The First to Know

Who better to present the idea of trends spreading, than the person who created them herself?

 

Dr Lida Hujić lives in London but works globally. The thing that she does daily can be briefly described as planning strategies for new products and brand positioning. In October 2012 she will come to Poznan to participate in the Open University during the 6th edition of Art & Fashion Festival and tell us who and how creates trends these days. Sounds familiar? Probably yes, because the trends, their creation and how they spread have been described by, amongst others: Malcolm Gladwell in ‘The Tipping Point’, Naomi Klein in ‘No logo’, Henryk Vejlgaard in ‘Anatomy of a Trend’. What then distinguishes Lida Hujić from all of these authors? While they provide examples from the lives of others in order to support their conclusions, Lida cites her own. A book published over a year ago: ‘The First to Know’ will be the starting point of the lecture. In the book, the author talks about her life, experiences, and observations placing them in the context of existing theories. Unlike Gladwell, Klein and Vejlgaard, who sought illustrations to complete their conclusions.

 

 The precursor 

It is said that the person who creates trends is, in some ways, ahead of their time. This person is open to new ideas, has a unique style, way of thinking and expression. It can be a politician, an artist, a musician or an athlete, whose opinion counts. It can be someone well known and respected, but also someone ordinary who creates the surrounding reality. Luda Hujić is one of these people. She grew up within Parisian artists. Her mother was a model, while her father studied journalism at the Sorbonne and was friends with Salvadore Dali. During her long stay in France, she didn’t feel right. When she returned to Yugoslavia, she was too Parisian, but in Paris she was exotic because she came from the Eastern Europe. In 1987, at 18, she joined the Omladynski Program team. During communism the radio began the freedom of speech, it was synonymous with a young wave in Yugoslavia. The speakers were not afraid to openly criticise the system and promote young artists by playing underground music.

The turning point

The concept is simple: ideas, news and behaviours spread like viruses. It’s hard to pinpoint the moment when interest in a phenomenon grows and it hits the mainstream. It usually starts in a single city, a small group, and spreads globally. This was the case with MTV, which was created in February 1987. A small room in an apartment on Conduit Street in Central London shared by a group of five young people, while two IBM computers occupied most space. MTV was the first TV channel, which promoted itself as a brand. It wasn’t just about music and promoting young, niche artists. The channel talked about crossing borders, the cosmopolitan idea of united Europe, it was engaged in charity and humanitarian activities. In MTV youth was seen as more of an attitude to life than the actual age. And that’s what its success was about.

Window to the West

Lida came into contact with MTV for the first time in 1989 in Sarajevo, through illegal satellite on the roof of the block that she lived in. She was fascinated. MTV became a part of her life; she turned it on every morning. She knew the playlist so well that even today she could recreate the lyrics of Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ and the motto of Vidal Sassoon’s ‘Wash & Go’ shampoo advertisement. At the time she didn’t know that the TV channel would change her life. Her success on Omladynski Program allowed her to work at a new TV station Sa3 that specialized in interviews with foreign guests. At that time, one of the opposition magazines published a list of 57 people intercepted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Lida was the only person at that age; the rest of people were from her parents’ generation. During one of the interviews for Sa3 she met an MTV presenter Paul King and fell hopelessly in love. From then on they were inseparable. In 1999 Lida earned a Ph.D. at London University, and the subject of her thesis was… the MTV phenomenon.

*The October arrival in Poznan is not Lida’s first visit in Poland. She has already visited the country twice. For the first time as a representative of Omladinski Program radio in May 1989, as a part of the project of uniting the young Europe. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in August 1991, together with Paul King, she appeared at the festival in Sopot. It was a part of the MTV star’s trip to the Eastern Bloc countries. In Budapest, during an official visit, the Minister of Culture, Fodor Gabor himself, greeted them.

 

FASHION MAGAZINE 41/2012