[Sometime last year I received an email from David Moretti, the then-creative director of Wired Italia. He was beginning to design the annual book and wanted me to write an introductory essay. David and I met for breakfast in the fall, and he gave a passionate pitch for an essay that would focus on the significance of the number 49 combined with commentary about the importance of SPD and the current state of editorial design.
Lifestyle and consumer trends are part of people’s everyday lives everywhere. Trends in media and politics, though perhaps less frequently acknowledged as trends, shape the way societies are perceived and the way humans interact. Moreover, although we may think of trends as a recent phenomenon of post-war globalization, trends have been crucial in societies across the globe for much longer. In short, trends matter. Yet, despite their crucial role worldwide, trends have been subject to fairly little research beyond the quantitative social sciences. This is especially true for transcultural trends. This essay prefaces a series of upcoming articles in this journal all of which discuss case studies of trends that travelled from Europe to Asia or from Asia to Europe since the late 19th century to our current times. Why trends travel, who proliferates or obstructs trends, and how trends become popular are questions that are collectively addressed in all upcoming articles. This introductory essay discusses a series of analytical concepts that are all central to gaining a fuller understanding of the complex processes that underlie the transcultural travels of trends.
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