Trend tracker, Lidewij Edelkoort. Photo courtesy of Trend Union.

I arrived for my interview with Lidewij Edelkoort and made a beeline for the coffee station. (Samsung had invited the noted trend forecaster to the launch of its Chef Collection Pop-up Showroom appliance store on King Street in Toronto.) I hadn’t had my first cup of joe yet, and I knew my brain needed a little boost before I sat down to chat with Ms. Edelkoort. She describes herself as an intuitive, abstract thinker. So, in other words, she’s not the kind of woman you’d have idle chit-chat with. She’s famous for identifying socio-cultural trends and providing her various clients in the fashion, cosmetics, retail and even automotive sectors with that intel. As she was finishing up another interview, I had a chance to take in her rather commanding presence: the signature grey bob, the shock of red lipstick, the Issey Miyake skirt, the Eskandar top and the Céline pony slip-ons. I couldn’t make out what she was saying, but I was already mesmerized by the languid yet authoritative cadence of her voice.

I started our chat by asking the inveterate traveller what were the recent stamps in her passport. “I just lost my passport in L.A., so I came here with a temporary one; it was a narrow escape,” she said, laughing. “But if I still had my passport, it would reflect my latest world trip. I went from Paris to Amsterdam to Seoul to Tokyo to Sydney to L.A. to New York to Toronto. I’ve been on the road about three weeks. It’s very interesting to string all these impressions onto a chain, like a pearl necklace. I’m exposed to all these cultures, food experiences, the architecture, all these new people I meet. It’s so helpful in understanding where the world is today.” And where is the world today, I ask?

Read on to find out the answer to that question, plus discover the one global trend in which Canadians may be leading the way.