Day 1 of Design Inspirations 2018 Concludes with Paola De Luca Outlining Macro Trends


Paola De Luca of The Futurist Ltd, who pioneered trend forecasting for the jewellery industry, has been a regular anchor of the annual Design Inspiration series organised by The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).

In the first of her two-part presentation (the second one will be the concluding session of Day 2 of the seminar), at the concluding session of Day 1, Paola focussed on the macro trends seen the world over.

“Trends are not to be confused with fashion or fads,” Paola clarifies at the outset. “Rather it is an understanding of social changes. Of seeing how these will effect what people wear, buy, and spend on.”

Paola defines what she is doing, saying: “Forecasting is the use of historical data to determine the direction of future trends.” This, she says, helps companies to plan on areas like product and marketing for the future. “Forecasting literally translates to strategy,” she enunciates. “Business strategy.”

Paola has been of the belief that currently, the entire focus is on the Millennials, and other segments – also important consumers – are not taken into consideration. “The Millennials are all those born after 1980,” she says. “So what about those born about 10-20 years earlier? Are they dead? Are they not consumers?”

The ace trend forecaster’s presentation divides consumers broadly into three defining segments with elaborative taglines: The Midult: Past References – (Midults is a new concept referring to women between 35 year to 55 years); Parallel Realities: Retro Futurist; and The Gender Neutralist or Masculinity Unmasked: The New Man.

Paola goes into each category creating not only a colour palette for each segment but also sketches out the kind of jewellery likely to appeal to each segment in various sub categories.

A few significant points which emerged from her presentation: that personalisation is important, hence one-of-a kind, “different” pieces are looked for; imperfection is seen as a sign of being unique and hence asymmetrical/mismatched patterns would be popular; mixing and matching is a tendency, therefore sets are not so appealing; the digital and physical worlds are merging; handcrafted, even the appearance of handcrafting for machine-made jewellery, will be sought – and there is a desire for the artisanal touch, for textures; a trend towards organic designs; the “amusement” factor should be taken into account; and there is a large segment of men who have come into their own and are wearing jewellery.

Earlier in the afternoon, two speakers took the floor in the post-lunch sessions.

Roza Topolnicka from Swarovski Gemstones is responsible for their popular jewellery trend book, Gem Visions. She stressed that the experience factor was important for consumers; and innovation on all fronts would be a key. Roza gave several examples of brands which have stepped outside the box in areas like store design (Stephen Webster); and marketing – giving the prime example of a high end brand teaming up with MacDonald’s with MacDonald’s offering a prize of stackable rings packaged in their burger boxes and called “Bling Mac” for a contest they are running. “A big trend of the future will be the fun factor,” Roza says. She went on to define the characteristics of three key items: charms, earrings and rings.

John Varghese of IBM speaking on the “Changing Virtual-Real Landscape” explored the contours of what he called “Phygital World” we live in. Saying “Digital disruption knows no bounds”, he stressed that India was poised for digital disruption; and that today we are on the cusp of a technology revolution.

“The digital economy will be a trillion dollar economy by 2025,” Varghese said. He went on to exhort the jewellery industry to pay heed to this and align strategies to take the digital world into their plans and see how they could leverage it for the growth of their own companies and industry.

Pic courtesy: Paola De Luca of The Futurist Ltd speaks at Design Inspirations 2018

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