In einer extrem schnelllebigen Zeit, in der eine Modeerscheinung so rasch wieder vorüber geht, wie sie gekommen ist, bedarf es Menschen, die sich auf die Forschung und Entwicklung von Trends spezialisiert haben. Lisa Douët ist so ein Mensch. Nach ihrem Studium hat die gebürtige Französin erstmal die Welt bereist, in Mexiko und New York gelebt um anschließend bei NellyRodi in Paris als Trend Forecasterin anzufangen. Mittlerweile ist sie in London bei WGSN gelandet, der bedeutendsten Trendforschungsagentur der Welt, und berät internationale Marken, profitabel und zeitgemäß zu bleiben. Nebenbei hat die Powerfrau auch noch mit Freundin Alexa, die ebenfalls Trend Forecasterin ist, das Lingerie-Label dessù gegründet. Über eine gemeinsame Freundin habe ich Lisa vor einigen Jahren kennen gelernt. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt war ich selbst bei einem Londoner Mode-Label im Bereich Trendforschung tätig und daher besonders an der Erfolgsgeschichte von Lisa interessiert. Im Londoner Café Bohème haben wir uns schließlich auf ein Gespräch über ihr Label und die Kunst der Trendforschung getroffen. Und dieses Treffen ist zugleich Startschuss eines neuen Formats auf Blog Bohème. We proudly present: „Inspired by“.
You are a trend forecaster and brand consultant for WGSN, one of the leading trend forecasting agencies in the world. You also established your own lingerie brand with your friend Alexa. How is it to work with a friend?
Alexa and I met at NellyRodi so it was kind of already a work environment, even if we became friends very quickly. We both share the same passion for the creative industry and all the arts related to it: from fashion to photography, cinema, visual arts to literature. The idea of building something together emerged and we decided to launch a lingerie brand that would be different from what we had already seen so far. It all started during a lunch at Gontran Cherrier in the 18th arrondissement, and here we are now was born.
What was the reason to establish your own brand?
The idea of dessù came from two different things: first, we wanted to break the rules of a market that for us was not really exciting. All young women of our generation are frustrated by the limited offer in the lingerie market at a middle-range price positioning. That’s why we wanted to build our own brand, addressing all the young women of our generation (we are both born in 1987). Then, the experience we had acquired at NellyRodi have pushed us in the direction of the entrepreneurship. After three years accompanying brands in their strategy and sometimes helping brands to emerge from scratch, I felt I was ready to start mine. And the fact of being two helped to jump in the adventure.
How do you manage to balance the work as trend forecaster, establishing your brand and also having a private life?
This is not always easy I must admit. Having two jobs means that you accept to work late nights and weekends. Your brain is never really on an « off » mode. But at the same time, my work as a trend forecaster and consultant at WGSN is keeping me immersed in the fashion industry from a creative and business perspective. That’s really interesting sometimes to see bridges and links between my jobs and I feel lucky to work on what I am passionate about. That is a lot of work indeed but also a lot of excitement and fun.
What’s your advice to people who also want to create their own brand?
Lots of passion, a strong will, practicality mixed with creativity, inspiring people to work with (we deeply believe collaborations are one of the key factor of success for a brand today), and a bit of innocence too. I always think serendipity and spontaneity triggers the best ideas. Sometimes, we need to trust our feelings and instincts.
Is working in the Fashion Industry still your dream even tough it’s getting more competitive?
The Fashion Industry is tough today, yes. But so are all the other sectors that were affected by the economic crisis and the strong mutations of consumption behaviors. I am passionate about analysing new consumer attitudes & behaviors and I think it’s absolutely fascinating to see this new generation (Gen Z) redefining all the rules by being so smart and empowered with new tech tools. I think brands just need to be more humble, honest and smart towards their clients. And brands need to adapt constantly to the changing consumers, by evolving with them.
Talking about your work as trend forecaster and brand consultant. How do you like your work for WGSN?
Working for WGSN is fulfilling, challenging and passionating at the same time. WGSN is the leader in trend forecasting worldwide, so we accompany clients from everywhere in the world in their brand strategy at a long-term perspective. We also inspire our clients with forward-thinking insights and help them create their tomorrow. Being able to help big brands but also smaller companies is amazing.
Can you please tell us how a normal day in the office looks like?
It all starts with a 30-minutes ride – I am cycling from East London to the office in Piccadilly – and this is a precious time for me since it helps me focus on what I need to achieve during the day. Then I guess I don’t really have a routine since I am traveling quite a lot and I am always switching from one project to another. That is the key to never being bored at work.
How did you find out about trend forecasting? Is it something you always had a passion for?
I have always been very curious, and especially about the creative industry in general. My mother is an architect and an interior designer with a passion for Art, I guess this has influenced me a lot since I was always accompanying her when I was a child and later in exhibitions, arty fairs or anything exciting from a creative perspective. trend forecasting is about focusing on what’s not obvious, being curious and open to the non-usual and unconventional. That’s what is so exciting and interesting for me.
What’s the difference between working as a trend forecaster and a brand consultant?
I guess you can’t really be a consultant without being a trend forecaster. Trend forecasting is about spotting emerging trends and always being aware of what’s happening not only in the fashion and creative industry but also from a more sociological point of view. Then, being a consultant is more about translating those forward insights for a special client; making this content understandable and relevant for this client and help him make the most of it.
Do brands ask you for advice as soon as they have trouble to understand the market and their customer’s needs or do they look for trend confirmation?
We are in an era of mutations where everything changes so quickly. In that context, brands can be easily «lost » in the sense that they don’t connect with consumers anymore, or don’t know who they are anymore in a market that is harshly competitive. Brands need to adapt then as quickly as the changes remain, and we help them in this transition as well.
What has been your biggest career challenge yet?
The biggest challenge for me today is to combine my full-time job as a trend forecaster/consultant and my job as dessù co-founder.
What’s your favorite part of the job? Being in touch with clients, doing your research, traveling etc.?
The traveling part is definitely one of the most incredible asset since it is what gives me energy, ideas, etc. Without traveling, I wouldn’t be able to do my job as a trend forecaster. Then, I love as well being in touch with clients and develop a relationship of trust and honesty. It is really rewarding to feel useful and see that what we do is really helping them work better internally and externally.
What is the most important trend that you see in fashion this year?
The rise of a new femininity is for me the big thing definitely now. This new femininity triggers lots of creativity but also lots of smart actions and awareness too. Which is amazing. This new aesthetic is much closer to the reality of what real women are, and less about clichés and stereotypes of what women should be regarding the occidental standards. We can see in different parts of the world now lots of girls and women that raise their voice for more empowerment and less inequalities between gender.
You lived and worked in Paris for NellyRodi, another major trend forecasting agency. In which way does Paris vary from London in terms of adapting trends?
I was born in Lille, I have studied in Bordeaux and have lived in Mexico and NYC before living in Paris and London so I am a kind of a nomad in that way. It’s been two years that I am in London and I can see of course lots of difference with Paris, in terms of trends, creativity and people. London is a cosmopolite city with always a new exhibition to see or a new person to meet. I like the fact that there is a great freedom in the creative mindset and industry here. Brands such as Marques Almeida or Simone Rocha are perfect examples to demonstrate this freedom to create. But I am also fascinated by a new creative wave in Paris with designers like Jacquemus, Vêtements, or emerging brands like Côme Editions that brings a new breathe to fashion and are really inspiring in their way of doing it.
The Fashion Industry is currently in transition. It’s becoming harder for brands and designers to stay creative in their designing process as everything needs to be attractive for the mass. What is your opinion about that?
I think this is of course really harsh for brands and designers today, but on another hand, we can see a lot of people – and not only niche designers but people like Raf Simons – protesting about this design rhythm processes killing the creativity. I think there is an increasing awareness about the fact that the Fashion Industry needs to adapt and regulate itself regarding design processes and the way we do fashion. Movements like the Fashion Revolution makes me think and hope that things can and will change. But brands as much as consumers must take their responsibilities and regulate their needs and desires as well.
Are there any brands which are doing completely fine who can be seen as role models?
Patagonia is for me a perfect example of a brand that is doing well financially speaking but also has a smart and sustainable way of producing their products. Everlane is also for me an inspiring role model since they are rethinking totally the process of selling and how to communicate with customers. They are extremely transparent and honest with their customers, and have a refreshing approach of marketing and communication.
Where do you spot the coolest people?
The coolest people are for me not only stylish but above all inspiring in their way of thinking and creating. They are also disruptive and inevitable on the edge of the society sometimes. I guess the coolest spots in London are for me spots in East London like Hackney Wick, Dalston and all the neighborhood of London Fields where we can see everyday a new cool shop that opens. But I also love Peckham or Brixton for mixing people, styles and cultures.
What are your favorite shops in terms of interior design? Do you have any preference and where do you prefer to shop?
One of my favorite shop in London for interior design is Monologue, located in Redchurch Street in the heart of Shoreditch. They have the coolest furniture selection from emerging designers with items that you won’t find nowhere else. Otherwise, I am obsessed now with a plant shop that is on Hackney Road named Conservatory Archives where I buy a plant almost every week! It is like being in a jungle in the middle of the city. It’s truly amazing.
What’s your favorite website?
I am obviously checking a LOT of websites everyday so it’s really hard to tell. But my favorites are Another Magazine, Cool Hunting, Nowness. I am also a big fan of new magazines and niche editions like The Luncheon, The Gourmand, Holiday, Kinfolk, Plant and many more.
Which market is currently the most interesting for fashion? Asia, South Africa etc?
For Fashion creativity: Italy is now living a big moment with Alessandro Michele revolutionising Gucci style and all the other designers following that kind of amazing creative wave. Otherwise, I am really interested by emerging markets and I think South-America has a potential with Colombia rising and Brazil of course where we can see everyday new designers and brands from different cities – out of Rio & Sao Paulo. Australia is I guess is also very interesting regarding emerging « niche » designers; Korea is also incredible for beauty forward-thinking brands and new fashion designers.