“Trend Beacons” was such an interesting film to watch as a TMD student. There is so much more behind trends and forecasting than most people realize, including me. It was also a bit easier to follow along with the film as there were connections to our course material. The first connection I found was when they were explaining how to discover trends one must connect the dots that surround us. Trends are made out of puzzle pieces that are around us everyday, we just need to piece them together and see them. This made me think of Geertz and his thoughts on webs of significance. Additionally, Geertz’s thoughts on how culture is public and how although it is an idea it can be physical and tangible, just like a trend. The second connection I found was when the idea of how one must find the point at when one should join/ride the wave and follow it to the end. This was a way to explain the Zeitgeist and how people adapt and accept trends, which we have discussed during class periods. The third connection I found was the mention of ideas of nostalgia. This was mentioned in the film in the context of how trends of the past are still present in the here and now and will continue into the future, which connects to Baudrillard and the idea of nostalgia. We take these “nostalgic” trends and bring them back, but not fully understanding the context in which they were popular. We take the past and put it into the present, which makes it like the past is not itself.
I enjoyed making connections with the information that we had gone over in class and that we learned new and interesting ideas as well. One new interesting thing that I learned was that you cannot actually make a trend, it is something that emerges. This was new to me because it is something that I never really thought about in depth. Also, I had this feeling that high-end designers were the ones who sort of made the decisions on trends, but this is not so. Another interesting thing I learned from the documentary was the idea of how we should learn from nature and eco-systems. This seems quite crazy to me because there are so many people who claim that the idea of global warming is a myth and that the environment should not be a priority. This video disputed that and gave good reasons as to why. They showed a new and interesting perspective to the situation. The third interesting thing that I learned from this documentary was the fact that once a trend becomes popular and adapted by the masses, people don’t want it anymore and look for something new. I find this to be very interesting because the hope of an emerging trend is to be adopted by a large group of people and accepted. It seems as if when this happens, it is both positive and negative. Positive as you have accomplished just that, but negative as people will soon want another trend to look to after that one has reached its peak. It is a very interesting phenomenon.
With the interesting points that I found in the film, I also found ones that were a little difficult to understand. One difficult point was the differences on how trend forecasters keep their information. We saw that one pair of forecasters kept their information a total secret while another said that he did not believe in that. I can see how you would want to keep the information a secret as you do not want anyone to steal your work, but at the same time I do not. Eventually people will receive the information, I don’t quite understand the secrecy. Another difficult point was when one trend forecaster mentioned the idea of arithmetic being used to predict trends. Since he did not go into detail about how this could be done, there was confusion for me. Also I question whether this would be a more accurate way to predict than by humans. It is an interesting idea to call into question. The third difficult point was how it was mentioned that young designers have a better mindset in working together and with others and how they better understand the ideas of sustainability and trust. I am confused by this, because I am not sure that I see this within the fashion industry presently. There have been efforts to make garments eco-chic, but not at the magnitude they seem to think in the video.
The three points to take away from this documentary would be: 1) Trend forecasts are meant to be inspirational. They are not something to be copied exactly, they are to inspire you to create something different. 2) Once a trend is accepted by the masses, we look for something new. This is important to keep in mind, because trend forecasters must always be working. Their job is constant and you cannot just pause because your trend has “worked out”, you must keep going. 3) We must begin a transition from ego> eco. We must learn to work together instead of just finding individual success. We also must learn from our environment and work to preserve it.
I think to explain what I learned from this documentary to a TMD student who has not taken this class yet would not be as difficult as one might think. I would really just explain to them the interesting points that I wrote above and try to have a conversation and talk about why I thought they were interesting. Maybe they could provide some more insight on the matter. I would also tell them about the points from the documentary that I found difficult. Again, they could have a different perspective and may be able to help me understand the confusing concepts better. The main thing they would not be able to understand are the authors that we have covered in class. This is simply because they probably do not already know about them and have not had in depth information about them. That will just have to be something they learn when they take TMD 424.