Wellbeing 4.0 – An Interview with Forecasting Expert Mayouri Sengchanh
At the Trend Forum of the World’s biggest Textile Fair: HEIMTEXTIL
Overarching theme for 2016 / 2017: Wellbeing 4.0
I was really looking forward to this year’s Heimtextile for 2 reasons. First: I have always found what the 6 international trend agencies from the Trend Table elaborated on and displayed in the theme park of the trend forum to be very exciting. The lectures that are given there – enriched with the newest examples – are helpful in gaining a deeper understanding of the industry’s developments. My second reason is that I met Mayouri Sengchanh, CEO Exalis, just after her lecture for an interview that might interest you. She is a trend expert and we have been working together for 2 years.
Sunbul: Why do you think is the textile industry so interesting for trend forecasting?
Mayouri: This is actually a new evolution regarding the trend forecasting procedure. Around 5-6 years ago, architectural and interior design were not trendsetters – it was the fashion industry. We are so fast in fashion; it was always the first one to bring the newest trends to the market. But now, the situation has evolved; a new generation of very edgy and avant-garde designers and architects, such as Karim Rashid or ‘la grande dame’ Zaha Hadid, are bringing new statements on shapes, materials, colors, LED design and so on. As an exaggeration, I would say: up to now fashion was the inspiring element to architecture and interior design, but now it is the other way around.
Many years ago it would not have been possible to think this way. When you thought about interior design, it used to be more or less “timeless”. One would not think about seasons or fashion trends, but rather it was seen as a long-term investment that supported the way people would lead their lives. Now, that scenario is changing.
For us, the Heimtextil in Frankfurt is the main “rendez-vous” for designers and entrepreneurs alike. Also people from different industries come here to get inspiration – like you from LSG – or, as another example, I have met customers from the cosmetic industry, just this morning. This exhibition is not only about fabrics, but also a about texture, colors, new shapes, innovations of fabric – such as smart fabrics – and the sense of space.
Sunbul: So would you say that the textile industry has changed from being ‘more or less timeless’ to future oriented?
Mayouri: Definitely, but I would say timeless is probably not the best choice of word. Maybe we can say ‘from a slow-motion to a more progressive industry’. Yes.
Sunbul: Which main changes do you notice compared to last year’s Heimtextil?
Mayouri: The industry is evolving. We have taken part in the Trend Table of Heimtextil since the beginning. We are six agencies, thinking and rethinking the trends that we share during the trade show. We transfer them to the Trend Forum and the Trend Book, as well. When we had our meeting with the Trend Table, I must admit, it was quite a struggle to bring the new trends alive.
For most of us, we had the feeling that the story is repeating itself – specifically when talking about long-term developments. This means that big topics such as urbanization and sustainability are still key. But how could we translate them into new and creative concepts? This was definitely a big challenge. We discussed this challenge for quite some time – the nights were long, I admit – during the Trend Table workshops. But in the end, we all agreed on this major ‘uber-macro-trend’, the ‘Well-Being 4.0’. This describes one of the major topics facing today’s global society – dealing with how we can live longer and better.
The 4.0 in the title is a link to technological innovations. Also, it includes the idea that we have to think and reconsider our behavior towards sustainability, ecology and further relevant global topics. The creative translations of these trends into societal segments, such as retail, hospitality, craftsmanship, among others, are, of course, new. This is a flow and movement from year to year regarding the macro-trends that we are presenting here.
Sunbul: We – LSG – have worked together with you – Exalis / Carlin – on certain subjects. So, what advice would you give to us?
Mayouri: I know that you are engaged in passengers’ insights and lifestyles to develop even more consumer-oriented products and services. It is important to follow that road and to deeply understand the current needs of the consumers. It is essential to decode the traveler’s way of life: What do they expect? How do they live? Not only in a plane, but also in their homes, in their own four walls. What kind of food do they favor at home and not only when they are eating on the plane? Decoding lifestyles is a key source of inspiration and I know that you are already using this within LSG for your developments.
Sunbul: Thanks Mayouri for this Interview!
Mayouri: Sunbul, it was really great to meet you here at the Trend Forum and I am looking forward to seeing you again soon.
Mayouri Sengchanh, founder and CEO of EXALIS GmbH, is the partner of CARLIN INTERNATIONAL in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Russia since 13 years.