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Emily Flannery, head of Trends & Foresight at LPK, gives her take on the conversation sweeping the internet—and why there’s far more to explore when it comes to trends.

In recent weeks, an editorial by New York Magazine on an impending ‘vibe shift’ swept the internet, igniting new discussion on sociocultural trends.

Emily Flannery, head of Trends & Foresight at LPK, says she fundamentally agrees with what the article posits: a new paradigm is coming. But Flannery says the piece is limited in its view, failing to fully realize the power of trends and how they really work: “Yes, wearing a certain pair of shoes is a subliminal cue to denote affiliation with a certain group, in a certain place, at a certain time,” Flannery says. “But it’s not the only factor.”

Flannery explains that the real work of trend forecasters is to make sense of disparate pieces of information, synthesizing them to define what’s really next for, say, a category or consumer: “Let’s look not just to what is visually, obviously different, but what is meaningfully distinct,” she says. “Let’s look to discontinuous pieces of information across a variety of reference points—fashion, art, science, medicine, the wider the swath the better—and look for connections that are distinctive from patterns of the past.”

To read her piece in full, head here.