Career as a Fashion Forecaster
Fashion is one industry that is and has to be ten steps ahead of the curve, always. As an industry that is defined by not just seasonal styles but also with fast fashion that flips in weeks, fashion professionals always have to be on their toes. Especially fashion forecasters, who are the lesser-known yet the most important part of the industry workings. You can call them the backbone of the fashion world—the starting point of every fashion trend that surfaces every few months. In the fast-paced and evolving world of today, the need for a fashion forecaster is a treasure, a valuable resource. Without them, there’d be no pattern to the fashion trends, no stream-lined system to seasonal and mid-season fashion, and absolutely no substance in the industry.
Who is a Fashion Forecaster
A fashion forecaster is someone who brings their research, analytical skills, creativity, and knowledge of various industries to the table for one common reason—fashion. They study the past fashion trends, gauge the current trends and happenings in other industries, research on cultural or other notable movements across the globe, and then predict fashion trends for the coming time. Their expertise and study reveal specific colours, designs, patterns, prints, etc., that will reign the fashion industry in the future.
Now, fashion forecasting can be either short term (fad forecasting) or long term. While the short-term focus on trends that will rule the industry for the next 1-2 years, the latter sets the tone of the trends for the next 5-10 years. Either way, professionals in this domain are expected to not only stay up-to-date with the past and present of fashion but also of other global happenings. Since fashion is a universal medium of expression, it is largely affected and guided by the worldwide phenomenon. This makes it a requirement to be constantly updated with the general know-how of the world around you.
Must-Haves for a Fashion Forecaster
It takes more than just an interest in fashion and a lot more than just basic fashion skills. Since the job of a fashion forecaster holds immense value in the industry, it also takes some broad skills that are absolute must-haves for them. Here they are:
- Creativity: Since you will be predicting the next big thing in the fashion world, creativity is a skill that goes into your ‘must-have’ list naturally. Everyone knows that without creativity, fashion is nothing! So, when you set out to give the world and the many fashion businesses, professionals, and customers their next wardrobe picks, your creativity should remain at the top.
- Research Skills: This one goes without saying! Extensive research is a part of your everyday life as a fashion forecaster. Researching the past and present trends of fashion, current and historical global movements, and cultural, political, or social news around the world, is one of the most important factors to consider when predicting future fashion trends.
- Analytical Skills: An in-depth and accurate analysis of all your knowledge and research findings is another most important skill for a fashion forecaster. Having smart analytical skills that can accurately study all the information at hand and predict trends accordingly is one of the most distinguishing skills in this profession.
- Networking Skills: Communication skills and the right network is an exhaustible resource for any profession, including that of a fashion forecaster. Here, your connections and networking skills come at handy, especially when you’re the one who sets the tone of what brands and designers will produce.
- In-Depth Fashion Knowledge: In order to predict future fashion trends, you definitely need to be equipped with knowledge of past trends. And, fashion history can be a vast and endless subject that can also pose as a great source of inspiration or study. This means that an in-depth knowledge of fashion history along with the general know-how of the industry can be an add-on to your skills as a fashion forecaster.
Update with Global Happenings: Fashion is one domain that takes every other aspect of the world and puts it together in the form of clothes, accessories, and other styles. That’s how powerful expressive medium fashion is. As a fashion forecaster, you have to be on your feet and updated with the current happenings around the world—trends, cultural news, social movements, politics, festivals, etc. These factors also play a role in determining what the next ‘in’ thing in fashion will be.
Job Roles/Duties as a Fashion Forecaster
As someone whose research and predictions the entire fashion chain is dependent upon, as a fashion forecaster, you associate closely with designers, retailers, advertisers, media, etc. Your expertise is valuable to anyone and everyone in the industry whose job is to introduce new fashion to the market. So, everyone in this chain, right from the designers to manufacturers and retail stores, needs the assistance of a fashion forecaster. If you’re looking to work in this domain, this is what your everyday to-do list may look like:
Research on fashion, social, political cultural news and trends across the globe
Infuse creativity into the ideation and conceptualization of trends.
Maintain and build more networks in the industry.
Offer creative and operational support to fashion designers.
Present research and analysis to designers.
Stay updated with current trends and follow media happenings.
Study the historical movements of fashion.
Examine trends in other industries outside fashion too.
How to Get Started
An off-beat yet highly-regarded career path, fashion forecasting is certainly not for the weak. More than the skills, it takes immense experience and dedication to fashion and related industries too. It takes the will to learn, the curiosity of mind, and the hunger to bring change into the market. So naturally, to become a working professional in this domain, you have to tread your career path steadily and strategically.
A degree in fashion, whether it is in design, merchandising, production, textile, marketing, retailing, etc., is the first step to getting that career started. In addition to that, a good experience for 5-7 years can propel your career as a fashion forecaster. Yes, it’s a slightly longer process than most fashion careers, but then the profession at hand is also quite a unique and important one.
After all, what you wear tomorrow is in the hands of a fashion forecaster!