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Next big trends |


Next big trends

ARMY OF ME - The Philippine Star

Zoom! I’m not certain whether or not another year passing should make such a cartoon-like noise, but 2015 definitely sounded like that. We’ve all been peddled the cliché that time flies when you’re having fun. It’s true, though: just when you’ve gotten the hang of something — a trend, for instance — it doesn’t take long before you’re driven by some unseen force to pay attention, cotton on and possibly get into another thing yet again. Case in point: 2016 has barely begun and some interesting themes and ideas are already on the rise.

So much has been said about the hipster in the last handful of years that bringing up the topic today, even as a joke, seems woefully passé. But David Mattin, head of trends and insights at, believes that post-hipsters have already begun to emerge. According to him and his network of trend spotters, “Brand Fanatics are the anti-hipsters because they engage in loud, enthusiastic, sometimes absurd, and very public celebration of the brands they love.”

He cites a few examples, from McDonald’s in Sweden launching a line of burger-themed thermal underwear to consumers in Malaysia dressing up as their favorite Ikea products and sending photos to the brand via Facebook. In Helsinki, I’ve witnessed artistic versions of this trend. Finnish artist Jani Leinonen takes images, symbols and iconography associated with food and consumer culture — from Ronald McDonald and Tony the Tiger to Burger King — satirizes them and dismantles their marketing strategies. The shop at the Kiasma, the leading contemporary art museum in Finland, features items bearing subverted logos of popular global companies such as — again — Ikea.

As Mattin explains, “Brand Fanaticism is a reaction against hipsterism that instead asserts: ‘I am so enlightened that I use brands as my plaything, joyfully reveling in the absurdity of consumerism while remaining entirely in control.’” It will be fascinating how this takes off, if it does at all, and evolves in 2016 and beyond.





To Ben Hammersley, meanwhile, contextual computing is set to change our lives in the coming months. “Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook are all working on phone-based personal assistants that will bring us the information we need when and where we need it,” he writes in the December 2015/January 2016 issue of British Airways’ Business Life. The principal of Hammersley Futures, a Los Angeles-based futures consultancy, believes, however, that there’s a tension between “the services we’ll soon be able to use and the information we have to give them for those services to work.” Whether people will be as trusting with this sort of personal data remains to be seen.

If Monocle’s Forecast issue for 2016 is to be believed, there appears to be a new breed of foreigners who are actively seeking out lives abroad. “Roamers,” as writer CM Patha calls them, are “highly educated and globally minded” individuals who “make an active choice to live internationally so they can find better careers, more intellectual stimulation or simply more adventure abroad.” Unlike immigrants, who build ties to countries, or expats, who tend to repatriate, roamers pursue personal or professional goals unfettered by national borders.    

According to Patha, whose book Roaming: Living and Working Abroad in the 21st Century comes out this month, the world’s major cities are beginning to recognize the opportunity that comes with attracting large numbers of foreign-born residents. As these global urban sprawls rely on roamers to feed their growing economies, perhaps the number of vagabond professionals will soar in the near future. Whoosh!



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