Written by StyleXplorer, Brian Hawkins
As we pass from the first into the second decade of the 21st Century, we at StyleXplorers have noted a lack of predictions and perhaps curiosity for what lies ahead in the next 10 years. Perhaps this can be blamed upon the fact that time and change have accelerated to the point that a decade is no longer a gauge of a period of time that binds lifestyle culture etc. It also begs the question as well whether generations are next to morph into less defined time periods.
Short of an answer as to why the lack of curiosity, we did canvass and received feedback from our members the world over. This editorial is a brief overview of our findings and predictions. Discover why StyleXplorers finds numerous parallels between previous decades that happen to have fallen in thirty-year intervals, from the 1890’s, 1920’s, 1950s and 1980’s. The common roots of these decades are transition from decades of war and economic strife.
ECONOMY: MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
In the last two years since the beginning of the financial crisis, Corporations have amassed cash reserves at relative levels not seen since the 1960’s. The consensus is that as the global economy recovers, these companies will begin to invest in other corporate entities to increase market access and share. The twist? Rather than eliminating competition, the focus will be on vertical integration and product/service expansion.
POLITICS: WOMEN OVER WARLORDS
From Angela Merkel in Germany to Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in Argentina women are rising in political power, stature and influence. Others may rise to leadership, breaking glass ceilings from Italy to the United States. On the decline, despot leaders from Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Chavez in Venezuela, and Kim Jong Il of North Korea, and the Castro brothers of Cuba. Globalization, communication, and the aging of these archaic icons of despotism are converging to their eventual demise.
CULTURE: NATIONALISM & NATIVISM
A nationalistic wind is blowing across Europe as decades of regional economic integration, immigration, and counter-cultural progressivism have consumed the content. The nationalist trend crosses from fashion, music, architecture, design, advertising, branding, manufacture and politics.
TECHNOLOGY: BOUNDLESS & BORDERLESS
Consumers will no longer be pent up by confines such as cable, media and telecoms providers. Electronics manufacturers and government regulators will be only too happy to facilitate this movement. Apple, Motorola and Google will continue their expansive development of product and market in a global marketplace where Asian and one notable Scandinavian manufacturer seemed to dominate just 3 short years ago.
FASHION: NOSTALGIC & CRAFTED
Consumers will continue to seek the unique and boutique as they look back to brighter times, look for influences that cross from each of the thirty year “extraordinary” decades, in particular the 1950’s and 1980’s. Hand craft, local content, and vertical integration leading rise to a resurgence of in-country sourcing and manufacture.
RELIGION: PERSONAL & PURPOSEFUL
The religious are seeking more personal connection to their places of worship, in spite of a trend in Asia, Europe and South America in recent years, the combination of economic strife, cultural resurgence, and a return to tradition will reverse the trend in many regions. As this occurs there will be change not seen in half a century as religions connect more and listen more to their followers.
GEO-POLITICS: RISE & FALL
This decade will present challenges wrought by the continuing weakening of the alliances formed after World War II and the rise of pacts between rogue and rebellious states including North Korea, Venezuela, Argentina, and Cuba often with the backing of the Chinese and Russians. Africa is now the resource that fuels a hungry Chinese market. Southern Africa is leading the way in a move towards democracy and free market reform, with South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and Angola leading a tide contrary to that in Zimbabwe. Beyond the Middle East, look for hot spots such as the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands to rise in the news.
LIFESTYLE: FAMILY & FRIENDS
Family will take on renewed importance also reversing the trend of the past 30 years. Today’s families come in more shapes, sizes and types than ever before and the changing face of these families will go hand in hand with a realization that no matter the form, the function of family is most important. By mid-decade thanks to and in reaction against social networks such as Facebook, friends will connect and maintain contact online but spend more time in-person and recreating together.
SPORTS: BASKETS & BRANDS
The popularity of basketball will continue to expand across the globe, particularly in China as that market tops the US as the top grossing market for the sport in terms of merchandising and the NBA finals become a global affair. Look for Nike and later upstart Chinese manufacturers join the competitive fray.
ARTS: DEMOCRACY & ACCESS
The arts will continue to move beyond the top echelons of the market. The visual, recording, literary, and performing arts will increasingly emanate from street and café alike. Driven by the power of social media and the public’s desire to express themselves in numerous artistic ways, look for the expansion of the arts to lead freedom of expression, political change and product design.