Designers, celebrities or just plain folks -- everybody wants to tap into the zeitgeist. Or create it themselves. These days, nothing moves faster than a trend. The social-media-fed frenzy enables our access to the latest in fashion, interiors, architecture, travel, technology and food.
Like it? Pin it on a virtual bulletin board. Is there anyone who by now has not heard of or parodied "Gangnam Style" or "Call Me Maybe?" If we can see a trend, is it already past its shelf life?
Yet for some in the design community, the very word "trend" is unspeakable. The goal for good design is to be timeless, perhaps edgy, but never follow.
Still, somehow, trends manage to insinuate themselves. Chicago designer Gary Lee has been drawn to emerald, just tapped as Pantone's 2013 color of the year, since he was struck by the vision of Keira Knightly in the gorgeous green gown in "Atonement." Now it's showing up in his interiors.
JWT, one of the largest ad agencies in the world, takes trendspotting seriously, with special studies of technological advances ? as well as their impact on consumers.
Why do we care? Fear of missing out.
"It's an age-old phenomenon," says Ann Mack, JWT's director of global trendspotting, "being fearful we're missing something our friends are doing or possessing. Social media today has predisposed us more than ever to this. We have unprecedented awareness of what people are doing, watching, buying."
Which is why it makes perfect sense for celebs who are passionate about design to actually engage in it.
And at the intersection of style-conscious celebrity, technology and design? Customization, of course. From monogramming to embossing to designing your own bed, there's nothing more trendy than making it your own. The buzzwords: Curated (so much stuff filtered by some arbiter of taste), artisanal (everything from cheese, bread and pizza to furnishings) and bespoke, a term that connotes niceties such as hand tailoring or custom cabinetry.
There's even a website (behance.com) that "curates the world's creative" in real time. It describes the process of curating in the digital age as tapping into a new equation: the power of the community plus the power of technology plus the power of human insight.
With all the furor over what's on our collective horizon, far be it from us to tell you what's next. Instead, we asked an eclectic group of forward thinkers to talk 2013 and beyond.
Karim Rashid/industrial designer
"We are trending towards personal customization -- not just monogramming but real personalization. We will soon be capable of developing, designing and producing actual objects in our home. Today on the internet we can customize cosmetics, clothes, running shoes, and this new movement of customization will be even more ubiquitous. We should be able to customize the driver's seat of our car specifically for our body, choose one of 1.6 million colors like a bubble jet printer and create more diversity than ever before in human history."
"An influx of color -- emerald greens -- saturated and colorful interiors."
Jason Oliver Nixon/designer, magazine editor
"We are seeing a premium put on bespoke and handcrafted, similar to what we saw 100 years ago with William Morris and the reaction to the Industrial Revolution, to a world that is completely technologically driven and impersonal. There's a sense of how can I create a space that is unique to me and has touchpoints. It's happening across the board, even in big box stores."
Michelle Lamb/Editorial director for The Trend Curve
"China is at the forefront of our thinking. But the motifs are more modern ? with pumped up symbols, blown up fretwork, braidwork that's massive, bamboo you can wrap your arms around. Century Furnture did a dining table with legs that look like calligraphy. We're rethinking the elements of Asian d cor, making it fresh."
Kelly Hoppen/author, interior designer
"Homes will be a lot more fluid and will take even more inspiration from Eastern design, with moveable walls seen in traditional Japanese interiors."
David Stark/Event planner
"The rise of urban, rooftop farming is totally fascinating. Up until recently, farming was not considered glamorous at all, but with the advent of chic farmer's markets popping up everywhere and rooftop acreage sprouting up in Brooklyn and other urban centers, this is an exciting new development, getting fresher food directly to our tables. That's pretty cool.
"Now and into the future, ingenuity is where it's at. Creating event decor out of everyday materials used in unusual ways, with the goal of donating those materials after the party to groups that really can use them, is both sensitive and cutting edge."
Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan/creator of Apartment Therapy
"Modern nostalgia represents a strong urge to curate for modern self expression, but to look backwards in doing it, referencing a time when objects were authentic, handmade and unique. I see it as a real yearning for a slower, richer time than we're currently experiencing, with a spark of romance. Also, I never really liked 70s disco culture, but I see it coming back now in new and interesting ways. The trend uses curvy, biomorphic shapes in furniture and pattern along with a more toned-down color palette than your typical disco floor."
"I usually don't follow trends. I always try to follow my heart. At the moment, I'm very into the Memphis movement from the 1980s. It's playful, colorful and the polar opposite of minimalism that we are seeing so much of right now."
Anna Dodonova/interior designer