By Michelle Graff
These rings from Arana Jewelry are sterling silver and were created using a 3-D printer, technology that would appeal to consumers who are “Digitalists.” They range in price from $50 to $125 retail.
New York--Nothing in design is ever really new, but those who are first to recognize the coming trends will grab a bigger share of the market, Paola De Luca told attendees at a seminar held Saturday at the Vicenzaoro show in Italy. 

The creative director for Trendvision, De Luca shared the organization’s latest research, which focused on defining the current types of consumers and using their characteristics to determine what designers and trends might interest them.

Trendvision bills itself as the “first independent jewelry forecasting observatory,” though the organization is as much about observing current trends by examining social media, blogs and jewelry research and analysis as it is about predicting future trends. 

The four profiles defined by Trendvision and outlined by De Luca in her talk were: the Essentialist, the Romantic, the “Exoticist,” and the “Digitalist.”

“The world has changed completely, dramatically,” she said. “The new generation is thinking in a new way.” 

1) The Essentialist. The first consumer type De Luca covered, the Essentialist is, essentially, a minimalist. They like having little; a few years ago, in fact, there was a grass-roots movement called the 100 Thing Challenge, which encouraged people to whittle down their earthly possessions to a mere 100 objects.  Many in this group also enjoy the idea of being “green,” so they are concerned with responsible sourcing. 

Blogs dedicated to the idea of living with less include The Minimalists and Becoming Minimalist

When it comes to jewelry design, De Luca said Essentialists lean toward simple designs with clean lines and geometric shapes; pieces that have a sophisticated lightness and lend themselves to stacking and layering. Think: the designs of French-born jewelry artist Delphine Leymarie or Fahad Al Hajiri and Alanood M Al Sabah, the husband-and-wife team behind Octium. 

2) The Romantic. A classification that doesn’t need much explanation, the Romantic leans toward vintage as well as gothic designs, designs that relate a fairy tale, telling a story of evil vs. good. Lace motifs, intricate patterns, feathers, wings and carved gemstones appeal to romantics, as does darker symbolism: wicked gardens, snakes and spiders. 

Designs by Stephen Webster, Wendy Yue and the feather-inspired creations of Sutra are among the pieces that would appeal to the Romantic, De Luca said, while blogs that speak to this lifestyle include that of U.K retailer Liberty London

3) The Exoticist. This type of consumer has Bohemian qualities--he or she is serene and optimistic--and is a traveler. They are curious and interested in visiting far-off places while also sharing the Essentialist’s interest in materials that are responsibly sourced. 

The Sartorialist is a blog that appeals to this group while they also are likely to use services such as Airbnb, the service that allows people around the world to rent out their apartments or homes, giving travelers a less-expensive option, De Luca said.  

Pieces that have a one-of-a-kind feeling with imperfections appeal to this consumer, as does jewelry that carries more of a symbolic meaning, like talismans and personalized charms. Think: the organic shapes of Todd Reed or Jane Bohan and, for talismans, Mrs. T.

4) The Digitalist. A label that applies mainly to today’s younger consumers, the Digitalist is more focused on access than ownership, and their style is influenced by science, technology and the iconography of the Internet. 

Not surprisingly, this is a group that spends a lot of time online and would be interested in technologies like 3-D printing.

Wendy Brandes’ emoticon pieces would appeal to Digitalists, as would the 3-D printed rings of newcomer Teresa Arana of Arana Jewelry, who just exhibited at the JA New York Winter show. 

Designers mentioned specifically by De Luca for Digitalists included Etienne Perret, who uses alternative materials, Matthew Campbell Laurenza, Nikos Koulis and Kara Ross.  

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