Trend-spotting Considered As a Trend

Photo courtesy of Booble

The LA Times has this excellent lengthy article about the world of "cool-hunting." (Fads are so yesterday - Los Angeles Times archive) Cool-hunters are the people who tap into emerging youth culture and sell their predictions to companies who then productize the trend and then wait for the cash to come rolling in.

The article makes lots of insightful comments about our consumer culture and how there is no lifestyle we can discover which doesn't have a line of products helping you to live it. At the same time many people just try and demonstrate that they know the breadth of lifestyles available by purchasing key knock-offs of cornerstone elements of a particular lifestyle (a copied hand-bag, a particular style of retro T-shirt, etc.)

Culture mining, cool-hunting, trend-spotting are all fascinating to me because they are intertwined with the world of technology, which is where I make my living.

Choice quote:

At the same time, Popcorn's mind is constantly tuned into the tantalizing "what ifs" of tomorrow. Her 2001 book, "Dictionary of the Future," predicts the proliferation of a "cosmetic underclass" who can't afford to erase their age, a parent education movement that issues permits and product discounts to well-trained parents, and "personal archivists" who organize the e-mails, digital images and other data that help document our existence.
When asked about today's obsession with cool, even Popcorn sounds peeved. She moans: "It's like everybody's hip now. It's exhausting. There's no discovery. It's not original."

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