So, 2012 has started. The work year has commenced as well, after yesterday’s legal holiday, but it feels sluggish, as if it had too abundant a meal. Hope also abounds, with every second person expressing a conviction that 2012 will, finally, be a good year.
I share the hope, though not the conviction, as I firmly believe in something that is coming to be called “the new normal”, a stabilizing of patterns that are inherently unstable. Adrian Stanciu, one heck of a challenging thinker, and one of my former MBA professors, said it best in this article, titled “Past and Future Crises”, where he explain that while the recession may be over or not, successive crises, no longer followed by plateaus of smooth functioning and stability, are certainly looming. In this new normal, uncertainty is the only certainty.
That depressing thought aside, it’s 2012, therefore the time for Best of 2011 lists and To Watch in 2012 compilations. Below, one that I found intriguing, and fairly comprehensive (although it seemed that it sometimes broke up a single trend into several components just to reach the magic number 100).
For my part, I believe that we should watch out for the following 3 things (in Romania at least)
1. RETRO REVIVAL
Think Caro Emerald, Dita von Teese, LL Bean boots and other classics and reinterpretations that are returning to the forefront of fashion and music. I think the key decade here will be late thirties-early forties, as the world aligns with a post-recessionary mindset similar to the one following the Great Depression. I’m expecting a revival of the lost art of letter writing, to go along with an even stronger interest in home made and crafts, which will definitely go mainstream this year.
2. STORE BRANDS
While name brands will never go out of style ( my recent shopping trip to Carrefour being a case in point), the aftermath of the recession and its accompanying financial instability have made frugality not only acceptable, but commendable. Store brands will be the beneficiaries of this new frugality, especially as larger sizes and comparable packaging (in terms of quality and ease of use), scale savings without fundamentally reducing convenience. I especially predict a surge in the consumption of store brand food staples, which were largely avoided in previous years.
3. SELF-DISCOVERY AND SPIRITUAL AWARENESS
As the world is reinventing itself (or, according to some, crumbling) more and more people feel “displaced” from their own lives and habits. I therefore predict a resurgence of religious observance, relatively cheap hobbies that blend bodily awareness with emotional well-being, and spiritual practices ranging from traditional to neo-pagan, Asian to Native American, with a revival of cultural practice. Expect therefore more emphasis of “local” holidays versus “imported” ones (Think Dragobete vs. Saint Valentine’s). People who engaged in less mainstream activities are now more willing to talk about them and share the wisdom / insight, as a variety of inward focused activities that have a social dimension are becoming acceptable and accepted more widely.
Time will prove me right. Or wrong.
Either way, Happy New Year!
(P.S. Yes, one of my resolutions is to resume blogging 🙂 )