COVID-19: Li Edelkoort and the rise of the Age of the Amateur
With the coronavirus epidemic disrupting the system as we know it, trend forecaster Li Edelkoort gave an insightful interview to Dezeen's Marcus Fairs.
Following her Quartz interview in which the world's influential trend forecaster said that "we should be very grateful for the virus because it might be the reason we survive as a species" Edelkoort explains that this global challenge will allow humanity to reset its values.
Per Edelkoort COVID-19 is causing a "quarantine of consumption" and a profound cultural and economic impact will follow.
"The impact of the coronavirus will be layered and complex, going from disbelief and social reassurance to the progressive perception of the impact on our lives to an eerie apprehension of what the scenarios might be, to the realisation of eventual solutions by self-separation in society and self-contained offices, ateliers and retreats" she wrote to Dezeen via email from South Africa, where she is in "self-imposed auto-quarantine" following her lecture at this year's Design Indaba conference in Cape Town.
"It seems we are massively entering a quarantine of consumption where we will learn how to be happy just with a simple dress, rediscovering old favourites we own, reading a forgotten book and cooking up a storm to make life beautiful," she said.
"I am hopeful for a better system. And this is where I am hopeful for: another and better system to be put in place with more respect for human labour and conditions."
Edelkoort believes humanity will be forced to slow down its habits becoming step by step "self-sufficient and mindful."
"Improvisation skills and creativity will become the highest assets" says Edelkoort of the "brand new page for a new beginning" once the pandemic is over.
"If we are wise – which sadly we now know we aren't – we will start up again with new rules and regulations, allowing countries to get back to their knowhow and specific qualities, introducing cottage industries that would flourish and grow into an arts-and-crafts century, where manual labour is cherished above everything else.
A regulated shut down of production plants for two months a year could be part of this concept, as are collective creative studios that would produce ideas for several brands at a time, bringing about an economy of scale with a much lighter environmental footprint.
Local industries and activities would gain momentum and people-based initiatives will take over with bartering systems and open tables, farmers markets and street events, dance and singing contests and a very dominant DIY aesthetic. My future forecast for the Age of the Amateur seems to come much faster than I anticipated."
Lidewij Edelkoort is one of the world’s most famous trend forecasters. As an intuitive thinker who travels the world studying the evolution of socio-cultural trends before sharing this information with her clients in industries as diverse as fashion, textiles, interiors, cars, cosmetics, retail and food Edelkoort creates trend books two or more years ahead that are tools used by strategists, designers and marketeers at international brands.
The humanitarian foundation Edelkoort co-created through Heartwear (since 1993) promotes the survival of artisans in developing economies, informing her knowledge of craft, sustainability, cottage industries and fair trade; advice she also passes on to her clients in all fields.
Named as one of the world’s 25 Most Influential People in Fashion by TIME Magazine in 2003, while in the following year she was named as one of the 40 Most Influential People in Design by Icon magazine, Edelkoort's fame as "one of the great fashion and design icons of our time transcends borders."
Read the whole interview here.