The macro trends informing retail

This September, Flamingo partnered with Top Drawer for the Autumn/Winter edition of its retail trade show. Louise Healy-Adonis – a senior strategist working in Flamingo’s Futures specialism – identified four key home and lifestyle trends set to dominate both the show and the retail space as a whole as we head into 2020.

These trends were established using Flamingo’s future forecasting methodology, which involves continuous analysis of the macro shifts that are driving large-scale cultural change. Over time, these shifts impact consumption patterns, product preferences and belief systems, which accumulate to form identifiable trends. In the early stages of these developments, innovative businesses and brands, technologies, early adopters and social movements – which we call indicators begin to appear, visibly signalling the growth of new consumer needs.

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For Top Drawer, Louise focused on the two macro shifts that are most notably influencing the direction of home and lifestyle design: ‘Omniwellness’ and ‘Harmonious Systems’. Omniwellness is a response to the wellness movement that has dominated retail and filled social media feeds in recent years. Having reached maturity, this trend is now expanding to encompass spaces beyond just physical fitness. Now, people are looking to obtain spiritual, emotional and mental-health-enhancing benefits from everyday products.

Harmonious Systems is another manifestation of consumers’ new-found craving for products that go above and beyond their core purpose. As the topic of climate collapse becomes all-consuming and unignorable, public desire to fix unsustainable consumption is emerging. Consequently, a growing population of consumers are seeking out products that bring innovation and nature together in harmony.

When the top-down influence of leading brands meets the bubble-up inspiration from the streets, you create the perfect storm for a trend
— Louise Healy-Adonis

These macro shifts have filtered through to products, colour and materials, and are showing up across the lifestyle category: from jewellery to ceramics to home fragrance. Within this, Louise has identified three key trends for AW 19/20:


Grounded Rituals is rooted in an earthy, tactile quality that can be linked to nature and wellbeing. Handcrafted elements and ‘honest’ materials enhance and bring uniqueness to everyday items, while a pared-back colour palette enhances the quiet, restorative mood.

These traits can be seen in the work of designer Charlotte Miller, who uses restrained detailing to elevate her handmade ceramics. Miller juxtaposes glossy glazes and unique brushstrokes with speckled clays to create textural variation reminiscent of that found in the natural world. Elsewhere, Garden Trading incorporate metallic elements to bring the idea of value to otherwise earthy interior designs.

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Modern Vestige sees the updating of classic shapes, as heritage craft meets emerging technology. Tough materials are softened by the introduction of delicate detailing – achieved with techniques such as etching and 3D printing – to create futuristic yet archaeological designs.

Castro Smith’s practice embodies these ideas. His work fuses the past and future: using handmade tools, Smith engraves jewellery reminiscent of ancient seal rings, updated with contemporary details inspired by European and Japanese techniques. Luxurious metals are enriched with dark tone finishes to create modern versions of historic designs.

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Soft Assembly’s retro-modern feel is both reassuring and light-hearted. Comforting materials such as clay and cotton add warmth, while imperfect, rounded shapes with a soft quality bring a feeling of playfulness and joy to a blue-brown based colour palette.

Designers such as Four Eyes Ceramics and Sara and Loom use the design principles of Soft Assembly in their work. Their jewellery is made up from imperfect, playful shapes in desaturated pastel tones, punctuated by pop brights. Pieces made from hand-cut terracotta and polymer clay have irregular edges and feature unrefined natural variation, alluding to the idea of being ‘perfectly imperfect’.

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For more information about Flamingo’s methodology, to find out how these trends and/or macro trends might be relevant to your brand or business (and how you can harness them), please get in contact with us at

Siobhan Collman, Flamingo

Milly Liechti