There is something that I need to confess. I am helplessly infatuated by the idea of newness. I blame this on the beguiling speed that Hong Kong offers — my hometown before moving to the U.K — where every inch of heritage and eastern foundation is topped and layered with new ideas and novel proposals. The promise of living ‘in the now’ and the pursuit ‘of the new’ have been constantly sold to me for as long as I can remember. Even the old motors of public buses and the convening spaces of restaurants have long installed digital screens and TVs to drive this need, reminding us to stay current or risk being left behind on the ‘old-ground’; a direct translation of the traditional derogatory label lǎo tǔ.
This newness translates itself into queues of people making purchases for the latest fashion trends, culinary delights, and lifestyle mash-ups; and it doesn’t just happen in Asia. Coupled with the message of exclusivity and limited supply, a perfected fume is now mobilized and emitted almost every week to excite the urban marching crowd, feeding our initial interest for newness but morphing it into a dependence — a form of dependence that creatives and fashion businesses are urged to pursue.
With the instant financial rewards that newness offers, creatives are increasingly seeing the pressure to deliver this value, succumbing to the newness challenge.
“Just as newness is unwrapped and revealed to gratify our minds, its excitement peaks, slips and inevitably subsides.”
Producing newness on a regular basis is a key method used to attract the newness dependency displayed by the crowd and to keep the ‘brand heat’ burning. But as each brand adopts a similar strategy, these methods begin to age; tinged with a sense of sameness and indifference — exactly how is your weekly drop different from the others?
Science has told us that a creative process requires teams and individuals to go through a series of stages to reach an innovative output. It needs a ‘mess-finding’ stage where we identify the problems to clearly define the brief. It also requires the experience of making trial and error with our designs; so as to understand the market needs towards the final product. As delivering newness is set to be a mainstay for many brands and companies, creatives will more likely be feeling the confines of producing iterated products — items, campaigns, or otherwise — that trigger vapid engagements with limited sustainable appeal. The design products of iPhones and the sac Demi-lune were mentioned earlier as their years of affection were not upheld by newness alone — iPhones continue to solve the needs and problems of our everyday life; Demi-lune transcends a sense of understated Parisian aesthetic that hasn’t been weathered by its mainstream popularity. Only at the point of realising the narrow benefits of newness can there be room to consider a better creative solution.
For HAJINSKY, both Judith and I are committed to re-defining the balance between newness and a genuine and deep human reliance on fashion. Taking ourselves away at the beginning of the year and returning with a re-vamp and a careful selection of resources, we would like to extend our attraction beyond the initial newness effect — cue triggers of dopamine — but instead, to offer clear Psychology solutions that shift the industry in making more engaging and viable relationships with individuals and their needs.
The Neural Effect of Novelty by Prof. Nico Bunzeck and Prof. Emrah Düzel
The Appeal of Our New Stuff: How Newness Creates Value by Prof. Aimee Dinnin
Exploring Demand Reduction Through Design, Durability and ‘Usership’ of Fashion by Prof. Kate Fletcher