Moving to France in 1975 to set up her own consultancy firm, Trend UNI0N, she considers this the real beginning of her fashionable life. Helping to shape international brands such as Coca-Cola, Siemens, Lancome, Gucci and more, she has been widely sought after from all corners of the globe. As the publisher and art director of a number of different magazines, her talent for recognising trends in the market stretches across many topics. Here in Kyiv to present a seminar of new trends over the weekend, we caught up with the in vogue visionary to chat about movements in the market, her love for design and how every aspect of society affects what’s fashionable.
How did you get into this industry? What was it that inspired you?
When I was a student at the Art Academy I realised that my power was not in creativeness but in analysis and forecasting the fashion of tomorrow. My first work was at fashion stores network De Bijenkorf in Netherlands, ‘cool-hunting’ as well as buying and consulting.
Your talent for sensing upcoming trends is one that has been widely talked about. Do you think this is something that you developed more with study or was it something you excelled at from an early age?
Everyone has a talent from birth. I was given intuition and logic. But what became my profession was the result of hard work and good experience. The design industry is so global that you need to process colossal amounts of information to analyse it. The intuition muscle should be trained constantly, as with other skills. You can’t imagine gifted musicians being successful, for example, without constant practice.
What was there before the beginning of Trend UNI0N? Was there anyone or anything that did this kind of work?
We were the first to make trend forecasting a legitimate and viable business proposal. Intuition is quite an imperceptible product, and the timing of predictions is unpredictable.
Tell us, other than the obvious, what does a trend consultant/trend forecaster do?
I don’t know what all those who call themselves trend forecasters do, but with regards to Trend UNI0N we first gather visual communication, appearances, signs and signals, and then analyse them to work out what is just an occasional trend and what is an emerging trend. It’s complex, and many professionals take part: economists, sociologists, writers and artists.
Have you always been right about your forecasts?
In my professional forecasts, yes.
Without giving away too many secrets, how can you tell something will be in fashion far in advance of when it actually is?
It’s intuition, a feeling of “this is it”.
How do things such as religion, politics and sexual orientation play into what’s fashionable at any given time?
Every aspect of social life plays a part. Not everything that is
fashionable is good. We’ve launched our own initiatives in these areas, to change current thinking. We have a large audience so we first show how it’s going to be, and then how we think it could be better. In our opinion it is better to “live and produce locally than to be global”. I believe that we should produce much less and at the same time produce much better things. This means being more responsible and ecological.
Who are some of your favorite designers and why?
I’m not a fashionista. Some serious and deep pieces can be seen in Margiela. What Celine is doing now is beautiful.
What do you think of Ukrainian fashion?
I don’t know much about it, but there are individuals whose work I’m familiar with, and whose work I can appreciate. Two are already on our social media platform, Masha Reva and Anna October
Have you been to Kyiv before? How do you like it?
This is my fifth time in Ukraine. I’m familiar with the perspective of the country. Ukrainians are clever and intelligent people, who are open-minded, with wide horizons. They look to do things in their own way.
Tell us a little about the seminar you hosted.
It was on trends for the summer 2013 season in fashion, architecture and design. We named the season “Bliss”.
What things inspire you? How do you like to spend your time?
I’m inspired by nature, and I like to spend time at home and traveling.
Are you afraid of anything?