A few predictions and some savvy tips for navigating 2018 and beyond
VIVISXN’s AI identifies 8 secular trends in 2018 and offers up some useful advice for making yourself (and your biz) futureproof. Focusing on themes like advertising, art, international relations and tech, 2018 will be a nerve-jangling, spine-tingling ramble. Expect spazzed-out ‘creative destruction’, fierce competition, geopolitical paroxysms and plenty of techno permutations. It’s all good, though!㋛
1. Go-go globalization
Despite the rise of nationalism, nativism, Kim Jong-un’s conniption fits and Chinese irredentism, globalization will not get derailed. A new chapter of internationalization marked by the breakneck growth of cross-border commerce, connectivity, and digital data flows will engender a ‘new cosmopolitanism’ and alter the global playing field across the arts. It will give certain players a competitive edge and trigger a tidal wave of ‘creative destruction’ and digital reinvention. Trans-cultural and multinational brands like Burberry, Balenciaga, SSENSE, Dr. Martens, Nike and Adidas, to name a few, will kick ass in 2018 and ride the go-go wave of globalization to great success.
2. Startup state of mind
Given the industry’s imperative for innovation and Schumpeterian shapeshifting, a select group of fashion and art outfits will strive to replicate the processes and protocols of start-ups and VCs. A laser-like focus on speed, collaboration, creativity and financial discipline will be paramount. Both traditional players and nascent brands will be compelled to explore new operating modes, talent pools, strategic synergies, and novel ways to allocate scarce resources. Evolution and mutation will result in new economic paradigms and competitive dynamics. Names like Cottweiler, A-Cold-Wall, Palace, VETEMENTS, Off-White, 1 Granary, SHOWstudio, dis.art, Fucking Young and 88rising embody the kind of knack for nuance and a bleeding-edge nous that will offer up value, cool consumer experiences and differentiated product lines.
3. Ghost in the machine
Fashion and digital innovators will unite to unfurl the myriad benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) in all segments of the value chain, paving the way for new possibilities to create killer apps and redefine production, distribution, consumption, e-commerce, omnichannel experiences and operational infrastructure. AI architecture and ‘multilayer neural networks’ will go beyond machine tasks into customer-interaction, ‘structured prediction’ and ‘digital anthropomorphism’, blurring the line between technology and creativity. Players leveraging next-level tech and new-gen operating models include Google’s DeepMind, HIGHSNOBIETY, Far Fetch, WGSN, Wired, 032c, Supreme and Numerai.
4. “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.”
Geopolitical entropy, economic volatility, and social angst are the new normal. Fashion enterprises and their headhonchos must continue to be vigilant in the face of socio-economic distress. Brand managers, designers and marketers must be crafty in order to adapt to an ever-fluctuating global commons characterized by fringe politics, oddball extremism, macro randomness, and ‘techlash.’ Creatives will derive endless inspiration from this frenetic social milieu. Brexit, Trumpism, Islamofascism, terrorism, nuclear brinkmanship and East Asian power politics will accelerate divisions among citizens/netizens, constrain strategic planning and disrupt certain supply chains. This climate will also facilitate bottom-up growth and incentivize players to leverage new technologies and lucrative partnerships. Labels that have an edge, in our view, include Ottolinger, Ambush, Coach, Hyein Seo, Y/Project, ALYX and all companies focused on delivering hybrid assortments: ‘athleisure’, elevated/artisanal streetwear; high-low mashups (think LVMH x Supreme or Coach x Keith Haring), and limited ‘museum merch’, say, available only at gallery stores and pop-ups — Yayoi Kusama x MoMA and Calvin Klein x the Andy Warhol Foundation, etc.
5. Asian swashbucklers
With two-thirds of the world’s e-commerce trend-setters, over half of global online retail sales, and a relentless burst of digital and artistic innovation, Asia is kicking ass across all segments. Asian players will assert their influence and strategic edge via cutting-edge offerings and world-class creativity. China, South Korea, Singapore and other emerging players will inject more cultural influence into the fashion, art and digital domain. Players like Tencent, TMall, Samsung, 88rising, Lane Crawford and I.T are the trailblazers to watch. Look out for brands like Shushu/tong, Andrea Jiapei Li, Xander Zhou, Facetasm, Digawe and Min Wu to push the envelope around cult/guerilla marketing and tapping into new consumer cohorts.
6. A golden age for creative platforms and media portals
Fashionistas and ‘new media‘ junkies will look to online platforms and offbeat portals as the first point of interest, attracted by their convenience, relevance, nuanced interfaces and niche offerings. Platforms will expand in scale and scope, incorporating cool consumer brands, sly but effective ads and faddish fashion products — both well-established and under the radar offerings. Strategic collabs and joint-ventures will become critical mechanisms for clothiers, advertising specialists and media outlets. LN-CC, Hypebeast, Aeon, Boing Boing, Yoox, Singularity Hub and a few cult vaults like WUT Berlin, Machine-A and VFiles will stand out in 2018 and beyond for their avant-garde approaches, emerging talents and extremely risk-on point of view.
7. Just the way you like it — Cool customization and APIs
Cunning curation and personalization will become essential to style purveyors, shoppers and ‘prophets of cool.’ As consumer values converge on authenticity, individuality and exclusivity, brands will value data and utilize neural networks to engage influencers, personalize experiences and enhance brand awareness. Here ‘new media’, machine learning and mobility will be critical, as consumers mesh digital touchpoints — tablets, phones and the ‘internet of things’ — with shopping, social media and all things digital. A “platform agnostic” approach and “trans-media” mentality will be key, and players emphasizing originality will thrive. Tech-wise, Siri, Cortana, Alexa, Echo and other ‘intelligent personal assistants’ will go viral in 2018 and will achieve household/enterprise ubiquity in just a few years time.
8. Eco-warriors and ethical apparel
Eco-warriors and environmental advocates will push for more sustainability going forward. More fashion brands will plan for recyclability from the fiber and fabrication stage to shipping and end-user; many will tackle sustainability via tech innovation (materials science and logistics) to achieve efficiency, transparency, and eco-upgrades. Emerging creatives like Suzanne Rae, BreeLayne, and Faustine Steinmetz will do brisk business due to their commendable climate-conscious gear and even big-wheeling global brands like H&M, Zara, Top Shop and Forever 21 will make an effort to ‘source ethically’ and strive to be better ‘eco-warriors.’ That’s a good thing.
This post was generated by VIVISXN’s proprietary AI Thought Bot®
VIVISXN MEDIA – Art + Fashion + Tech + Media + Strategy + Predictive Analytics