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 Wednesday, 01 December 2021

Monogram Mania and Tech Couture: HONOR and WGSN Unveil 2021/22 Tech and Fashion Trends

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Those long months spent indoors with our tech gadgets as our companion and sole escape from reality shaped trends and our vision of fashion and goods. HONOR asked WGSN to investigate further.

HONOR and trend forecasting company WGSN had a look into consumers' behaviours and style choices. Post-pandemic technology and fashion trends see the rise of a real 'tech couture'.

Smartphone leader company HONOR commissioned WGSN to explore post-pandemic consumers' behaviours and preferences. The lasting immersion in the digital world and social media during the lockdown has had an interesting impact on fashion and tech trends, reflecting on smartphone design as a consequence. The newly launched HONOR 50 embraces this renewed and unapologetic approach to style and higher expectations on mobiles' functionalities and design.

The Study

For this task, HONOR brought together a panel of experts to focus on the evolution of style, mobile and self-expression during the pandemic and their material results. WGSN has been joined by a panel of experts, including Matthew Drinkwater, Head of Fashion Innovation Agency at the London College of Fashion, Liza Urla, Jewelry Expert and Founder and Creative Director of Gemologue, and Amelia Liana, a fashion vlogger who has amassed over 500K Instagram followers for her creative style videos. The panel with Yuan Ze, Chief Designer at HONOR, discussed the trends shaping the fashion and technology industry today, and how the new HONOR 50 gives stylish tech users endless possibilities for self-expression in 2021 and beyond.

What Is New? Tech Couture

It is not a tech cult or obsession, although it might easily seem so. WGSN describe it as ‘Everyday Extravagance’, which sees consumers indulging in an ever-growing desire to escape the ordinary and seek captivating moments that uplift, augment, and reignite optimism for the future.

'Hungry for products and experiences that bring extravagance to the everyday, consumers are embracing, the unambiguous brights that feed into themes of unapologetic exhilaration and radical self-expression', says WGSN. 'An expressive design language addresses the problem of style homogeneity in the tech space, making tech feel more personal and representative of our identities.'

All Around Us: The Monogram Mania

In line with this renewed stylistic approach, WGSN revealed that monogram looks are here to stay. Consumers are embracing new ways to express their style and elevate their fashion identities through bold statement looks; monogram patterns are here for this. '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. Fast track to 2021, and we are witnessing a new era of monogram fashion, with brands using monograms to take their fashion stories to the next level, creating greater engagement with consumers eager to find new ways to express their style,' commented WGSN.

Winking to this high demand for monograms and the ostentation of brand logos, with its strong nostalgia for the '90s - HONOR has imagined its new model with a range of colours and catwalk-inspired designs including HONOR Code, a captivating style incorporating the brand logo 'HONOR' as a fashion monogram.

'The HONOR 50 breaks down the five letters and reconstructs them to create a novel and holistic image sequence that conveys an energetic and vibrant visual effect', says Yuan Ze, Chief Designer at HONOR. 'This eye-catching design is a unique one for the smartphone industry, inspired by the latest fashion trends and marking a step away from the classic blacks and more muted tones on offer from other smartphone brands'.

Ethereal Spectrum: Colours That Energise, Inspire And Uplift

WGSN reports that over the coming years we will witness a renewed sense of optimism emerge among consumers. As the world adjusts to brighter days ahead, people will adopt colours that evoke a sense of hope and balance.

Sarah Housley, Head of Consumer Technology comments, 'As consumers look to rebalance and revitalise, gentle colours, textures and lighting effects that make people feel more comfortable will soar in popularity.'

The recent A/W 2021-22 catwalk shows saw a 55% year on year increase in cooler pastel tones. In an era where smartphone design is becoming increasingly homogenous, HONOR wanted to leave its mark with a stunning and stylish design for the all-new HONOR 50, reflecting the ever-changing fashion and design trends shaping the world today. The HONOR 50 Frost Crystal and HONOR Code colourways swap conventional monochromatic dark tone design with cooler colours supported by a shiny and shimmering finish.

Post-pandemic Jewellery Craze

Although the jewellery market declined 18% from 2019-2020 according to Euromonitor, demi-fine brands have seen double-digit growth. WGSN data shows that research for jewellery inspiration and jewellery related content increased by 8% with stable growth in 12 months in a row. Jewellery to look good on camera is now collectable for younger generations.

Business of Fashion and McKinsey revealed in their 2021 State of Fashion: Watches and Jewelry report that between now and 2025, the fine jewellery market will rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic and grow globally at 3 to 4% per year.

Like jewellery, mobiles are status symbols in their own right and the newest models incorporate features resembling jewels.

Express Yourself: The Explosion Of Vlogging In The Era Of The Metaverse

Expressing oneself in the post-pandemic world does not only require a device with a top-notch design but also a mobile packed with functionalities made for content creation, to give form to our inspirations.

Locked indoors for such a long time, it should not surprise us if people wanted their tech gadgets to bring back joyful memories and allow them to escape this gloomy and hopeless reality.

25% of European online content focused on escapism. The main topics were:

  • travel, that is creators taking their followers into their personal journeys;
  • campaign, with companies offering a virtual and dreamy escape;
  • experience created by influencers, users and brands to escape reality.

The pandemic accelerated an already increasing enthusiasm for video content. Consuming video content has been increasing since March 2020 and Cisco reveals that video traffic will quadruple by 2022 to a staggering 82% of all created content. Audiences have sought entertainment from streaming platforms - such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ - human interaction via Zoom, information and escapism through YouTube, and community posts from Instagram and TikTok. According to The Economist and Statista, while it took Facebook eight years to reach 1bn users and Instagram 7 years, it took TikTok five years to achieve this global recognition.

To run away from the fear of the pandemic, people demanded their devices to create unique online identities able to tell equally unique stories. WGSN refers to this consumer behaviour as ‘Stimulating Escapes’. Adrien Mollet, Lead Consultant at WGSN, comments, 'The future is an era of effort and creative expression, with people spending long periods of time creating content for a chance at virality. Empowered to create, consumers are proactive in developing theatrical productions of their own lives as an expression of their lifestyle, values and status.'

The word 'metaverse' echoes everywhere. The virtual and physical worlds are now so tightly entwined that consumers place more value on vlogging and creating content to express their identities. According to WGSN, self-expression related content on social media has seen continuous year on year growth for 14 months in a row, with both creators and viewers embracing this new 'no-filter' way of displaying their style and emotions.

To support video-journaling, the HONOR 50 offers an advanced camera set-up, allowing users to switch between front and rear cameras while filming using multi-video shooting modes, delivering the same one-take recording technique adopted by the film industry. With the flexibility to film from more than one perspective, creators are now able to document and express their true emotions, experiences and identities in real-time, allowing more meaningful connections with their audiences.

Yuan Ze, commented: 'Continuing the HONOR Series’ legacy of integrating aesthetics and technology, the new HONOR 50 smartphone boasts an array of impressive innovations across its camera, design, and performance, thanks to our unique R&D capabilities and through our ongoing collaborations with global industry-leading partners. Designed industry-leaders and vloggers in mind, the HONOR 50 invites consumers to express themselves and capture and share their stories in innovative new ways, taking the smartphone experience to a whole new level.'

The community and the digital-native generation ask their tech companions to help them inspire and interact with each other and the rest of the world. But customers are becoming more and more demanding for what concerns functions, performance and aesthetics. New mobiles have to unleash infinite possibilities and be pleasing to the eye. The tech couture wants ever intelligent devices that are real statement accessories to stand up from the crowd with their luxurious finishes, colour palette and design.

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