Being a “trendsetter” means constantly being on the hunt for new trends. Gudy Herder cultivates learning and the diffusion of new ideas in the design and interior design sectors through her agency Eclectic Trends. We interviewed her for CONNECTION WITH… after she was our first guest contributor for Connections by Finsa.
- Do you have any more projects other than Eclectic Trends? Where would you like to take Eclectic Trends in the near future?
- Eclectic Trends is an agency which takes on various trend projects, including publishing digital trend reports twice a year, giving talks, or developing strategies for clients. It’s a full-time project which changes depending on what is asked of us. Each year we take on new challenges but always within the world of trends. So that’s the plan, and the idea is to keep growing, offering more services and products, developing more product lines with clients, and one day holding our own conference in Spain.
- Publications, courses, keynote speeches about trends…which facet of your work do you enjoy the most and why?
- I really enjoy giving talks about trends because I feel like I’m informing and training people, which is still required in the trend world. People still confuse trends with fashion, and being able to explain and share my vision through debates is very rewarding.
- What inspires you every day? Do you have a certain ritual, do you consult a particular publication that is like a bible for you…?
- I don’t often reuse the same channels of investigation, but the one thing I never miss is the design fair in Milan in April. It’s like an open-air bible that provides me with information and inspiration that lasts the whole year because, apart from being able to see new things, it provides opportunities to talk with artists one-on-one.
Otherwise, I try to change and attend new events, fairs, and exhibitions that provide a new point of view, and which perhaps don’t have anything at all to do with my specialisation. For example, this spring I’m going to Clerkenwell Design Week in London. Until now, I’ve never been.
- How do you connect with what interests you? Are you more digital or analogue?
- First and foremost, I’m digital – why lie to ourselves? But I balance this with exhibitions and creative courses that I attend. Up until recently I was attending textile design classes that awakened an unusual interest in everything related to textiles. When you’re informed, you appreciate beauty much more.
- How do you disconnect when you need to relax or recharge to be able to continue your creative work?
- Working with my hands: using a moodboard, or in private classes like those mentioned before, or in the porcelain jewellery course I started 4 weeks ago. I need to get out from behind the computer and touch materials – it’s a kind of mediation for me.
Working with students from the design school I teach at or from my own workshops is also very good for me. So many new ideas and concepts come out of them, they are such an inspiration. And of course, whenever I can I go to the ocean in Barcelona or escape to the Costa Brava. Nothing recharges my batteries like the sea…
- What defines a good trend hunter?
- Well, I don’t think I really identify with the label “trend hunter”. I look for signs in the market and what we are good at at Eclectic Trends is joining and linking concepts until we come up with a solid trend. Throughout the year we collect ideas, projects, messages that notice are emerging until they start to make sense. That’s where we get our trend reports, which we public twice a year.
It’s a never-ending job, and you have to pay attention to what is happening on many fronts, including economically, politically, environmentally and sociologically. You can’t come and go as you please – persistence and focus are essential.
Things ‘happen’ on their own, I only make sense of them over time, tying up loose ends and providing an explanation which is often backed up by studies of consumer behaviour. Because we create trends through what moves us and what we need at any given moment.
- If you hadn’t started Eclectic Trends, what do you think you would be doing?
- I would have my own atelier and I would be creating things using various materials, from ceramics to leather. But it doesn’t have to be one or the other – I might incorporate this into my plans in the future.
- Which design and trend professional would you like to connect with?
- Patricia Urquiola for design and Li Edelkoort for trends, for their vision and their perseverance in the market.
- What are your ‘musts’ when it comes to design and trends?
- I’m afraid that I’m quite against any type of doctrine because who decides that something is a ‘must’? What I might like or what seems beautiful to me might not be for others. I can recommend looking into the Italian designers and artists Cristina Celestino, Ilaria Bianchi, and Roberto Sironi.
I think there are a lot of interesting things happening at an ethical design level. It’s the topic which most inspires me at the moment and I hope it continues to grow. These designers use their creativity and vision to create something from our day-to-day waste. There is a lot of talk about vegan design, and there are more and more examples of how a product at the end of its lifecycle can re-enter the production cycle. A few interesting names that I will mention in this field are Eileen Fisher from DesignWork, Erez Nevi Pana and Studio Klarenbeek & Dros.