What do jeans, trench coats and a little black dress all have in common? A place of honor in our wardrobes, that’s for sure. And it’s no accident – the three are timeless trends that have stuck around for decades already.
The idea that trends can last for decades seems counterintuitive, but Israeli trend forecaster Nataly Izchukov is quick to negate this impression.
“A trend is a state of mind, a very, very wide perspective that begins in the margins and slowly reaches the masses,” she explains. “A trend undergoes evolution and is here to stay. People always think it comes and goes, but that’s actually a mistake. It develops and updates, and it’s here to stay.”
Izchukov certainly knows what she’s talking about. In 2014, she founded The Visionary, a Tel Aviv lifestyle and design trend forecasting agency that deciphers for its customers the way the wind is blowing.
She and her business partner, Lior Fisher Shiloni, also expose the Israeli public to the art of trend forecasting and even pass on their knowledge in a first-of-its kind local “trendology” school.
Why is bright yellow in this year?
Forecasting the future, Izchukov explains, begins in researching the past. To make predictions, she and her team read and look up everything that happened in the past year or so across the world, from politics and economics to natural disasters, cinema and fashion.
“You begin understanding what took place and what its effects were,” she says. “A lot of times we look at the world, at events, and try to understand how it will affect aesthetics and designs.”
“For example, one of the leading trends for the summer of 2020 is going to be acid-bright colors,” she says. Its source of influence? The yellow vests movement in Paris.
The second step in trend forecasting is social research, which involves identifying their clients’ audience and what interests them on social networks and in the media.
The third step is what Izchukov calls iconography, the interpretation of the findings in a more abstract and atmospheric way. This all leads to conclusions regarding the megatrends relevant for their customers and the microtrends that ensue.
One such example, Izchukov notes, is the trend of older solo women travelers. Rising numbers of older women are now jet-setting off by themselves but are still looking to feel safe and secure and have a sense of community on their travels.
This translates into many different microtrends for Izchukov’s clients, for example how hotels are decorated and the color palette that best suit their guests.
Trends vs. fads
The biggest example of a megatrend, however, has to be sustainability.
As Izchukov keenly stresses, not only are trends not in contradiction with sustainability, but sustainability is itself a trend.
“It deals with promoting the status of women, with poverty, with education, it’s a very, very wide issue. People think it only deals with ecology and recycling, but it’s very wide.”
Fads, on the other hand, are not sustainable. Fadsenter and exit our lives quickly. Top examples of fads, Izchukov notes, are Kardashian-style cycling shorts, the 1990s digital pet Tamagotchicraze and a recent favorite – handheld spinners.
By contrast, a trend can take three to four years to go mainstream. Not all Israeli businesses have patience for such a process.
“They mostly want us to create fads, but we’re really seeing a change developing in 2020. The biggest change is the extreme climate happening across the world,” she says. “What happened now in Australia [with widespread bushfires] is one of these extreme cases that made people say, ‘Okay, there’s a problem here. ’There was great denial of the topic among companies.”
The emphasis on sustainability is causing apprehension in the Israeli business scene, she says. One of the problems is the high cost of creating sustainable fashion.
“The product ends up being expensive and people don’t really want to spend that money on it,” Izchukov says.
“There’s still a gap between the goodwill of people for the world to be a better place, and people wanting a good and attractive price, and you have to think how to bridge it.”
Fashion, food, hospitality trends
Yet change is in the air. Izchukov predicts some big trends for the coming decade in Israel in fashion, food and hospitality.
“In fashion, a few very substantial things are going to happen. Mostly companies that will change their appearance and their production lines in a more sustainable, ecological and recycling direction,” she says. “There’ll be fewer stores but these will include a lot more content and information that is beyond fashion.”
Another welcome trend over the next five or six years, she says, will be the greater inclusion of people with disabilities in the fashion world. This is in line with the global trend for inclusivity, which sees fashion houses employing ambassadors of all sexes, genders, religions and sizes.
In the notoriously expensive Israeli hospitality sector, we can expect “the substantial entry of more hostels and of very affordable hotels,” she says. “They’ll try to create a very interesting experience in their locations in terms of the customer and the hotel itself.”
Izchukov predicts that food trends will increasingly go in the direction of“how we can eat in a healthier manner that precisely matches our needs and our bodies.”
“There’s also an attempt to understand what each person wants,” she notes. “Artificial intelligence will greatly help to resolve the issues of need and of customization.”
Food is also a great example of the impact local cultures have on trends. Izchukov notes the failure of American companies such as Starbucks to succeed in Israel.
While Israelis like to think that the global giant failed here because the local coffee is far superior, Izchukov suggests it has more to do with the Israeli state of mind. Self-service, waiter-less eateries are a doomed business model in Israel, she says, because locals much prefer personal attention.
Let’s say we don’t see that changing any time soon.