In a post-pandemic world, consumer behaviour and style choices have dramatically changed, to more reliance on technology, a willingness to adopt digital experiences, as well as an unapologetic approach to style and jewellery as a way of sharing self-expression.
To celebrate the launch of its new smartphone Honor 50, the tech brand commissioned WGSN to explore the trends shaping the fashion and technology industry and it found that consumers are “hungry for products and experiences that bring extravagance to the everyday”.
The ‘Style, Smartphones and Self Expression’ report reveals that consumers are moving away from the “neutral sensations” that comforted them during lockdowns, explains WGSN, to instead embrace “unambiguous brights that feed into themes of unapologetic exhilaration and radical self-expression”.
Everyday Extravagance and self-expression
Consumers are looking to rewrite the mantra of how they want to live their lives to a brighter future through an ever-growing desire to escape the ordinary and seek captivating moments that uplift, augment, and reignite their optimism for the future.
This shift in behaviour is described as “everyday extravagance” with consumers opting for statement dressing as a way of self-expression both online and offline, which they then share via the #dressup hashtag on social media to “wow the everyday”.
Self-expression related content is also on the rise, notes the report, with smartphones playing a central role in helping people to express their lifestyles, values, and statuses. Both creators and viewers are embracing a new “no-filter” way of displaying their style and emotions, which is being assisted by advancements in smartphone camera technology, as everyone is empowered to be a creator and share their stories with the rest of the world and stand out from the crowd.
Growing demand for monogram
In line with a renewed, unapologetic approach to style, and a nod to 90’s nostalgia, monogram looks are on the rise in the fashion world, according to WGSN, with consumers embracing new ways to express their style and elevate their fashion identities through bold statement looks.
Adrien Mollet, lead consultant at WGSN, explains: “Dating back to 2018, a number of major fashion houses including Dior and Fendi relaunched their iconic monogram in response to the “logomania” trend which took over the industry.
“Now we are witnessing a new era of monogram fashion, with the introduction of cross-brand collaborations including Versace and Fendi’s logo-layering or Gucci, which partnered with both The North Face and Balenciaga - two highly discussed partnership featuring the brands’ highly recognisable monograms. These brands have relied on monograms to take their logo and image to the next level, creating greater engagement with consumers eager to find new ways to express their style.”
Monograms provide a refreshing look that works as timeless yet contemporary indicators of premium, states WGSN, and small-scale repeats can help offer something fresh, while subtle monogram prints in tonal colourways convey a modern approach.
It isn’t just fashion embracing monograms, tech is also getting in on the act, and the Honor 50 smartphone has its own monogram colourway with a design that breaks down the five letters of Honor and reconstructs them to create a holistic image sequence that conveys an energetic and vibrant visual effect.
Commenting on using a monogram, Yuan Ze, chief designer at Honor, said: “This eye-catching design is a unique one for the smartphone industry, inspired by the latest fashion trends and marks a step away from the classic blacks and more muted tones on offer from other smartphone brands.”
As the world adjusts to brighter days ahead, WGSN notes that there will be a renewed sense of optimism emerging among consumers, which will result in people adopting colours that evoke a sense of hope and balance. This has already been spotted on the autumn/winter 2021 catwalk shows, with a 55 percent year-on-year increase in cooler pastel colours.
Sarah Housley, head of consumer technology at WGSN, added: “As consumers look to rebalance and revitalise, gentle colours, textures and lighting effects that make people feel more comfortable will soar in popularity.”
Post-pandemic jewellery boom
The jewellery market might have declined 18 percent from 2019-2020 according to Euromonitor, but demi-fine brands have seen double-digit growth, and according to WGSN data, research for jewellery inspiration and jewellery related content has increased by 8 percent and has seen continuous year-on-year growth for 12 months in a row.
This jewellery boom follows consumers’ need to elevate their look on screen, and now jewellery is acting as a new “collectable” for younger generations and design-educated consumers who are eager to show their individuality through cherished heirlooms.
Business of Fashion and McKinsey also revealed in their 2021 State of Fashion: Watches and Jewellery report that between now and 2025, the fine jewellery market will rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic and grow globally at 3 to 4 percent per year.
Whether it’s statement jewellery or statement smartphones, tech devices have become fashion and status symbols in their own right, adds WGSN. In addition, jewellery has become a source of inspiration for tech, with the Honor 50 drawing inspiration from the craftsmanship of classic ring designs for its camera mount.
“The Honor 50 main camera is polished with the same classic, timeless metal ring on the edge,” explains Ze. “The symmetrical dual rings resemble a pair of eyes to help users to see more in everyday moments, while the appearance of the main camera is just like a diamond ring and is a symbol of eternity, achieving the perfect combination of form factor and feature.”
Consumers look to content creators
The pandemic prompted a growing need to connect with others and screens became the gateway to do everything from communicating, learning, shopping, working and staying entertained. This has led to physical and digital worlds becoming even more entwined, with consumers placing more value on creating digital assets as an expression of who they are as a person and consuming it, through unboxing to style videos.
WGSN adds that tech-savvy consumers are looking for peer review loyalty, to discover new products and trends via live-streamed events from hosts and communities of real people, who are avid users of products, not just promoters. The new world of ‘e-teraction’ will become the new source of truth, with content creators offering real-life advice and perspectives.
This has led to a boom in live-streaming and an uptick in the creator economy, with the TechCrunch-App Annie Report estimating that consumers will have spent 6.78 billion US dollars in social apps in 2021, which is expected to grow to 17.2 billion US dollars annually by 2025.