WGSN, the global trend authority for the fashion and creative industries, held its first major press event in Cape Town in partnership with some of Africa’s leading creatives, designers and up-and coming trailblazers.
Hosted by WGSN’s Chief Content Officer, Carla Buzasi, and brought to life through a series of experiential installations, the #WGSNinAfrica event allowed media guests to journey through the four key trends that will be at the forefront of African design in 2017 and 2018. This included creative contributions from photographers and creatives Trevor Stuurman, Ed Suter, Gabrielle Kannemeyer and Travys Owen and fashion designers Chu Suwannapha and Nicholas Coutts and Cleo Droomer. ‘The African retail value chain has been significantly disrupted over the past few years and retailers and suppliers need to have a clear point of differentiation and confidence in their design execution,’ says Hannari Slabbert, WGSN regional director for Africa.
‘Added to that is a complex consumer mix who are increasingly influenced by international media and expect a contemporary offering in-store. In 2017, we are significantly expanding our trend content across Africa, focusing on the important social and style movements coming from this continent to help customers make profitable creative decisions to stay ahead of these challenges.’ Starting this spring, WGSN will feature reports on African trends in womenswear, colour, materials, accessories and beauty.
Specifically from South, East, and Western Africa, it will focus on consumer insights, influencers, lifestyle & interiors, and menswear trends. With 7 out of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies being based in Africa (Economist Intelligence Unit), it was a logical step to for WGSN to invest and establish a team on the ground to support its loyal and growing customer base. After opening its new Cape Town office exactly a year ago, it has been building the new local team and establishing its African content strategy for 2017.
The Trends Nocturne
Winter always brings with it a darker mood and sense of melancholy. WGSN calls the 2017 season one of “bittersweet beauty” with a blurring of the boundaries between night and day, a trend that will extend into autumn/winter 2018. Fashion can be sustainable as well as sensual. Disruption and discomfort are central to this trend, which embraces the darkness that comes before light. The colours therefore are a palette of moody night tones and moonlit brights with inky blues, deep purple and berry tones at the fore.
Together with an ever-increasing tendency to turn to screens for everything, our instincts are kicking in and prompting an urge to reconnect with nature. This will play out in a variety of micro- and macroscopic designs and a preference for colours that can ground us. Most notably this trend encompasses the intense colours of the skies just before dawn or dusk as well as gold ochre, saffron, blue flame and dark berry. “As the name ‘Earthed’ suggests, there is a strong link to the farm-to-table movement that now extends to fitting rooms too as fashion becomes increasingly ‘home-grown’ and incorporates more and more local materials,” says Carla Buzasi.
Come summer and renewed youthful vigour always sets in; come summer 2018 and we will be reminded that youth is a state of mind. As the world population ages and Gen Z, Gen X and Boomers live longer than previous generations; we will see eras blending in new ways. Different generations will break the rules of what applies to them and remix styles and lifestyles. It’s about the random, about striking out and finding what fits you. Youth has become a state of mind and everyone wants to be forever young. We will learn to embrace the random and the unfinished, reaching out to untapped areas of influence and exploring beyond social-media feeds as discovery becomes the new exclusivity in spring/summer 2018.
Although this fourth big trend may appear to veer off in a different direction, the move to what WGSN calls Kinship overlaps with all three of the previous trends. It is characterized by an increased sense of community where art and design crosses borders around the globe. Just like the disappearing generation gap, cultures and histories will meld as people continue to move around the world, whether physically or virtually. Kinship is about cultures and collectives that forge an increased sense of community. The curves of the East will increasingly enhance the lines of the West. Storytelling will play an ever more important role in connecting people around products and projects through vivid tales of places, histories and cultures.
To find out more about local and international trends to inspire, see WGSN‘s website.
Images by Niquito Bento