On Trend: 2011 and beyond

Pantone has declared ‘Honeysuckle’ to be the 2011 Color of the Year. Ignoring all of the obvious like is there a beauty pageant where the candidate colors need to perform in the talent competition, the burning question we have is who decided that a hot pink is going to be called ‘Honeysuckle’?  Honeysuckle, where we grew up, is a soft cream to yellow, with occasionally a warm blush in the throat of the flower.  It in no way resembles the screaming hot pink that is being called ‘Honeysuckle’ by Pantone.

Not that we have anything against hot pink (or Honeysuckle) – after all, Mattel’s Barbie doll would have a greatly diminished wardrobe without it – but we find ourselves more interested in hunter green these days.  Rich, luxuriant, the color of growth and the color of money, we see hunter green as being an important color in coming years (although it’s obviously not going to be the trend color for 2011).

We also like foxes. OK, enough with the owls.  The owls had their 3D movie (Guardians) and now we can move on to more interesting trendy animals, like foxes.  That’s right – we think foxes will be the new meme, replacing owls as ‘the’ trend.  Watch for fox prints and lifestyle products of all sorts in the next couple of years.  We’ll know foxes have crested when they too get their own 3D movie.

And the whole equestrian lifestyle is interesting to us.  Possibly it is because we don’t have to drag ourselves out into the cold and muck out a horse stall at 5 am while a large quadruped is doing its best to maul us in search of snacks.  It’s amazing how having a horse step on your foot can really put you off your stride and think bleak thoughts about stall-bound trend setters.

We also like the direction fashion technology is taking, although we do have to admit to a lot of WTF moments every time we hear someone has Bluetooth-enabled a ski glove. No, this isn’t hot design, it’s fatuous.  Who in their right mind puts technology on the part of the body most like to slam into the ground at speed? The only thing less well thought out would be putting it on a ski boot.  Bluetooth can’t be compared to Timex, which could take a licking and keep on ticking.

Despite Haro’s Peter Shankman raving about the Scott E-vest and its popularity with the geek set, it’s still not really fashionable even if it is functional.  What we’d really like to see is wearable technology applied in a way that makes sense and actually enhances the fashion it is applied to.  Right now, what we’re seeing is a lot of gimmicky stuff that can’t be easily manufactured, it’s ugly, and there doesn’t seem to be any real point to it.  It appeases the tech set, though, so despite the ‘Fugly Factor’, we guess we’ll keep seeing this sort of thing.

Perhaps the most functional thing we’ve seen in fashion tech has been a hoodie with iPod cabling built in.  Plug your iPod into the outlet in the pocket, attach your earbuds to the wires in the hood, and away you go.  We wouldn’t be caught dead in a hoodie, but they are a major fashion statement amongst the iPod set.

One of the critical things prohibiting wider spread use of emerging technologies in apparel is the issue of power supply.  It’s a bit difficult to apply some particularly witty bit of technology to make a fashion statement when the frock or chapeau has to be plugged into a wall for power.  Fashion is still meant to be worn and seen, and it’s a bit tough to do that when you have to linger near a power outlet.  Changes in battery options, such as the further productization of thin-film batteries, will help fashion get past this need we have to not be tethered to a wall for juice.

So to recap emerging trends for 2011: green foxes wearing iPod-enabled hoodies emblazoned with equestrian prints.  You heard it here first.