Recapping Li Edelkoort’s Trend Talk at Design Indaba 2018

Li Edelkoort

The Design Indaba is always hotly-anticipated every time it rolls into Cape Town. It’s been formally called the best design conference in the world, and for good reason. The organisers constantly ensure that only the best and most cutting-edge designers are there to inspire, share insight and display their latest works.

One such inspirational presence is Li Edelkoort, the inimitable Dutch forecaster, whose talk always ends off the festival in style and her trends talks this year delivered.

It’s no small feat to be able to engage your awareness to everything taking place in the world and use it decipher trends, but Edelkoort is nothing short of a master at it. Predicting trends may also sound like a bit of smoke and mirrors, but when you see Li in action, it’s very clear how real and important her work is.

The talk began with a focus on fashion. First, she’s predicted that the colour trends for 2019 will take on a very organic feel. After a trip to a Moroccan souk, Li spoke about how she was taken by the natural colours of food products. Looking at things like pulses, grains and legumes, the colours she thinks will take centre stage will be very earthy, muted and soft.


Following on from that, she moved on to the main aspect of her fashion focus – goddesses. Because of the state of unrest in the modern world, women and women’s issues have never been more relevant than they are now. A simple glance at current events will tell you every day one or another conservative based in the U.S is trying to repeal rights for women. President Trump, in particular, has all but declared war on women, which is why movements like #metoo and the women’s marches have been so important. All of these events led Li to look at mythological women of power – these goddesses now represent the modern more than ever and have a role to play in the trends for the coming year.

It is hard to precisely sum up exactly what Li said, so we’re looking at this as more of an overview. Essentially, each of these goddesses represents some part of the modern woman. It all starts with Mother Earth, who evokes thoughts of round, soft shapes and being in touch with the earth and environment. Li spoke about flat shoes coming back, as a way to ground ourselves. The colours related here are, obviously, natural, earthy and organic. The rest of the goddesses followed similar, inspirational suit. The choice of goddesses was varied and featured figures like Athena, with her sober, neutral, power dressing to Persephone, the embodiment of nubile innocence and a lover of all things pink. She also spoke about Hestia, whose love of cooking and nourishing others is even seen as a riotous act nowadays. Aphrodite was acknowledged too, because of her unwavering love and how she inspires colours like seafoam and skin colours. Artemis, the strong-headed hunter, represents hardy colours and materials.

Spiritual House

Moving on to interiors, the need for solace and sanctuary was particularly poignant in this year’s talk. More than ever, we want to feel safe and comforted in our homes, as a way to restore ourselves from the constant upset in the outside world. This means, according to Leigh, round and circular shapes will be popular, as well as very textured and exaggerated materials. We want to feel the weaves on cosy blankets and drape ourselves in soft textures.  Handmade items are also coming back in, with their irregular shapes welcome. This is a nod to honouring slow craft in a time of high tech.

All in all, it’s hard to summarize Li Edelkoort’s trend talk succinctly. She’s a veritable wealth of knowledge and her conscious engagement with her surroundings is enviable. However, it’s fair to say that 2019 will be a year of honest and organic textures, colours and craft.

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