Cloudy with a chance of mall goth: trend forecasting with…

Connect with us

How has the growth of trend analysis on TikTok changed the game?

I would definitely say trend forecasting has become kind of a content vertical in its own right now, and K‑Hole was part of that and I’m part of that and the new wave of TikTok video trend analysis is the next frontier.

I quite enjoy the TikTok trend analysis because it gets back to old school trend forecasting in magazines. It’s microscopic and picking through purchasing decisions with people, but it’s also kind of fun and candy. That’s one of the things I always think about trend forecasting – it’s supposed to be inherently a bit pop and a bit entertaining.

It also sort of follows the general trend of social media – that the internet personality is that primary content form. I have had weird interactions with people where they would be like: Well, you don’t look very normcore.” I never said I looked normcore, I just wrote about it. But more recently I have noticed that people have a harder time distinguishing between the person and the writing.

What are the most common misconceptions around trends currently?

I think that most people think of trends in terms of micro-phenomena, which I would call fads. If you think about trend forecasting, it’s kind of like a lens, right? So you can either zoom in really, really close or zoom out really, really far. If you zoom in really, really close you get a beauty influencer haul video talking about which colour palettes are going to be most successful in the next two to three months. And that tends to have a direct effect on what people are doing in a very short term… These things move very fast, but I am a little sceptical about the impact that they have. I think Covid gave us a lot of these weird micro trends. We got sea shanties, and sourdough bread. To me, these are fads, they’re not part of a bigger cultural shift.

There’s lots of talk that trends are dead

I don’t agree with that. I think we’re just living through a kind of weird time because we’ve fully shifted from a print media ecosystem to a digital first media ecosystem, and I think we’re still kind of figuring out what that means.

When the telegraph was invented [in the 1830s], suddenly there was an appetite for more daily, more frequent sources of information. Similarly, with social media, we have daily memes that trend, programmed by Twitter and the trending bar.

How does it feel when a term you come up with goes viral?

Like you don’t own it anymore. They made a reality TV show about Dimes Square [the trendy, Manhattan micro-neighbourhood” featured in The Come Up] and I watched it last night. I was like: Oh, God, I really hope they don’t say the vibe shift”. There’s a really high possibility that they will at some point.

The terms that tend to go viral are the ones that have enough ambiguity that people can kind of fashion them for their own purposes… There’s a weird period of people being like: This term is stupid. I hate it. I don’t know what it means. Bullshit.” And then it kind of just somehow sinks into everyday vernacular. Normcore was the runner up for the Oxford English Dictionary word of the year in 2014.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *