Pitti Predicts:
Curated Lifestyles
Edition 102
Pitti Predicts is your connection to Instagram archivist Samutaro who’s here to talk you through Pitti 102’s main themes and the future trends you need on your radar.

Since its inception in 2010, Instagram has become a virtual space for people to post all facets of their life, from decorating interior spaces to catching up with friends and sharing experiences. Now, curating our social media feeds has somewhat become a fully-fledged commitment where we’re stuck in a never-ending cycle of polished presentation, editing our lives to fill Instagram squares with glossy personal photos.

For Gen-Z, this is nothing new. As digital natives, they’re the first generation to grow up with social media and their identity is inextricably tied to digital. But with a growing number of platforms like WeChat and TikTok becoming fully integrated into their lives, there has never been more pressure to keep up with their social network life.

In this all-consuming Instagram age, what we buy and the way we explore the world is undeniably spurred on by what we consume online, particularly for younger generations who spend a vast amount of time engaging with social media platforms. Whether it's getting a selfie at Café de Flore in Paris, gramming that tactical $17 cloud smoothie from Erewhon, or posting a morning pilates session at Forma - everything is up for promotion.
The impact of this curated lifestyle for social media is only set to increase over the next decade as Gen-Z and Millennials become the most influential luxury consumer groups worldwide. This massive generational shift in spending power is already impacting the types of services brands are offering to fit into the lifestyles of this new cohort. From clothing rental platforms like By Rotation which offer hourly rentals, to coffee spots like Élan Cafe, or underwater hotel stays in the Maldives, these services are designed to rack up double taps on the grid.

As consumers increasingly look to brands to help shape their personal image, they are also expecting these companies to reflect their personal values and desires. For younger consumers especially, relationships with brands and labels have evolved beyond the transactional. Allergic to hype they are hungry for a deeper purpose in life over materialism. Today, the products we buy reveal much deeper information about us than what we find aesthetically pleasing. Once merely indicative of a shared status, material goods now convey shared values. Whether its social, environmental or cultural factors, these elements of a brand story are now decisive in consumer value creation.
The condition of the pandemic has certainly accelerated a shift towards a more fluid approach to shopping. Many young consumers have willfully calibrated every aspect of their lives, and as a result, the destination of their spending power is up for constant reexamination. In a recent white paper report, Highsnobiety reported that nearly half (45 percent) of its readers polled said that they stopped using a brand or product during the pandemic. And, in turn, this has made way for a “new wave” of brands and products taking shelf space in their minds — with 85 percent of these respondents saying they had tried a new brand or product during the pandemic.
The report reveals that although this next generation of young people are more on the hunt than ever before, they are demanding a deeper connection from the brands they patron. With content and experience being a greater part of luxury than ever, they are looking to buy into a brand’s all-encompassing universe, one that extends beyond apparel or accessories, and into other aspects of lifestyle.

From Gucci’s Massimo Bottura designed restaurant in Florence to Balenciaga’s appearance in Fortnite video game, or Highsnobiety’s GATEZERO concept store in Copenhagen airport, forward thinking brands have been showing up in the most unexpected ways and unexpected places. It's this element of surprise and ability to participate in broader parts of consumers' lifestyles that is giving luxury brands like these the cultural credibility they need to survive in the eyes of a new generation.
Beyond these experiential moments, fashion brands are deepening their position in the everyday lives of consumers by offering objects for the home. Spending on self-care and things to improve the home saw a huge uplift during the pandemic and as a result a growing number of brands and retailers are diversifying their product offer to meet these new consumer tastes.
Raf Simons recently launched an at-home platform with categories including “home, literature and clothing”, while streetwear stalwarts like Stussy and Supreme frequently drop branded furniture or kitchenware. Naturally, Pitti Uomo has rebalanced its vendor curation to cater to this dynamic consumer. At Pitti 102 you can expect to see everything from ebikes from Dutch label MATE, to FELISI’s home line and retro gaming products from Neo Legend.

“These home goods are being coveted in the way that sneakers and clothes were being coveted,” Jeff Carvello, Co-Founder of Highsnobiety tells Glossy. Now, “a coffee table can be seen as a desirable object.” He points to Highsnobiety’s whitepaper on the post-quarantine consumption habits of the new luxury consumer as an indicator to the appetite for lifestyle goods. Of all the categories Highsnobiety readers plan to increase their spend on, the highest are education (43 percent) and—strangely, yet not surprisingly—furniture (35 percent). “Instead of dressing themselves, they’re now focused on furnishing their external and internal environments,” he says.

The growing interest in home furnishings and interiors is having a wider impact in fashion as discerning consumers look to curate their lives with designer goods. At Pitti 101, Spanish footwear label CAMPER previewed its upcoming collaboration with Scandinavian textile provider Kvadrat. While footwear and interior fabrics might not seem like the ideal match, but in an era of stay-home-style, Kvadrat’s premium materials have provided the perfect update for cozy slippers and mules. 
This isn’t the first time fashion and home decor labels have collided. Last year, Californian surf label Stussy collaborated with Copenhagen-based textile company TEKLA on a range of gear for the home and beach. The line of bedding, sleepwear, towels and robes demonstrate how consumers are allowing brands to penetrate more intimate aspects of their lives beyond just clothes.
Staying flexible amid contradictions has been essential to many in the last couple years, as our clothing needs have evolved alongside our work and travel habits. There is perhaps no phenomenon that better exemplifies this need for flexibility than the rise of style-driven, elevated, yet functionally comfortable loungewear. Berlin-based magazine 032C tapped into this demand for multipurpose loungewear with its first ever collaboration with bodywear brand Sloggi, which debuted at Pitti Uomo 101 last season.“For me, the topos of loungewear is: to be at home, but also be somewhat active,” said 032c Ready To Wear creative director Maria Koch in Florence, finding harmony in the contrast.

Other examples of fashion brands that are showing commitment to self-care lifestyle include athletic apparel brands who are tapping into the segment of consumers who are interested in health and well-being. Adopting a community led lifestyle approach, Canadian brand Lululemon offers complementary in-store mindfulness sessions and organizes large-scale annual events and experiences such as the SweatLife Festival, a one day yoga extravaganza that takes place in London. Through adopting a lifestyle approach to marketing, Lululemon’s offerings go beyond selling clothes, for example they sell yoga mats, water bottles and backpacks. 
This community driven approach has presented new opportunities for legacy brands to become culturally credible and rejuvenated their brand. Last year, Baracuta and Jaguar came together for a collaboration that celebrates British design and exploration of future trends. Rather than focusing on the products specifically, the two brands embarked on a cool-hunting trip that traveled across Europe in search of the people, places, subcultures, and trends that are pushing culture forward.
The uniqueness and authenticity of projects like this will become significantly more important in the future as consumers choose brands that align with their own curated self-image. If they don’t have the cultural credibility customers expect, it’s exchangeable with other brands. If a brand does not feel authentic, then it can no longer support their customer’s curation efforts. As a result, brands have to take a position, represent strong values, and define themselves through the eyes of consumers. Those that are able to participate authentically and with cultural credibility are the ones who are able to build lasting relationships with this next generation of consumer. 

Words Samutaro
Pictures Julien Tell

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