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Today we are faced with fears of « flattening » and a cultural, intellectual homogenization of society where everything converges, interconnects and blends. We want to extract ourselves from this « magmatic » centrality, often seen as lacking in substance : we want to « ex-center » ourselves.

Paradoxally, this ex-centricity develops by re-centering … on our selves (our personality, our inner space) but also on local particularities – from here or elsewhere - with the intention of rediscovering distinctiveness, validating cultures and celebrating « otherness ».

We want to fill a void and defend all forms of uniqueness … so we can move from one world to many worlds…

Emerging signs

1. New icons
Julian Assange, the spokesperson and co-founder of Wikileaks, is an apostle of transparency, he operates in the greatest secrecy and fascinates us with his ambivalence. In the image of this angel-faced, troubling hacker, new icons seduce us by their commitments, anti-conformity, strong personalities and secrecy : they divulge neither their objectives nor their unique approach, thus working against the current masks of social norms.

2. Interior worlds
Besides the huge success of his Pop-Art silkscreens, Andy Warhol did a more intimate series of portraits. The Andy Warhol : Motion Pictures at MOMA exhibit shows ten of these stop-motion, filmed portraits. The faces move slowly so the viewer approaches the inner world of each person. They show the meandering soul, track emotions, capture auras or emanate charisma in a fleeting glance. They depict each person’s uniqueness within his environment which we can sense beyond the « envelope » of his or her body… This fascinates us today.

3. Made in
At the end of 2010, Prada launched a visionary, capsule collection baptized « Made in » which used specific, inimitable know-how from around the world and promoted each piece’s origin. Today’s fear of a pervasive, standardized, « self-service», global culture where each person can help themselves, reinterpret, distort and even plagiarize is contrasted by a strong desire to re-geographicize » the world. We want to find symbolic borders which, far from cultural protectionism or personal withdrawal, translate as a need to celebrate differences and give volume to a world which has been « flattened ».
The evolution of values
From collective intelligence to intellectual autonomy

After years of an experimental sharing of intelligence and the collective creativity offered by developing technologies, a community or « crowd » has become an essential component to construct an identity. In reaction, tomorrow’s consumers will seek to explore « contradicting » territories : intellectual autonomy, individualism, turning inward, having an independent spirit or a critical sensibility…

In search of distinctive signs

The corollation of this re-centering on « inner worlds » means a desire to « have things in common » without being communal : how to rediscover a unifying form outside the group without completely rejecting it. In answer to this quest for singularity, we see emerge a subtle form of neo-dandyism that is more transgressive and non-conformist than it appears, hidden behind the banal and the commonplace : strange obsessions, disconcerting rituals or unusual « whims »…

From a flat world to a re-geographized world

Parallel to the development of a world culture mixed with hybrid, composite influences appears the desire of certain consumers for a « cultural decentralization ». A new ethic of globalization that recreates symbolic borders and highlights, rather than distorts the world’s abundant, multiple « exoticisms ».

Creative concepts

A new « custom-made » contrasts with a « showy customization » by revalidating local specialities from elsewhere and emphasizing uniqueness : both of a product … or the consumer himself.

1. Personal Code Ink by Montblanc. An exclusive, inimitable, personalized ink means its author can be identified and important documents authenticated.
2. Jovoy Boutique in Paris. A concept store dedicated to perfume which brings together rare fragrances and hard-to-find juices in identical bottles, plus an olfactory workshop for conceiving custom-made perfumes.

3. Orflögur Microchips by Björg i Bù. Potato chips from Iceland. Inside the packaging, their Icelandic origin is validated by a card plus detailed information.
4. IOU Project by Kavita Parmar. A new collection made from fabrics handwoven in India. Each piece is equipped with a Quick Response marker so the buyer can follow the story and steps of its manufacturing.