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Trends authority WGSN looks ahead at what will gain traction.

The complex African consumer mix, which is increasingly influenced by international media and expects a contemporary offering in-store, has led global trend authority WGSN to hold its first major event in Cape Town.

The aim is “to help customers make profitable creative decisions to stay ahead of these challenges”.

In partnership with some of Africa’s leading creatives, designers and up-and-coming trailblazers, four key trends were presented by WGSN’s chief content officer, Carla Buzasi, former HuffPost UK editor-in-chief, that will be at the forefront of African design in 2017 and 2018.

Contributions come from photographers and creatives: Trevor Stuurman, Ed Suter, Gabrielle Kannemeyer and Travys Owen and fashion designers Chu Suwannapha, Nicholas Coutts and Cleo Droomer.

Starting this spring, WGSN promises to feature reports on African trends in women’s wear, colour, materials, accessories and beauty and a focus on consumer insights, influencers, lifestyle and interiors, and menswear trends.

Buzasi who is at the helm of the trend authority, which spans over 100 different countries, decides with her collective team of thinkers what will be in stores and forecasts trends.

“We forecast trends across fashion, interiors, technology, marketing, to help brands in the creative industries build better businesses.

“Most of our content takes the form of reports on our subscription site, but we also have a consulting arm, plus, you can get a sneak peak into our world on WGSN Insider, which is free for anyone to view,” she said.

“Our job, collectively, is to help companies be better prepared for the future, whether that’s understanding technological innovation or creating a new fashion collection,” Buzasi said.

Buzasi said WGSN has a loyal customer base in South Africa. “It was a logical step to take this further and establish a team on the ground. My team come together twice a year, for what we imaginatively call ‘trends days’ to present on small micro trends they’re seeing in their part of the world and the industries they cover,” Buzasi said.

“We take all that research and boil it down into our macro trends.”

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In South Africa, WGSN will be tracking pure e-commerce players such as: Superbalist, Spree.co.za, Zando and Planet54

“Large multi-channel retailers have also started to launch and re-invent their own e-commerce sites and we are keeping a close eye on traditional retailers such as Markhams, Foschini, Woolworths and Mr Price,” Buzasi said.

She said when is comes to trends for 2017-18 we will see four big major trends: Nocturne, Earthed, Youth Tonic and Kinship.

“When it comes to décor, we’re seeing a big rise in the use of smart technology and smart fabrics, but woven into beautiful products – that’s a big shift on previous years when the internet of things manifested itself in really ugly products.

“For fashion, my women’s wear team believes it’s all about the sleeve for 2017.

“From a cultural shift, one of the trends I spoke about in Cape Town we call ‘kinship’, which is about individuals finding new collectives and new families outside of the societies they’ve been born into – it’s a positive manifestation of the connectivity social media affords us.”