Trends For 2011!

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For those of you old enough to remember the book Megatrends, published in the early 1980’s, the concept of trend forecasting has become almost passé, what with the ever-increasing speed of change. Back in the ‘80’s, it was so new and futuristic; an almost eerie look at what could be the Ghost of Christmas future. Most of us just figured we’d let it happen when it happened.

I was fascinated by this segment from ABC News and its companion web article by Karen Compton but, admittedly, I had to look up a lot of the websites and terms as I am not living on the edge or in the know about each new “thang” that grabs the masses. The segment featured Jane Buckingham’s tidy summary of her firm’s research on what’s big in 2011. If you’re like me and need a little definition of these new-fangled terms, phrases and social behaviors and don’t want to go hunting through the web, here’s my review complete with some explanations yet edited, categorized, and with a little personal commentary:

Social Culture                                                            

  • In 2010, it was social networking. 2011 brings “social buying” – a technological update of the group discount. Capitalizing on the “Flash Sale” concept, people group together and buy products or services they like for a discount but in a short timeframe – “I get a piece of what you buy” sums up Buckingham. Groupon wasn’t mentioned but that’s been one of the most well-known sites. Lockerz.com, a homepage for people to find community, shop and play, is the next big thing. Plumdistrict.comhas items for savvy moms and ideeli.comis a very popular apparel shopping site for women.  

  • In 2010, it was living online, owning everything on your computer, which is mostly parked at your desk. 2011’s term is “Living in the cloud”, or connecting wherever you are via your mobile. Apple’s Mobile Me keeps your mail, contacts, and calendar information in the cloud and syncs the data across your various information tools (iPhone, iPad, computer, etc.). Flikr stores your photos, Grooveshark is your music library and listening room.

Food

  • In 2010, it was fish tacos (news to me). 2011 brings… fried chicken? Apparently, tried and true comfort foods trump sophisticated, healthy dishes.

  • In 2010, it was cupcakes. 2011 brings (back) pies. Pies are an old standard, definitely easy to make and so enjoyable. Heck I make them all summer long.

  • In 2010, people amped up with energy drinks like Red Bull. 2011 is reversing that trend with relaxation drinks such as Goji berry juice and Dreamwater, which has natural sleep-enhancing ingredients.

  • Food industry news: 2010 brought Food Trucks mainly in large cities – the ice cream truck concept but with high-end dinner menus at reasonable price points. 2011’s newest is the delightful kitchen gardens at restaurants from which they harvest ingredients for their recipes. There’s even a soup kitchen in Atlanta with its own food garden just outside for seasonal produce.

  • 2010’s “Locavore” (local food buyers and eaters) will become 2011’s “Vegivore”. Pimping vegetables? Just kidding, this illustrates the simple discovery that deliciously-prepared veggies are actually good.

  • 2010’s bacon in everything — a detail I somehow missed this year– is giving way to 2011’s quinoa(pronounced keen-wah), a high-protein grain alternative to wheat and rice, of South American origin.

Literature

  • (This was my personal favorite) 2010 celebrated the “Twilight” four-book saga and film franchise and, while it is still holding with a fourth and final film due out next summer, 2011 brings “The Hunger Games” trilogy. Definitely more for middle school age on up, this story is set in post-apocalyptic North America in which adolescents use survival skills in a competition to the death in a totalitarian regime. The Hunger Games is now being read by the moms and rumored to be in preproduction for a film.

Fashion

  • 2010 saw military styles, leopard designs, and wedge shoes. Chanel’s deep green nail polish morphs in 2011 to black pearl iridescent color. Also lace, honeysuckle pink, and kitten heels (thin but low) with pointy toes.

  • Hair – 2010’s Snooki Poof (what we Oldies used to call teased; currently the “Jersey Shore” Guidette uber- poof worn by Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi) changes to 2011’s new signature look, the Pixie Cut (think Emma Watson’s post Harry Potter look or Rihanna’s cropped cut, each remakes of Mia Farrow and Twiggy).

  • From 2010’s Jeggings (jeans so skinny they look like leggings) to Lowbells(basically we’re back full circle to where we’ve been for the last decade: low-rise bell bottoms. Good thing, they work for most body styles anyway whereas jeggings work only for the very slim).

  • 2010 tried to dabble in the 1980s styles and 2011 returns us to the 1970s. Thank God, thank God, thank God – the eighties don’t deserve a comeback. A blight on our fashion history. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

Technology

  • 2010’s apps for fun become 2011’s apps for happiness and smarts, such as iPhones’ Live Happyand Mappiness. One is part of positive psychology’s effort to boost happiness activities in people’s daily lives while the other maps your contentedness factor.

  • 2010’s 3D movie craze — we can thank “Avatar” for that — to 2011’s 3D-TV (‘nuff said)

  • In the gaming world, 2010 continued to be saturated with Nintendo Wii, but in 2011 will see Kinect — Microsoft’s Xbox-360 console’s newest product roll-out. No nun chucks or remotes required; it’s a controller-free gaming experience with a webcam-style add-on peripheral that enables your body to be the new controller. Gestures and spoken commands make things happen.

Philanthropy…and technology

  • 2010 brought text donations (Haitian earthquake); 2011 celebrates micro-funding, a means to invest on a small scale in startups with no industry reputation or limited access to venture capital companies, or in inventors or poor individuals who have no credit but lots of ambition and work ethic. Especially good for women in developing countries that have patriarchal systems that stack the financial and business odds against them.

Pop Culture

  • 2010 saturated us with Twilight’s vampires. 2011 brings… Zombies? Yes, zombies. This reflects upon the zombie films out this past year and speaks to the largely unknown but apparently thriving horror subculture. There are even zombie proms!

  • 2010’s Silly Bandz, the rubber band bracelet that’s become the kids’ fashion accessory du jour, shrink in size in 2011 to Silly Rings. My generation’s was mood rings. I know, I’m old.

  • 2010’s Zhu Zhu Pets, cute hamster-like robotic toys that coo and do a variety of things, scoots over for 2011’s Squinkies: over 100 collectible pencil-top toys that have accompanying accessories for jewelry and playing house.

  • 2010’s Ping Pong, China’s ancient national sport gives way to 2011’s Skee Ball, whatever the heck that is; I think it’s some kind of arcade game. There’s nothing new under the sun…

So now you can say you are “in the know”, riding the cusp of culture adjustments for the New Year. We are, after all, beginning a new decade…

See my recent article: http://www.bukisa.com/articles/456413_more-to-the-story-behind-the-tiger-mother-concept

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