Behold the future, as the trendsetters see it

By Veronica Schmidt

What will 2014 bring? What will we eat, watch, play and buy? Veronica Schmidt explores the trends that will shape our lives in the year ahead.

Paul Henry's new late-night show will be a topic of conversation.
Paul Henry's new late-night show will be a topic of conversation.

Ah, a new year has arrived. A fresh, unblemished 365 days of possibility. We know little of what 2014 will hold and even less about how humans will negotiate it, right?

Wrong. The trendsetters and trend watchers know exactly what is coming and are already leading us towards our fate.

These doyens of the future gave up gluten before we realised it was the guff that held half of our food together, they were upcycling long before Loz and Tom made the practice popular on The Block, and they were out buying Peter Pan collars when we still thought they should only be worn by, well, Peter Pan.

They are the human equivalent of a crystal ball, allowing us to gaze into the future to see what we will be doing in a few months. They predict our tastes and provide a map of the year ahead.

So what can they tell us about the next 12 months? We read their ramblings and drilled them for details, asking what Mr and Ms 2014 will eat, buy, listen to, watch and obsess over.

Behold! The future us!

Make power and gather water

They have already planted a vegetable garden and banned parabens from their home but in the coming year Mr and Ms 2014 will be at the forefront of a new eco movement: They will make their own power and gather their own water.

Green Ideas magazine editor Greg Roughan says that the slow-growing trend for installing solar panels is about to speed up. "The technology has become cheap and efficient enough that it now makes a lot of financial sense."

While on the roof tinkering with solar panels, Mr and Ms 2014 will figure out how to catch rainwater. "Atmospheric scientists have said that for parts of New Zealand, drought will become the 'new normal'," says Roughan. "Expect to hear more of your friends talking about catching the rainwater off their roof for gardening, replumbing so they can use their 'grey water'

Play golf

Golf will be this year's sport du jour. Mr and Ms 2014 will watch it, play it and chatter about it to anyone who will listen - and plenty will. Already the highest participation sport in New Zealand, teen golfing sensation Lydia Ko has lent the game a new excitement and captured the interest of armchair sports fans ordinarily focused on the football field.

Golf New Zealand Chief Executive Dean Murphy reports that "the number of rounds being played and the number of participants is rising."

It won't just be on-trend Kiwis swinging clubs - foreign visitors will, too. Tourism NewZealand is spending up to a $2 million, over the next three years, marketing the country as a golfing destination.

Talk about Avatar

Filming of The Hobbit trilogy has finished and stripped Mr and Ms 2014 of a reliable conversation topic. Luckily, the replacement has just been delivered: The Avatar sequels. Such fertile ground! Mr and Ms 2014 will argue endlessly about the film series' tax rebates - should Hollywood get special treatment? Should the film industry receive support that other industries don't? They will discuss rumoured filming locations and possible plot lines. Occasionally they will jokingly wonder (when they're not joking at all) whether they might be able to land a role as an extra. They will also frequently be sure that they saw James Cameron in Countdown.

Use wearable technology

Mr and Ms 2014 are ready to stop talking about wearable technology and start buying it. Their interest will be peaked by the hysterically anticipated launch of Google Glass. But odd-looking eyewear offering the type of portable technology once confined to smartphones will not be the only gadgets on offer: Smart watches and bracelets will also take a crack at the mainstream.

British tech forecasting and analyst firm Juniper Research predicts that the number of smart glasses shipped worldwide will jump from 87,000 last year to 10 million a year by 2018. The company says that US$19 billion ($23 billion) will be spent on wearable technology in the next five years.

Declare themselves feminists

After decades in which perfectly modern women shied away from calling themselves feminists, Ms 2014 will begin using the f-word with pride. Her change of heart began this year as feminist issues garnered global attention: discussion of rape culture, triggered by the fatal gang attack on a young woman in Lahore; the sexist attacks on Australian leader Julia Gillard; and Texas state senator Wendy Davis' epic pro-choice filibuster.

New Zealand plunged into the discussion with the Roast Busters scandal, the Law Revue Girls' YouTube take-down of Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines video and young Kiwi feminists Eleanor Catton and Lorde finding superstardom. Law Revue Girl Olivia Lubbock, 23, says the tide has turned and feminism is on its way back. "There are a lot of young women role models coming through now," she says.

Dress in florals and pastels

Ms 2014 will wear florals and pastels. Yes, really. She'll rock dusky damasks and lavender chiffon. She may even carry a turquoise clutch and sling on shoes decorated with dainty daisies.

Fashion guru Leonie Barlow, who blogs at thestyleinsider.co.nz, says she'll be in good company. "Fashion is embracing a new-found femininity in 2014. The spotlight will be firmly on long skirts in floaty florals and sleek, ankle-length pleats. The key is to keep it pretty and feminine with sleek silhouettes and figure hugging separates."

When Ms 2014 needs a break from lemon and washed-out green, she may channel a Scot. "Checks and tartans will make a welcome appearance," says Barlow. "Oversized luxurious coats with soft, curving shoulders and cocooning cuts will take centre stage for winter."

Watch Paul Henry

Mr and Ms 2014 will watch the January launch of Paul Henry's new late-night show - they won't be able to help themselves. They will watch out of curiosity to see if his last, bumpy few years in television have reined in his daring. They will watch to be outraged and to police his humour. They will grab at the opportunity to cement their disapproval or admiration and to take sides over his Breakfast scandal all over again. They will weigh his wit with the disposed charms of the Nightline crew and talk about him at work the following day. And no matter the disapproval to approval ratio, they will make Paul Henry January 2014's hottest talking point.

Investigate 3D printing

3D printing could revolutionise manufacturing, design, medicine and numerous other industries. After years of seeing it as a far-off fantasy, Mr and Ms 2014 are ready to dip their toes in the technology.

Next year, the price of 3D printers for the home will drop enough (possibly below $500) to lure hobbyists keen to experiment with making key rings, coffee cups and, well, other useless junk. But it will be the powerful industrial printers that will really capture Mr and Ms 2014's imaginations. Howcan 3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) help their business? How can printing their product simplify their manufacturing process? They will investigate, pontificate and, says one expert, the brave will take the leap.

Dr Henk Roodt, a specialist in engineering science and the Research Programmes Manager at Wintec, says, "2014 will be the year trend leaders adopt it. 2015 the prices [of industrial printers] will drop and I think there will then be a big uptake."

Listen to Broods

You haven't heard of Broods yet? Do keep up. Mr and Ms 2014 have been listening to the Kiwi act's first single, Bridges, for two months already. A Nelson brother-and sister-duo, Broods are working with Lorde's in-demand co-writer and producer Joel Little. The pair - Georgia and Caleb Nott - put Bridges online in October and have now racked up more than 300,000 listens. Last month, the Notts signed deals with two major foreign labels - Polydor in the UK and Capitol Records in America, which all points to seriously big things in 2014.

Georgia says it has "been such a crazy year of opportunities", but she knows next year is likely to be crazier. "We can't wait for 2014 which already looks like a year of international travel." They will release an EP this month and their debut album will follow later in the year.

Worship vegetables

Last year, they ate quinoa, gave up gluten and frequented Mexican eateries but now, Mr and Ms 2014 only have eyes for vegetables. "Vegetables will move centre stage," says the cookbook writer and NZ Listener food columnist, Lauraine Jacobs. "Restaurant menus will start to mention vegetables first and the protein at the end. Vegetables will no longer be the garnish."

But don't expect the humble potato or lettuce to pull off such a coup. Seven Sharp host and Metro food critic Jesse Mulligan says it will be the most chic of veges doing the job. "Kale, artichokes and broad beans are ideal foot soldiers to lead the attack on menus overly reliant on the usual meaty suspects."

- Herald on Sunday

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