An interview with Trend Forecaster Cécile Poignant
Here at ThePowerHouse, we believe that we need to look at the past to foresee the future. Our latest chapters were dedicated to the relationship between fashion and mobility over the centuries. We told the history of the spacesuit, how bicycles influenced women’s clothing, the zipper as a design innovation, and how luggage plays a key role in mobility.
In this second part of our report, we are exploring what comes next! Knowing the intersections between how we use our garments and how this can influence the way we move– and vice-versa– we decided to go further and anticipate the future.
To imagine with us what this future of fashion and mobility will look like, we have invited Trend Forecaster and the editor-in-chief of the Trendtablet, Cécile Poignant. In the next chapters, you will be presented with four perspectives about what is to come: Freedom, Power, Collective, and Exclusive.
But before we go through these trends, let’s better understand the role of a trend report and the importance of the work of a trend forecaster via this interview with Cécile Poignant. She has been one of the leading fashion trend forecasters and has provided information on the future trends that she sees coming as a direct result of mobility.
TPH: How does a trend forecaster work and when did you start trend forecasting?
CP: I started trend forecasting something like 30 years ago. The reason why I started this job was that I was already connecting the dots. All the time. That was my passion and by serendipity and very good fortune, I discovered that this could be a profession. So this is why I started to connect the dots and share my thoughts with people to help them better understand the changes in the world and better understand the changes in the future. To be more ready for those changes and to not be afraid of it.
TPH: What is your favourite fashion trend resulting directly of technology?
CP: I would say more than trends, its more about objects, more about materials. One of the things that I really enjoy a lot is the idea of the zipper. The zipper has really changed the way we dress. The way we exercise, the way we do sports, the way we just love. I think this is one of the major fashion tech changes. Then there was, of course, the invention of lycra in the 60s, which has given us a lot of comfort in the way we are wearing our clothes every day. Our underwear. Also, leggings, yoga pants so for me. Lycra was really a game changer for me in fashion. When we come to more recent time, I would that one of the fashion trends that I think is very interesting is the light weight of the sneakers. In recent years, sneakers are getting lighter and lighter which gives us the possibility to be more active, to walk much more and also the sneakers are becoming more like regular shoes. So it means that today, because of the technology and the light weight of the shoes, you can have beautiful shoes that you can wear with an evening dress, or with very regular pants during the day or a dress can be worn today with sneakers. The next big move that I see would be about graphene. It’s in development. It’s not so easy to build something with it today but it will be a major game changer in the fashion industry soon. Something that will be really important in the e-textile world in 10 years to come.
TPH: What excites you the most about the future of fashion?
CP: The fact that it is the future (after a short laugh). The fact that it will reflect the changes in our society. The need for freedom, the need for anonymity, the need for not being connected, the need for being connected, the fact that I think fabric will be the new device. We are always used to having the smartphone in our pocket but the next step is to not have them in our pocket because we already have the textile on our body. So maybe it’ll be our sleeve that is our device but we will no longer need those smartphones. So this is something that is very exciting about the future.
TPH: What do you see as the most important change that needs to happen in fashion?
CP: I would say the most important change without a doubt is sustainability. There is no Planet B, we have been damaging the planet so much, we have been producing bad quality products in large amounts. We have been inventing a new continent just to fill it up with plastic. So we really need to focus on sustainability and I mean, it’s really a very big challenge that is going to be super interesting. The way we will invent new bio-materials, the way we are going to skip out of leather and go into leather-like developments, the way we are going to change the process of dying by maybe using bacterias instead of using bad technical products. Sustainability will bring us better quality, better design. Sometimes less clothing, and to me, this is really the big challenge, not just in fashion but everywhere.
TPH: How do you think companies like ThePowerHouse can empower the fashion industry?
CP: I think there is a real need for better understanding what technology can bring to fashion. For many people today it is still like a little light — it switches on, it switches off. It’s more like a gadget but fashion tech really can be much more than that. And I think a company like ThePowerHouse has the capacity to be a bridge between fashion and technology to be a connector between different actors in the fashion and tech industry. I think FashionTech companies can really be a game changer and bring knowledge and reality into a very old world. The fashion world is very old and has not changed much over many years. So I think people with the knowledge of what technology can do, people that are makers and not just dreamers, like the ThePowerHouse, can really do a lot of things for the future of fashion.
Want to know more about the job of a trend forecaster? Listen to the Porto Business School’s “What’s Next” podcast episode with Cécile Poignant, where she speaks about The Fashion Future & Mobility Trend Report, and how it was developing this project with ThePowerHouse.
We are exploring the Future of Fashion and Mobility to discover what the two disciplines have in common and how they shape what’s next. If you would like to read the entire report now, please contact us via email@example.com