This weekend has held the Autumn 2011 Formex Fair. As always with these fairs – and maybe with this one in particular – there is much ado about nothing. Of what makes this event, fresh ideas & insights, trends and innovations are extremely small parts. Actually, you almost only find it in the marketing material! This of course is beneath contempt, since Formex could be The Place for inspiration, clearly ahead, like a fortune-teller-market. Instead, the exhibition is mainly blah when it comes to fresh new thoughts. Luckily enough though, we stayed for a lecture by Lotta Ahlvar, the CEO of Swedish Fashion Council. This very inspiring talk outlined some upcoming trends. Again it was confirmed that the Swedish white minimalist era is over. It belongs to the 00s. The successor can not be understood and defined already, of course, but Ahlvar spoke of somethng like “down-toned and cozy” as the present new concept. An anti-trend of course, after all the whiteness in this country. With the 70’s as style reference, nature as the source and the farmer as guru, a bit of style- and view-shifting is afoot.
Lotta Ahlvar highlighted a clearly growing trend in Sweden – the urban farmer. Or at least, the urban cultivator. The city is transforming into Farmville. Think potato plantations in the window and warp chickens on the balcony (and maybe a dairy cow in the garden?) Long passed are those multi-equipped fancy kitchens people never cooked in, just showed off the occasional sourdough. Now it’s time to plant some uniquely rare beans. In a cozy and 70s nostalgia environment. Crafts belong to the new (new-old) movement too and wool was noted as a trending material; knit, crocheted or tangled. Recycled. And wood! Lots of wood. Even more of the Swedish pinnstolar and Windsors (especially appropriate as one of our main resources and exports is wood). Moving on to the trend colours, the charts for 2012-2013 contained lovely reds and 70s yellows together with gold and copper (i.a., this is only one / my selection). I really believe in Brandy orange + brass. There was also charcoal and clay. Now this was some of the trend news, let’s await a greater impact! I personally am convinced Lotta Ahlvar is right on track in her trend spotting (and n.b. I’ve fueled some of the content; all excesses are on me, not the lecturer). If not already, in due course (the style-anxious) Swedes will take the new trend line very seriously. Furthermore, this path is a natural consequence of our eco-thinking, conscientious waste sorting & recycling and not least given the ongoing trendification of the countryside.
As mentioned above, the innovativeness and trend sensibility demonstrated in the Ahlvar speech (and in the written Formex material) was not very much reflected in the Formex fair’s main content: the exhibiton. Some nice things were spotted – pictured above, though seen before – but the overall impression was just as shabby chic as 2005. Loads of factory-worn or whitewashed signs with positive messages and other “newly-made antiques”. Not one single eye-opener, which leads me to conclude that the Swedish (mainstream) market for interior design products is pretty dull. Do It better Yourself – my next mission is to find/invent and share some DIY-ideas.
And speaking of, I like the DIY fair Hem & Villa and the Home fair way better. This year [Oct 13-16] it’s themed – tadá! – Close To Nature. Trend report follows.