Top 10 cultural trends for 2013

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2013 is the year of the gourmet donut - and nine other cultural forecasts to put you ahead of the curve this year, from concrete-effect nail polish to gym workouts at Alpine altitudes.

  • Doughnuts turn artisan

    Nigella Lawson served them at her Christmas party, but not the traditional variety; these were maple bourbon, ginger chew and bergamot orange doughnuts from Notting Hill’s new Electric Donuts. And they’re not the only ones pushing the gourmet doughnut trend. “Flavours such as chicken liver parfait, spicy ox cheek, black pudding and bacon and fennel salt will be popping up on menus everywhere,” explains Alexa Perrin, of the Experimental Food Society. Food expert Andre Dang also says we should watch out for street food stall You Doughnut! at independent food markets. “They’re going to be huge,” he predicts.

    Sample: Electric Donuts, London (electric; Jam Gou Dou, Suffolk (

  • Immersive Theatre Ups the Ante

    The theatrical fourth wall comes crashing down as immersive (interactive or site-specific) theatre hits the mainstream. James Wallman, trends forecaster, tells us, “Look out for theatre company Goat & Monkey who launch their latest production The Anatomical Venus.” There will also be more from Secret Cinema who staged a themed screening of The Shawshank Redemption last year – an audience, in overalls, went to ‘prison’ on a blacked-out bus.

    Follow: Immersive theatre companies Gideon Reeling (; Punchdrunk (punchdrunk.; Goat & Monkey (

  • Nail Art embraces texture

    When it comes to nails, there are four looks to, ahem, nail this year: leather, fur, latex and concrete – a trend that’s about texture as much as colour. “All of these looks will be huge,” says founder of Wah Nails, Sharmadean Reid. “We’ve been working closely with specialist latex designers to create shiny and matt latex overlays that we’ll be adding to nails – which means you should be seeing them on the high street by the end of the year or into 2014.”

    Try: Fur nails at Mua Makeup Academy (; for latex overlays; and Nails Inc’s ( leather and concrete-effect polishes

  • Rise of historical fiction

    Gone is the grey grubbiness of Fifty Shades; and in its place, thanks to the success of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, is a flurry of historical fiction titles. “Publishers have noticed the desire for books which teach you something, yet are accessible,” Phillip Jones, editor of The Bookseller told Stylist. “When times are hard, either financially or socially, we often see writers and readers retreating to the past.”

    Read: The Last Runaway by Tracey Chevalier (out now); Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (5 March); The Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Freemantle (14 March); and Shakespeare’s Rebel by CC Humphreys (21 March)

  • Fitness climbs to new heights

    Altitude training is making its way to a gym near you. A 30-minute workout in a room flooded with air that contains only 15% oxygen is the equivalent of doing a run in the Alps at 2,710m. “It’s the best way for time-poor individuals to get fit because your body works twice as hard in half the time,” says Richard Pullan, director of the Altitude Centre in London ( “It’s in its infancy but this year will see a mass uptake as more gyms try to attract busy city workers.”

    Do: The Hypoxic 5 class at London’s Third Space (, or rent an at-home kit called a hypoxicator (]

  • Smoke and pickles

    The new foodie pastime has changed. Instead of baking or blogging, this year we’ll be turning our hands to smoking our own food (meat, fish and vegetables), pickling and preserving. “It’s an evolution of the farmers market mentality and one which will flourish this year as people try even harder to eat seasonally and locally – preserving and smoking are the two easiest ways to do that,” says Rachel de Thample, food writer and urban gardener.

    Do: The Zesty Affair day-course in Cornwall on 2 February (£75, for first time picklers, and Smoky Jo’s in Cumbria (from £109, are the best for a crash course in smoking, according to Diana Henry, author of Salt, Sugar and Smoke: How To Preserve Fruit, Vegetables, Meat and Fish. Or, do it yourself by buying an at-home smoker from The Food Smoker (

  • Pork is the new steak

    Last year the steak – and beef in general – dominated the UK food scene, but this year will see pork resume its place at the heart of British dining. “It’s connected to a number of sub-trends going on this year,” says Matt McAuliffe, product development manager at Marks & Spencer. “The democratisation of the food scene started in 2012 with the rise of the ‘no reservation policy’ and will continue in 2013 with more chefs opting for cheap but tasty cuts,” he explained. New Spanish inspired The Salt Yard Cookbook devotes half it’s ‘meat’ section to pork, whilst John Harrogate of The BBQ Shack in Brighton is putting ribs back on the map. “Pork is central to street food, but is also at the heart of the gourmet BBQ trend that will hit in summer with the Grillstock Festival in Bristol on 11 May (,” he said. “We’re leaving the quick bangers and burgers of last year behind and moving towards ‘low and slow’ pork offerings like pulled pork and ribs.”

    Sample: Key dishes to look out for this year will be the Spanish presa iberica – a tender cut of pork, Chinese pork buns, Mexican cochinita pibil and pig skin as a bar snack or garnish.

  • 4G and Wi-Fi upgrade your commute

    Putting the inexplicably watchable Kevin Bacon TV advert aside, it’s fair to say 4G didn’t quite take off in the way it was predicted to in 2012, due to lack of choice and a heavy cost, but that’s all going to change this year when everything gets faster, more widespread and cheaper thanks to a series of fortunate events going on with mobile and TV operators. In a nutshell: you’ll be able to stream shows like Game of Thrones during your commute on your smartphone, because not only is 4G more than nine times faster than 3G, pioneer EE will be joined by a raft of providers also offering the service from May.

    Do: “If you sign up to Virgin Media, EE, Vodafone, T-Mobile or Orange, you’ll also be treated to free Wi-Fi on the Tube," explains Matt Hill, T3 deputy editor. "This could allow you to start watching above ground on 4G and continue underground"

  • Is that a bookshelf I see before me?

    This year our homes will get a French makeover, as interiors experts embrace a time-old concept called trompe l’oeil; wallpaper printed with incredibly realistic designs of ordinary household objects – doors, bookshelves, wardrobes and brickwork – creating a playful optical illusion. “It started with restaurants and bars” says interiors experts Sally Cullen ( “Rockett St George, experts in these kind of printed wallpapers, have had its work installed in Flemmings Hotel in Mayfair and in Dach & Sons bar in Hampstead use it well, but this year we’ll see people adopt it in their homes as a whimsical way of adding interest to a wall or your downstairs loo,” she told us. “When things are more serious – in times of economic unrest for example – we often see playful interiors trends, which is why it’s taking hold in 2013.”

    Buy: Companies like Rockett St George (, Bodie and Fou ( and B&Q ( all have trompe l’oeil ranges next year.

  • Collage your clothes

    Patchwork and collage will change the way we dress this year in the same way that print and embellished designs did in 2012, with everyone from Phillip Lim to Dries Van Noten, Preen to Dior using it in their s/s 2013 collections last September. Sue Evans, head of catwalks at trend experts WGSN says “Patchwork is part of the West Coast Seventies look which will be everywhere this spring. It can be mixed or collaged fabric or just different washes of denim sewn together or layered. It's also the start of next winter's folkloric trend so will be definitely endure until the end of the year,” she explained.

    Shop: Patchwork this year is about girly colours and fabrics but in structured and sometimes sexy designs: pencil skirts, shirts and high wasted skirts.

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Stylist Team