10 Key Drivers for the Neo-Conservative Trend

on 27/11/09

The Trend Boutique has identified a trend that is fairly unique to the UK, one of new (or neo)-conservatism. Building around a post-recession Britain this trend has been brought about by a number of key factors and events.  We give you a quick low down on its key trend drivers and how it is already manifesting itself on the high street.

Ayten Gasson Lingerie Range
Ayten Gasson Lingerie Range

No.1: ‘The New Manifesto’  – The UK is the only country in the west that is currently facing an election, and this is having a major influence on how the country is behaving, plus this is only intensifying as the election draws closer. After a fairly ‘happy & comfortable’ 12 years in power, we are now facing an election at a time of great unease, and just like when Labour took over from the Conservatives it is not surprising that there has been a major swing to the opposing party. In addition to this the Conservative, again like Labour, have learnt that they also need to present themselves in a more ‘central politics’, 'media-friendly' way, with a 'charismatic vote-winning' leader at its helm.

The impact is that it is OK again to vote (and think) Conservative, David Cameron has epitomised and become the champion of this new breed with a younger, eco-conscious, family-orientated approach. Whether or not they come to power - the influence that this has had will not wane, as we shift towards a more right wing country.

Conservative Website
Conservative Website
No. 2: ‘Eco-Craft’
– As we have previously mentioned in other trends there has been a move towards the more craft based, eco products a trend that is warming up as the eco-agenda comes centre stage. As we move away from the days of mass consumption we are seeing a return to softer more craft based products. Eco or craft doesn’t mean basic, but more of a traditional look & feel, with all products having a slightly more sophisticated and upbeat style. There is also a nostaligic feel for a 'Make Do & Mend' and 'Stitch & Bitch' type forums with sewing machines, knitting, & customistation of your own clothes still remaining strong.

Image from Re-Design
Contains Project by Re-Design
No.3: ‘Closed Borders’
– Whether you agree with the likes of Nick Griffin, from the BNP and hopefully with the furore surrounding his recent appearance on the BBC’s Question Time the majority of us doesn’t, it is still undeniable what a, huge, polarising issue immigration has become. As a result there has been a wave of support for Britain to ‘regain its identity’ which again has been further played on by the media. The Trend Boutique feel that being British actually is being part of a culturally diverse & slightly irreverent society, however the impact of this new flag-waving, call for a more ‘traditional’ Britain has had a considerable impact.

No.4: ‘The New Millennials’ (A.K.A … GenY , NextGen, , M Generation,  Echo Boomers ). Are those born between 1979 -1994 and are larger, and becoming more powerful, than the previously most-influential social group the ‘Baby Boomers’. Split into 3 sub-groups (Teen Millennials currently 13-17 years old, Transitional Millennials 18-22 years old, and Cusp 23-28 years old), the Millennials are surprisingly ‘conservative’ in their views especially when it comes to things like crime & punishment, yet more ‘liberal’ when it comes to things like the environment. What makes them particularly important is because they have grown-up with new technologies and the way they communicate, interact & share their views makes them important players both for brands politicians.

Hannah Heart Shape by David Severn
Singer / Songwriter / & Eco-Fashion Designer - Hannah Heart Shape
Picture by David Severn Photography

No.5: ‘Best of British’  – With the above factors having a major influence it is no surprise that we have seen the growth in a whole plethora of conservative, traditional craft or eco based products. What is surprising is that most of these brands have a young & an older customer base with phenomenal growth in the likes of Radley, Cath Kidston, Toast, Joules, and Jack Wills, and also the resurgence in the likes of Aquascutum, John Smedley, Pringle, and Burberry for understated British style. It is not just clothing that is experiencing a boom, but brands & products like Tyrell ‘Beef Wellington’ or ‘Welsh Rarebit’ Crisps, Fentiman’s Ginger Beer, Belvoir Elderflower Pressé all of which represent a quintessentially British way of life. In addition, our iconic British stores like John Lewis, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer have become the stores of choice in the recession as move away from the ‘designer’ culture towards more affordable luxuries. 

Picture taken of Tyrrells Potato Crisps Packaging
Tyrrell Crisps Website
No.6: ‘2012 and Beyond’
– Just like the African World Cup has had a big influence over Spring Summer 10 & Autumn Winter 2010-11 trends so will Britain hosting the Olympics for Autumn / Winter 2011-12 & Spring Summer 12. All trend companies will be looking to the UK for inspiration and you can look forward to a whole plethora of iconic British references. Hopefully this won’t become too much of a caricature, and they pick up more on the essence of modern Britain, but it is important the UK really does capitalise on its moment in the spotlight. With a lot of emphasis on regeneration and supporting young designers to benefit from the Olympics we hope that it works and we can see the kind of love of the British as we did during the ‘Britpop’, ‘Cool Britannia’ or ‘Anglomania’ days of the early nineties.

Artist Impression of Olympic Stadium 2012
Artists Impression - Inside the Olympic Stadium - London 2012
No.7: Flag Waving
– Maybe with the Olympics in mind, there is already a great number of Union Jack based products on the market from the more vintage & designer pieces seen by the likes of Lost & Found and their ‘Flags to Ritches’ Lamps where they focus on creating beautiful one of pieces with a ‘times-gone-past’ aesthetic, to East of India’s quirky bunting and paper chain decorations. Take a look at our ‘Ten Best Union Jack Products’ article for more inspiration.

Flags to Riches Lamp
Flags to Ritches by Lost & Found

No.8: Return of ‘The Good Life’ – As we take more an interest in the environment, it is not surprising that we have seen a return to a more outdoors lifestyle. This can be seen in the growth of pursuits like foraging and ‘freeganism’, the overwhelming adoption of grow-your-own vegetables and allotments, plus the new must-have chicken or pig in the back garden, we are moving more and more towards a self-sustaining ethos.   We have also seen the return of other traditional country activity too though, such as hunting, shooting & fishing and there is even talk of the ‘hunting ban’ being repealed in recent weeks.

Globe Hope Spring Summer 10 Collection
Globe Hope - Spring Summer 10 Collection

No.9: Cash in the Bank - We are still a wealthy nation despite the banking crisis, and added to this we are now starting to see a backlash and non-apologetic view from the 'bankers' saying that they deserve their bonuses. Atfer lots of brow beating and economic doom & gloom, the wealthy sections of the country are fighting back and wanting to show they have money and like the 'finer things in life'. Whether the rest of us agrees, we are nevertheless still seeing a return to the more extravagent ways within the upper echelons of society in a very old vs new money way, as luxury returns to its privaleged, exclusive roots.

No.10: ‘Maggie Thatcher’ Aesthetic – The Trend Boutique have picked up on a whole nostalgic fashion wave for the last bastion of the Eighties – Maggie Thatcher. With lots of pearl necklace inspired prints due to hit the high street in Autumn Winter 2010-11 matched with pastel twinsets and very traditional scarves, this modern, tongue-in cheek take on Maggie just adds more weight to this trend. Take a look at the recent Hermes special in the Guardian for reference.

Noir Advertising Campaign for Spring Summer 10
Noir Spring Summer 10 Advertising Campaign

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article resources

For further information & references visit:

Ayten Gasson

The Conservatives


The Crafts Council

Origin. The London Craft Fair


BBC - BNP on Question Time

Millenial Conference

Article on New Millenials


Cath Kidston



Jack Wills


John Smedley



Tyrrell Crisps


Belvoir Fruit Farms

John Lewis


Marks & Spencer

London 2012 Olympic Games

Lost and Found

East of India

UK Freegan Organisation

Taste the Wild

Independent Newspaper Article - Conservatives / Hunting Ban


The Guardian Newspaper - Hermes Special


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