to buy products targeted at gender stereotypes and men are more than happy to have a pink bubbly drink for the summer.
Takeaway thought: Pink is no longer “feminine”. Don’t feel restrained by visual codes that are gender stereotyping when designing for your brand.
3. The Naked Escape
A recent obsession around here. Increasingly, people flock to nude experiences like nacations (naked vacations) or Naked in Motion (naked yoga), so they can finally experience complete freedom and be themselves. “Our clothing tells people who we are, but when you can walk around naked in all of your truth there’s power in that for people.” — Dr, Sanam Hafeez, Neuropsychologist.
Why is this happening now? The recent obsession with nudity and showing more skin probably derives from people being tired of the perfect lives and perfect products that is expected from them. Consumers are desiring for things that are ‘good-enough’, in its purest form, including all the imperfections — stripping brands, products and themselves from everything in order to pursue pure self-expression and freedom to simply be. Consumers now feel happiest and most confident when being bare and naked, quite literally.
Takeaway thought: Learn to embrace your imperfections as consumers are not only accepting of it, they are seeking it. It makes us all human and relatable.
4. Fashionably Transparent
What’s going on with transparent fashion items? Chanel and Cult Gaia have been producing handbags where you can see everything; Fashionistas are wearing see-through shirts with nipple stickers only; Rimowa recently produced a translucent suitcase. Consumers are increasingly seeking products and fashion items that are transparent with the intention to expose their belongings and put their stuff on display.
Why this is happening now: The speed at which fashion, brands and trends are traveling means that it is almost impossible to possess something that is truly unique. Consumers are craving products and accessories that express their identity like no one else can: Personalisation 3.0 - With transparent accessories, no-one can replicate you because what is underneath it or in it, is 100% yours and yours only. Added bonus: this type of personalisation is really fluid as it looks different every time you wear it.
Takeaway thought: Personalisation is no longer just about having a name printed on it. Think about how your brand can personalise products for your consumer in a truly unique, fluid and relevant way.