The world is changing, and fast. Predicting the future has become a roller-coaster of unexpected turns and plunges into darkness followed by thrilling loops. What might 2018 hold? Undoubtedly some new problems, but also a lot of light.
We’ll eat impossible foods
From veggie burgers that bleed to foie gras grown in a lab at home. The war on meat (which is a war on heart disease and climate change) will advance into new territory. Expect to see the vegan alternatives bust out of the specialty aisles at your supermarket and into the mainstream. Vegan option at McDonalds anyone?
Pink will be political
Actually, this prediction is double edged. The resurgence of feminism and the rising voices of women against sexual harassment is going to spill over into consumer goods. Gender exclusive products for girls (the ‘pink aisle’ in toy shops) and pink-wash of products on International Women’s day are going to be crushed in 2018. However, pink pussy hats and ‘pink statement’ for bold advocacy will emerge.
You’ll hack yourself
Worried about Russian agents lurking in your Facebook and twitter feed trying mind-control? Sick of automatic bots trolling you? Facebook now let’s you check if you’ve ‘liked’ a post from the organization accused of trying to influence elections. So, in 2018 the ‘must have’ app will be a filter or widget designed to keep your social media uncontaminated. Or let you opt out of political posts entirely.
We’ll wear carbon
Sneakers made from ocean plastic have proved hugely popular. How about products made from carbon dioxide pollution sucked out of the atmosphere? These ‘negative emission products’ are already possible, and fashion brands have promised to offer ‘climate positive’ products asap.
You’ll see a driverless car
If you live in a major city then the chances are that you will see a car with no one driving it. It might be that there’ll be someone behind the wheel but they won’t be holding it, just there in case of emergencies. From tiny startups to Uber to BMW, everyone is hitting the road with autonomous vehicles for real in 2018. You’ll even see driverless racing cars which should cut the race team’s salary bill a bit
Plastics will be public enemy No1
The BBC’s Blue Planet II has started a fire which will burn brightly in 2018. Single use plastics (drinks bottles, flimsy bags, straws etc) will start to disappear from shops, restaurants and supermarket shelves. Expect companies to test new inventions – from edible packaging to simple waxed paper to turn the tide of plastic pollution.
China will lead on green
This is the biggest opportunity that too many businesses have missed. Young urban Chinese consumers are looking for high status goods. But they also hold very strong environmental values (especially around tree protection, plastic waste and air pollution). Businesses that can offer both status and sustainability are going to clean up in China.
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Monday's mean #SustainableFashion, where every week we highlight something cool going on in the fashion industry. We've all succumb to the insatiable appetite of fast-fashion at some point. But what about subscription-based fashion rental? Companies like YCloset (newly securing US$50m in funds) and @renttherunway give us the opportunity to experience trends and borrow items on a pay-per-use basis. Dream closet here we come! How about you?