By Cynthia Maxwell, Trend Forecasting

How many more “cold shoulder” and off the shoulder tops and dresses can we bear as we have seen more than enough this last spring and summer season. The trend does not seem to be letting up, as recent women’s pre-spring 18 runways are still full of them. Don’t get me wrong, the off the shoulder top is sexy but try lifting your arms freely to eat and drink without having to re-adjust the neckline....constantly.

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While this shoulder-bearing trend is nothing new there is even more exposure with completely sheer tops, dresses and skirts that have been trickling into retail lately. These items had a big presence at the pre-spring 18 runways-Prada, Fendi and Christian Dior to name a few. Interestingly enough this “leaving little to imagine” trend has also shown up in a few other product categories worth mentioning...

In time for holidays, Apple will release its version of the smart speaker the Home Pod. All structural components inside and out are exposed in this stunningly designed hands free device. If it works as well as it looks, and it looks good, I believe it will influence technology design for a long time.

Brandless Store ProductsThe new online grocery store Brandless, keeps costs down by being a completely non-brand company- exposing only the product and its ingredients. Entirely organic, GMO free and priced at $3 or less is enticing, but the colors, shapes and simple labeling of the products create an appealing design aesthetic.

Taking “exposed” to another level, as I have spoken about in my past Trend Perspectives, business transparency is huge trend right now. Patagonia and H&M are doing a great job at exposing their production and sustainability goals.

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Patagonia’s Fair Trade video asks customers to give thought to where their clothes are actually made and to take into account that less expensive deals are not always the answer, especially at the risk of poor working conditions. Besides the obvious support of better working conditions, this process reinforces the growing trend of consumers investing in higher quality products instead of buying more for less. By fall, Patagonia plans to offer customers 440 Fair Trade styles from 12 different factories. They are the first to bring Fair Trade programs to Mexico and the United States.

H&M’s goal of being climate positive across their entire value chain is set for 2040-at the latest - “To achieve a climate positive value chain, we will engage in climate resilience activities strengthening the planet’s ability to recover and resist climate change, to absorb emissions equal to the impact our value chain is responsible for and in addition also more emissions than that. Further, we will also support technological innovations making it possible to absorb greenhouse gases potentially transforming captured greenhouse gases into useful materials.” - H&M Group about.hm.com.

Suja BeverageAs we become more focused on exact ingredients aka ingredient transparency, the decision making process is easier with Suja juice -their Classic, Elements and Drinking Vinegar products expose all ingredients on the front of the bottles. Plus their commitment to use only organic, Non-GMO ingredients increases customer loyalty.

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The “exposed” trend is strong as you can see and can be interpreted in powerful ways from design aesthetics in clothing and packaging, ingredient transparency, and company global missions. The obvious link is that this is one of those trends that is far reaching and inspires us to think of new ways to apply it.

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