Knowing what a customer will want before they even know it themselves is the key to success for those who create and produce consumer goods. What we wear, where we live, what we eat, what we enjoy… Being the first to know all the parameters that will govern future behavior is a considerable competitive advantage. This year, gray and yellow will be honored in decoration. And then will come the return of boho chic to center stage. But what is this trend? And why these colors? Who decides what will be the decoration trends of the months and years to come. How and by whom are they defined from one year to the next?
Who is far-sighted enough to predict colors and materials that will be popular in the years to come, but who is also able to be accurate in their predictions of shopping habits and lifestyle? What is the profession that allows us to better understand the values of current consumers and their future desires? These are agencies called style offices. Their role is very important because the work of these trend hunters conditions what many brands market.
What is a style office?
Located upstream of the chain of manufacturers and producers, the style offices devote their activity to considering, detecting and analyzing what will be the trends of the coming years. These are companies with multidisciplinary teams with creatives, sociologists, linguists, art historians who observe and anticipate consumer behavior. The best known are called Peclers, Nelly Rodi, Carlin, Promostyl and most of them have existed for several decades. Over time, their forecasts have become essential for design, fashion and decoration companies. Some like Pantone or Dulux are dedicated to the field of color. These two companies are the most influential in terms of shades: they are the ones that put one or more colors in the spotlight each year. These style offices are also present at the biggest professional decoration shows where they announce their forecasts. These presentations are intended to be almost theatrical, between strong emotions and closeness. This has an enormous influence on many brands, whether they are in the field of fashion, telecommunications, sports or other.
What is a trend book?
Several years in advance, these style offices establish trend books which aim to get as close as possible to the end consumer to better stick to what inspires them. The style office teams are on the lookout, they sniff out and capture what’s in tune with the times. They observe as much as they predict and shape tomorrow’s fashions. Brands rely heavily on these trend books, but some, at the forefront, even go so far as to initiate them. What do we find in these trend books sold at exorbitant prices (several thousand euros)? Shades and patterns that are on the rise, fabric samples, designs, texts with keywords. Iconographic research is important here. The aim of these trendbooks is to provide a resource that will inspire manufacturers. The style office by this trend book anticipates the colors, textures and concepts that will be at the origin of the trends of the years to come. The trend book is created from images that lead to a creative journey that allows you to create new concepts and explore new ideas.
Why are style offices influential?
Most of them have existed for many years, they are established in the world of fashion, design and decoration and their expertise is now authentic. These “trenders” create various possible scenarios that will be taken up by many brands. They play a vital role in the design, decoration and fashion industry and represent a gigantic annual market. From the largest groups to small structures, companies are asking for their recommendations in order to establish their collections. Style offices have reassuring know-how and multi-sector activity for their clients. They support the brands in their choices. But today, due to hyperconnectivity, the work of certain style offices has lost its value. Because in the age of the Internet and social networks, it is easier to have access to forecasts. However, even if you can find snippets of what the short-term trends will be, in the next few months, it will be less obvious for you to know more about the medium-term trends – up to three years, or even long-term. Style offices still have a bright future ahead of them, even if technologies such as Big Data or Artificial Intelligence could one day analyze trends for them. While waiting for these technologies to prove themselves creative, style offices still have great added value within design, fashion and decoration companies.