The work process of trend researchers is quite a mystery. You mainly see the output of their research presented in fancy trend books or visual and high-paced trend presentations. But what do you need to get to this final output? The documentary Trend Beacons is lifting the veil (a bit) and shows what’s going on during the trend research process.
What I really like about this documentary is that it shows several points of view on researching trends as different types of trendwatchers are being interviewed. From the more artsy ones, like the RAVAGE duo, to more down-to-earth ones, like Christine Boland. You can also take a sneak peek into the work spaces of these trendwatchers, which varies from a villa in France to a homey office in Amsterdam.
This documentary focuses mostly on trend watching in the design and fashion industry, which is a world on its own. The downside of this focus is that it brings a more elitist and glamorous side of trend research with it, such as living an high-end lifestyle and travelling the globe on a daily basis. It downplays the more strenuous and analytical side of it. You don’t see these trendwatchers doing field research when it’s raining. (yes people, you have to hit the streets also in bad weather). Nor are they searching for hours on the web for that perfect sign of change to show to a specific client.
What you don’t have to do
You really don’t need a villa to work your trend magic. You can start to create a trend corner or trend wall in your room at home or office and collect your inspirational findings in it.
You also don’t have to invest loads of money to travel to far away places to become a great trend watcher. Maybe try starting with travelling in your own neighbourhood or town because change can be spotted just around the corner. Step into that quaint gallery or new store, walk around, have a coffee and a chat. Learn by doing these activities first and expand gradually by moving to another area, another city, another country.
What are trend beacons really about?
What I like though is that these trendwatchers are stressing that their work is not so much about being first the very first to spot an interesting sign of change or a trend. As David Shah puts it, “it’s about piecing the puzzle together, about choosing the right information.” Trend researchers are curators of information rather than oracles that will predict your brands’ future.
You can check the trailer of Trend Beacons above to get a feel of what the documentary will showcase. It has been created by Icelandic directors Örn Marino Arnarson and Thorkell Hardarson. The full documentary is available over here (with Dutch subtitles).