So, The Condom Broke…

Well, its the morning after and the condom broke and you are pretty sure your partner had a lot of undeclared STDs. Time to face reality, and no, not a colourful pre-scripted game show.

So here are my predictions for what is going to happen in the immediate future (6 months or less)… What’s my qualifications to make these judgements? Before chucking it all in for pants, I spent 18 years as a contractor analysing and helping SME and Blue Chip businesses get online and/or improve their online prescience. Summed up, this means you would have to get to know that business intimately; their product lists, distribution methods, handling of stock. Often, way more often than you think, a business would not even be able to identify what its main product was or be able to adequately describe what the purpose of the business actually was. You would have to teach them about elevator pitches, write their product descriptions, mission statements, social media, terms and conditions, privacy policies, venture capitol, funding and grant applications. Which leads onto checking IP, copyright, trademark infringement and product placement in the marketplace (I know there are some “girls” out there who will be astonished to find I actually am quite an expert on the preceding subjects to which I respond, they should really read up on libel/slander laws ;). You get really great at instantly recognising which business had products that were robust, ethics that were sustainable, were financially viable, and had a future and which didn’t.

What is going to happen right now (in no particular order)

  • The Market will go down in stages and stay there.
  • Oil and gas wins over solar and wind so pipelines will be enforced for good of the nation and profit of bug business. Fracking will expand, law suits will be deemed unconstitutional.
  • Freedom of the press and especially satirical news programs will take a huge hit with some disappearing. Trump will change the libel/slander laws against everyone who says anything bad about him/the president. From now on folks – watch what you say on social media (IMHO).
  • Every case currently or in future against Trump will disappear under the weight and scrutiny of the FBI (Look at what happened with the underage sexual assault case. Everything was good to go until the FBI flexed their muscles and destroyed Clinton’s campaign. (IMO there is no doubt that pressure was applied to “make it go away”)
  • Gun laws will be relaxed and gun crime will increase and unfortunately be blamed on mental health issues or acts of terrorism.
  • Hate crime will increase – civil unrest – police state with no checks – human rights will be violated on an ever increasing scale (see UK)
  • Field day for the hacker community ushering in a new golden age of unlimited access
  • WAR.
    • Russia will seize on this to re-annex all lost territory as Trump will not oppose their actions.
    • North Korea will see Trump as weak and begin to test US resolve
    • China will see trade negotiating new agreements as aggression from a country unwilling to back up threats with force
    • US position will leave the UN a powerless puppet and scapegoat.
    • Human rights violations will increase exponentially, unchecked and largely ignored.
  • Equal pay campaign is out the window.
    • A retreat to the 70’s of a woman’s value in the workplace
    • Appearance will now be a selling point on CVs
    • Fat women will be legitimately prejudiced against as being “unhealthy” and therefore a hire risk
    • Maternity issues such as being made redundant during maternity leave will increase
  • Same sex marriage debated for being overturned
  • Health insurance will plummet, but payouts will become impossible especially if you or your family history shows pre-existing conditions. You think it is bad now…

Over the next four years

  • All imported goods will become way more expensive to manufacture
  • Customer prices go up
  • Independent/hipster business will rise but not fill the gap although their numbers will be used into fooling the public that industry in the US is on the increase
  • Shipping goods into the US even on a small scale will be more complex, be subject to customs search and take much longer to get to the market or buyer
  • Manufacture on a “living” or even minimum wage is not cost effective even under new rules and taxes. So as is being seen in the UK right now businesses will move entirely out of the US and set up in the EU (It’s going to be good for India.)

It’s not all gloom and doom

  • Good investments providing good returns
    • Time to sell your scrap gold
    • As world wide recession verging on depression hits, any business who creates escapism will rise in profits. This is a pattern repeated in history.
      • Gaming – all forms. Tabletop and card games to MMORPG to console and PC gaming with honourable mentions to LARP and group based paper gaming like D&D
      • Re enactment suppliers (for those who participate not those who go to watch). The numbers of reenactment groups and their membership world wide has been a booming interest
      • Local band and festival scene
      • Movie services (Netflix, now, sky etc…)
      • Crafting – sewing, knitting, scrap-booking (maybe not so much – who actually wants to remember the next 4 years…)
    • Real estate, DIY for home improvement. Having a property portfolio is a mixed bag of cats, but if you are dogged you can make it work. See what I did there? But if you wish to emulate Trump, realise he is covered in bad court judgements he had to pay off.
  • Emigration will increase world wide away from the US and UK as people seek a better quality of life in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Portugal, Malta and even South Africa.
  • War on drugs will take a huge blow with marijuana becoming legal in more states. Plus it will provide an entirely new and growing (hur hur) industry from seed to final product. But the best part of legalisation is we can all get stoned until 2020 and wait this thing out.

How does this affect me, the small designer?

People like to talk about “ethical” fashion. Most Indie designers make everything themselves or support a small team. Some who branch out into full lines are exceedingly careful to check out the companies they use for mass production. With increasing costs of shipping goods (taxes) even in process between countries, although this may be small it will impact hugely on the cost of the final goods. First class tracked across Europe right now for a single pair of panties (base rate on lightest weighted item) is £6.50.  Send it to a non EU country and the buyer has custom tax (VAT) to pay. If the item crosses a taxable boarder more than once the overall cost has to either be eaten by the designer or passed onto the customer.

Materials are sourced often from countries around the world based on working conditions of those who produce the goods, what the base process is involved and its impact on the environment and the base components are made from like bamboo, cotton, dyes… In a global economy the rule is exports over imports, I.E. it is cheaper and more ethical to produce everything in country than import it. But, it’s just not practice to expect a bamboo silk producer to set up in Cambridge where there are no bamboo forests. That’s over simplifying things but material costs will rise due to sourcing from the, well, world. Another cost that has to be either eaten or passed on. The only to combat this may be to reduce the quality of the materials.

The pure facts are that plus size women, hell any customer, wants a bargain and most can’t afford to pay £125.00 for a pair of handmade knickers no matter how exquisite or ethically sourced. Even at my prices which are half that I am currently struggling in the current ecconomic storm and I’m barely even able to cope with contemplating the tsunami ahead (really thought about saying sh*t storm but thought it was too puny).

Any luxury item in the next year is going to take a hit. We will see brands go under. We will also see designers get creative and hopefully rise to some of these challenges with some truly innovate solutions. If you have any comments or suggests I’d love to hear them.

How do you feel online world wide shopping will change over the next year?

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