Is your area on the up?, 10 signs of Trendification

Is your area on the up? 10 signs that you are in a “trendifying” area:

I have lived in St. Leonards on sea for 15 years now and have grown up seeing the town through several changes. I saw the traditional seaside town features when I first arrived, which during the recession changed into a series of empty shops, slowly developing back into a usual high street (but with some more arty shops). From this I am sure you get the impression not that much had occurred over this time, yet the change I have witnessed in the last couple of years has been dramatic indeed. We can call the change Trendification. By this I mean the rapid increase of immigration, typically from nearby cities, of younger more cultural and artistic minded peoples. This with it brings changes that develop a local area into a more cultural, diverse, open minded, younger, fashion conscious and dare I use the word “trendy” place. The changes that these immigrants have bought can be listed as: a rise in the culturally diverse coffee shops, restored colourful pastoral houses, “fashionable” hipsters, Specialist shopping (focusing on Hipster tastes), plantation type shutters replacing old curtains, artistic displays springing up everywhere, people drifting towards street markets, greater single issue political action, bicycles frequently going past you and finally social attitudes changing towards a more open minded approach to a broader range of people.

1. A proliferation of new coffee shops.

One of the first signs that this new wave of migration is changing the economic landscape is the proliferation of coffee shops, in particular those that are very culturally diverse. Recently I have seen European, Turkish and many other styles café’s opening with a visible sign of cappuccinos being consumed at perhaps unhealthy amounts. These shops are freshly painted in very upmarket colours you would expect to find in much more affluent places and sit in stark contrast with may of the more traditional café’s I recall when I first moved in here.

When looking at the customers who visit these places you begin to also notice a more middle class, more educated and a newer resident feel to these places, indicating that the market is increasingly changing to meet these people's demands.

2. The loving restoration of hitherto rundown property (Pastoral).

Whilst walking around the local area you begin to see the parts of the towns homes are increasingly having a makeover, where run down seaside coastal properties are being lovingly restored into there former Victorian and Georgian designs. The increasing uses of different pastoral colours, with stripped designs, alongside well maintained gardens greets you with every weekend walk. This can indicate two things, wither these artistic people are renovating cheaper run down places or the market is responding and previous owners are renovating as they know they can attract a much higher price audience. The probable truth is that this is both happening, resulting in some roads looking like the above pictures where they had previously looked run down.

3. The plantation shutter as the window dressing of choice.

As more roads begin to look like a colourful Victorian/ Georgian architectural masterpiece the windows discard their old curtain look and then display plantation like shutters. Furthermore more expensive and luxurious blinds are also purchased, this fashion and trend strengthens as time goes on and as property prices steadily go up. This more fashionable look is associated with property ownership and more a more desirable property look, which in turn increases the money that can be made from home ownership, which these new residents are increasingly working their way towards.

4. Hipster type people suddenly everywhere. Warning, Man Buns, groomed beards, skinny jeans, hats and designer dogs everywhere.

Two years ago I knew nothing of what a “Hipster” was or what they looked like, indeed my mum thinks it is a 70s term still to this day. Yet as I noticed changing commercial and residential property changes I also began to notice a newer look emerging, including beards, man buns, trendy glasses, a variety of hats (even in cold weather and when indoors), skinny jeans, artistic looks, groomed moustaches, bright clothing, increased use of trendy backpacks and designer dogs. When you see multiple looks of this type pop up in your local high street, beware trendificaion is soon on the way.

5. Specialist shopping. Think book shops, vintage, second hand, retro, food, Hipster styles.

As you notice a ever greater number of “Hipsters” living in your area you will also begin to notice the number of shops that cater for a more trendy audience emerge as if they were always there. These shops typically focus upon fashion, retro Items, diverse foreign foods, estate agents, younger designer shops, antique shops, art shops, galley shops, grommet food etc. These shops usually are smaller start up business and are taking advantage of cheaper rent prices, compared to the expensive one they could no longer afford in the city. Successful one expand to other nearby areas that are being trendified.

6. Art ,art and more art.

Once Hipster shops are set up the quickly begin to create displays that will attract Hipster type people. Such displays use vivid art, museum pieces, historical based shop signs, preserved and renovated historical materials, art galleries and other quirk items. On top of all this art work on streets, shop signs and pretty much everywhere you look also increases. Every time I go out on a walk I see a new piece of art, graffiti art, murals, garden art, photography and new art gallery ect… Finally, you realise that the best growing sector within the local economy is the creative sector and that art galleries, cinemas, theatre, tattoo shops, Victorian shop signs and other creative outlets will increasingly become more successful and increase in number.

7. A Street Market.

When an adequate amount of Hipster styled shops are set up and doing well within a large enough high street area street markets designed to support these businesses pop up from time to time. Increasingly market stalls offering gardening products, bakery items, antiques, fashion products, retro sales, grommet food, cultural diversity, vinyl music and generally offering products hipsters see as fashionable will be erected. Finally, there will be businesses organising community days where markets will be held, allowing Hipsters to gather on mass in one of there favourite shopping places, a street market, which will help to transform the economy, on certain days, in to a predominately younger, fashionable and “trendy” economy that reflects the tastes and interests of most of the newer residents.

8. Bicycles and all things cycling.

Hipsters need a way to quickly get from there place to a market, whilst having a vehicle to carry back good from the market. Bicycles, vintage bikes and cars all are popular with these people. Push bikes with baskets in particular are very popular as they can carry small items back form the market, or are also big enough to fit a designer dog in. The push bikes are often designer bikes aimed at a younger and more trendy audience and when you see vintage motorbikes and cars on sale and frequently driving around market areas you increasingly know that a possible second wave of potentially wealthier hipsters are coming into your town to help complete the Trendification process.

9. A fascination with diverse culture and wellbeing, for example through the opening of a yoga centre.

At first you feel that the increased use of push bikes is just a vehicle choice, but then you suddenly realise it is part of a wider trend of cultural change. Bikes also symbolise a though process of trying to lead a more health conscious way of life. This is also followed through with a greater commitment to mindfulness, yoga and things like Tai Chi. Furthermore this younger, fashionable, more artistic, health conscious inhabitants also show support for greater diversity through greater acceptance and displays of foreign culture and also support for gender and sexual diversity. This wider cultural change shows a shift in styles, which in turn affects economics, but also a shift in social and political attitudes, which we move onto now.

10. Community action stalls in support of much loved at risk public services like the local Post Office.

Finally, this process is solidified through greater action on single issues like closures of local services, referendum support signs, petitions, message boards of local meetings ect… This type of action helps to protect newer arrivals position in the town and it also helps show visible support for a culture that increasingly reflects their likes and tastes. Overall once you see the economy change, the look of you local area change, the politics of you local area change, the fashions change and people generally social attitude and level of open mindedness change in the ways described above you can say that your area has officially been "trendified".

We appreciate that others may define the changes described above as Gentrification, but we feel that this term does not always apply, and is increasingly becoming outdated. We explain what we think are the differences between the processes of Trendification and Gentrification are in the table below.

So, is your area being "trendified"? Thank you for reading, James Prentice, Director of Coastal Action.

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