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Trends with Stefan Nilsson.

Stefan Nilsson, or Trendstefan as he is known in the Swedish media, is constantly searching for new trends and phenomena. His office is based in Milan, or Paris, or in any other world metropolis where he happens to be and then only for a day or so before he’s on the move again. Stefan Nilsson is searching for the future, for what we consumers will like, dislike, buy or rave about a year from now.

During the pandemic, the world came to a standstill. We stopped travelling, meeting friends and family and limited our everyday life to our homes. The lifting of restrictions throughout Europe and large parts of the world has sparked a growth in human curiosity and a desire to discover new things. We long for renewal, entertainment and, above all, inspiration. In social media, we look for new trends and ideas that can provide “food for thought” and boost our creativity and our desire to create. In Stefan Nilsson’s and LINUM’s series, we’ll present four exciting trends and colour combinations that we hope will feel new, interesting and maybe even a little daring.

Stefan, tell us who you are, what you have done and what you are doing right now?

My name is Stefan Nilsson and I became Trendstefan about fifteen, twenty years ago. It’s always hard to talk about myself, but one way to describe what I do is to trot around the globe studying behaviours, dreams, gadgets, food and values. What’s the big thing in New York and will we see it in Scandinavia soon? I travel, look and think. Then I tell you about it. It might be on the morning sofa, in a radio programme or in various newspapers. Obviously I have a firm foothold in the design world and everything related to interior design or our homes, but it sort of falls into how we want to live our lives. How do we want the kitchen to work? What does the family of the future look like and how do they want to decorate? How will the home change if we continue to work from home?

I run a blog, an Instagram account and a YouTube channel. The easiest way to find me is to simply search for “trendstefan” in your browser, and I usually show up quickly.

How come you became a trend HUNTER?

I am constantly curious. I wonder about life. And I like to chat. Part of my career began with a dinner at a 30th birthday party. I was sitting next to a girl and we talked about life and how everything is connected. Finally, she said, “You have to come on my radio show”. So once a week I went to Radiohuset and talked about what trends we would see and how they related to the rest of the world. It became a lesson in learning how to look at the world and talking about it.

What does a trend hunter do?

Quite a few trend hunters work with intuition, meaning that “it feels” as if yellow is about to become trendy. And then you can judge whether a trend hunter is more or less good based on whether he or she is right. Did yellow become the next big thing? Or velvet?

I have four tools that I keep coming back to:

  1. I read a lot of statistics. For example: How do we move? How many dogs do we have? And so on.
  2. I do a lot of interviews. For example: If you have a spare 500 kroner – what do you spend it on? Then you get a shift in values and what we think is important right now.
  3. I try to put things in a historical context, that’s important. For example: Right now we are comparing the corona pandemic with what it was like during the Spanish flu a hundred years ago. What are the similarities? What are the differences?
  4. And finally I have what I call “observations on the spot” and that’s quite simply all these fairs I visit annually. By visiting about 20 fairs a year, I see that, for example, yellow seems to be on the rise.

I gather all of the above in what’s called a trend report. This might be general or specific to a specific area, such as “outdoor”, “sustainability” or something other.

Is a trend hunter always right?

The simple answer is that it is about time perspective. It’s easy to see what will be “hot” in about six months’ time because you see what is being launched and hear what people are talking about. But the further ahead in time you look, the harder it becomes. I would say that it is quite tricky to talk about trends that are more than five years into the future. It’s about new political fluctuations, new materials or new innovations… But in one to two years time, that’s quite easy. And the bigger the move, the more unpredictable it becomes. Saying things like “we will want to consume better products” is quite simple – but what does such a product look like?

Are trends important?

I don’t create trends but analyse and look at which trends are coming in. Understanding your business market is important. For us end consumers, it’s not important at all. But we like trends. There’s something fun and wonderful about them. They’re like sugar, delicious but maybe not so useful?

What will you be presenting to LINUM?

I am presenting four trends for 2023. There are four different colour combinations with different intensities. Some of the trends are clearly youthful with a party feel, while others are more relaxed and serene. The idea is not that you must have all four trends at the same time, but more that they pique your interest and seem appealing. Some you may just want to read about, but not have at home, while others may be easier to absorb. A good trend report should always have something surprising in it.

What was it like to browse around LINUM’s range to find what you wanted to illustrate?

It was super fun! The difficult thing isn’t really finding what you’re looking for, but knowing when to stop. There’s so much I wanted to include! There is a fantastic colour palette at LINUM, so it was easy to find the next textiles with colours, such as orange! Expect lots of orange in my trends.

What more can you say about trends, some final words?

Trends should be fun, not a compulsion. I usually say that “you shouldn’t follow trends, you should understand trends”.

Photography: Martin Brunn