This story was written for the Underground The Hague paper
Ah, a new year, the pristine beauty of a white page, the promise of a new start, and a handful of resolutions! Sadly often dropped within weeks.
Having gladly toasted 2011 into retirement we look ahead with hope for change. And make it positive, please. The “yes we can” kind. We have grown so weary of the news of turmoil and uncertainty.
Of course it would help to have a crystal ball to gaze into the future. But for the lack of one let’s turn to ancient wisdom.
According to the Chinese horoscope the coming year is under the sign of “the water Dragon, intelligent, hard-working, though sometimes prone to excesses in his drive creature. The Dragon has enough courage to face challenges and easily finds weak points that stand in his way to success. The Dragon is magnificent. He is flamboyant, attractive and full of vitality and strength.”
Such qualities would be undoubtedly needed to weather a very uncertain ride into 2012, the second year of the second decade of the twenty first century. Sounds ominous? Indeed
But if consulting a horoscope is not your cup of tea then there is always a trend watcher or a trend forecaster eager to share his/her wisdom. And some with quite a price tag to boot.
Over the past two decades certain individual’s ability to see what’s around the corner has captured the imagination of laymen and the corporate world alike and elevated these individuals standing to that of modern oracles. Their prophetic talent to see the future, translating it into trend books that equal the status of a holy scripture have made professionals like Faith Popcorn and Chris Sanderson wealthy; and put companies like the Future Laboratory and the Trend Union on the map.
When it comes to trend forecasting no one can compare to the Dutch-born Lidewij ( Li) Edelkort, the highest priestess at the altar of trends. Named one of the 25 most influential persons in fashion by the Time magazine Li Edelkort crisscrosses the globe giving presentations that dissect nascent shifts in the zeitgeist— where they come from, how they translate into goods and services. She also provides answers to the most basic questions we ask ourselves : what will our lives be;- what will we find important;- what will we wear;- want;- eat;- how we will socialise.
All of this based primarily on her intuition. “I don’t discover anything new,” she is quick to point out . “I observe and interpret peoples’ behavior and moods and note down what I see.”
And it is not gloom and doom scenario that Li Edelkort sees emerging. Quite the contrary. She sees bliss and spirituality.
Bliss is the key word for the years to come. Fed up we will turn our back on the decade of fear in search of spirituality. Spirituality in everyday life and rituals like baking bread, or meditating or practicing yoga. Amidst complexities of modern life we will find joy in and marvel at a ray of sun coming through the window, or a self made cardigan.
In the past we used to identify ourselves through work. Now still giving it our best talent, we reserve our identity for ourselves. We develop new identities. It’s about filling life with meaning, and gaining a new respect for the wonder of life and how to go about achieving this through our consumer choices.
Edelkoort says: “We will aspire to a time out of time, we will search for a world within a world, a space of daydreams and wonder. A moment to experience simply being there. Something to be grateful for. To enjoy the moment.”
Era of individualism has run its course
The era of individualism produced a generation of singles living in small apartments without kitchens, not knowing where to turn, avoiding responsibility of raising children. According to Li Edelkort, this era has run its course and a new era is dawning. That of joining and sharing, embracing family values. Men seek the right partners to start families and rear children. The notion of fatherhood is undergoing change as more men opt to stay at home and raise a family. Socially we enjoy being together and sharing, we tend to co-work, initiate joint projects, we work more in groups. In her opinion that will have a profound effect on governments, businesses, military, police.
The pyramid of power
The traditional pyramid structure of power is about to collapse, which does not mean that the chaos will ensue; rather power will become an edifice with a terrace. More participatory democracy and the demise of dictators?
Tapping into the zeitgeist
They say Li Edelkort is unrivaled in pinpointing the zeitgeist. For example, in 2002, she inspired Nissan to launch five unusually bright color options into the car market in Japan. The range—pale and bright orange, pale yellow, aqua blue and olive green—sold well and earned an industry award. She also advised Nissan on a later version of the Micra, launched in 2003.
Clairvoyant reading into the future? A psychic? Neither of the two. She is a student of humanity, astutely observant and exceptionally perceptive and over the years, 30 to be exact, has honed this gift to impressive heights. Perhaps you see the same things but what Li does is — put words to these things, creating a compelling story.
Her presentations always end with an arresting video, combining images, music, narrative. It is inspirational, it touches you at the very core, at the visceral level. But more importantly it makes you think … and reflect and tune your antennae
These days Edelkort is preoccupied with Earth matters and organic living, championing local versus global, authentic versus uniform. It all about slow food, slow fashion and economy of soul—joining the circle.
To some –yes.
To others– she is an inspiration.
A final word
You reaction to the future filled with bliss might solicit a cynical smile. Turmoil and uncertainty seem a more likely script? Well whatever school you choose the best advice for the year to come would be — open your eyes, see, hear, filter and draw your own conclusions because
“Your mind, this globe of awareness, is a starry universe. When you push off with your foot, a thousand new roads become clear”