The A to Z of Fashion Trend Forecasting
Have you ever wondered why suddenly everyone around you has switched to low-rise pants when it seems just like yesterday when everyone was seen wearing high waist and ripped pants and while asking about it or searching, you often get to hear or see one term i.e. trend?
Let me tell you what that term means, how such a small change in a fashion element takes place and what processes are involved behind it.
Trend simply means a general direction in which something is developing or changing. Whether it be in terms of educational qualification, a skill, a particular song, or some style.
Similarly, Fashion trends are popular styles of clothing or accessories at a particular moment in time. So how is it decided that a particular cloth or accessory is going to be in trend? This is where the role of Fashion trend Forecasting comes in.
What is Fashion Trend Forecasting?
You have often heard the term forecasting when you look for weather conditions likely to be for the next few days or in terms of fortune telling. In the same way, predicting the trend of upcoming seasons by researching and analyzing past, and present trends along with consumer behavior is simply known as fashion trend forecasting. It is a long process that involves studying and looking at various factors like world events, past and present trends, consumer preferences, color scheme/ silhouette, and target market, and finally analyzing the results to find what will be in trend in the future.
A short-term trend forecasting gives an idea of what consumers want in the next 6-12 months whereas long-term trend forecasting analyses huge directional factors like consumer expectations, change in local and international demographics, and shifts in the fashion industry that will impact the future trend and are there to stay for a longer period.
So, Why is Trend Forecasting so important?
This gives the whole fashion industry a lead to work towards a certain direction which influences the brand’s business and purchasing power of consumers. Forecasters predict everything that is required to keep in mind while designing a collection i.e whether it be consumer preference to switch from fitted clothing to comfort/ casual clothing due to some unforeseen situation like Covid-19 or the very small detailings that matters in the garment like the color scheme, embroidery detailing, etc. and not only that goes for a particular garment but accessories as well. A general collection put up in a store that has not been created considering current trends difficult to sell in the market.
Sometimes when designers don’t exactly know what to design and create next and are exhausted with old ideas for their collection, they may simply seek trend forecasting for some inspiration and create a collection that would be loved by all its consumers. And this not only goes for designers but other professionals as well in the fashion industry like fashion stylists before suggesting to others what to wear and what not in a particular period, they must themselves do a thorough research of what the current trend and how are they suppose to include that into their wardrobe to stay relevant in fashion.
But before analyzing the trend it is very important to keep aside your personal biases, experiences, and prejudices and should try to apply them to your designs without passing any judgments to stay relevant in the market.
Till now you must be aware of what is a trend and trend forecasting and why it is so important to consider but Stick till the end to find out how exactly it’s done and where to find these trends to be able to apply them in your designs.
How to Forecast Trends?
Several methods can be implemented when you forecast trends whether you are a fashion brand, stylist, company owner, or simply a student making a collection for your portfolio.
Newspaper and Magazines
Fashion Magazines and newspapers are a great way to find out what will be in trend in the coming season and comparatively is the cheapest source among all. Here are a few options for you, some of them are also available online:
WWD (Women’s Wear Daily)
And many more.
These companies create a curated collection of seasonal trends and are mostly very expensive for a fashion aspirant or student or beginner designer to afford it. Big fashion companies also hire some of these agencies to get personalized trend forecasts as per their brand needs. Name of a few the most famous agencies are:
Repeller and many more.
Fashion shows/week that take place worldwide have become the most effective and main source to know the upcoming trends. While the ideas from Couture and the avant-garde collection might not be applicable in mainstream fashion, some elements can always become a trend and are liked by many. In Past, these shows were allowed to be attended by only a few influencers, media, and elite people in fashion but social media has given access to these shows to the general public for free. This helps to get an idea about what’s going to be in the coming season and what’s not.
Attending trade shows can give you access to upcoming suppliers and get access to curated presentations but these shows are not allowed for all of us to attend. These are mostly for people within the industry to attend and get useful insights.
Analyzing your potential customer’s likings and dislikes can give you a fair idea of what will work for your brand or collection and what not and those insights can be applied to your next collection to make it more likable by your customers. This research from on field and online will allow you to make more sellable designs.
Social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and Youtube are free to source to get insights into the trends. Nowadays fashion influencers, stylists, and celebrities share their thoughts on these platforms and their styles eventually become trends and are followed by millions of people. Social media also gives access to see the runway shows live and get insights from them. Some trend forecasters share trend reports in terms of pictures on Pinterest. Some of these are Pattern curator, Trendsenses, Ambergrant, and many more. You just need to follow the right people to get the correct idea about future trends.
Besides all these, there are many other sources from which one can know about an upcoming trend like fashion lifestyle blogs, movies, fashion reality shows, observing your surroundings and people around you and the list goes on.
There is no right or wrong place to look to get trend inspiration from but if these trend forecasts are not applied in your designs properly, then they would become meaningless.
How to apply Trends to your Design Collection?
Stay in the loop with Trends
Do not wait to see these trends in front of you and then use them. This way there will already be a whole lot of collections available in the market and your work in future would become of no use. Try to get ahead in this game to be able to work on a collection that will be trending in the next season by going through relevant platforms of your choice and researching and analyzing what will work for you and what not.
Use Bits and Pieces and not the whole trend
This is another most important point to be considered. Use smaller components of a trend in your work rather than using it as it is. You may find different trends for a particular season while researching in terms of color palette, silhouette, and other design elements but using them all as it is could make your design confusing. Analyze the design elements in trend asper your aesthetics and apply that in your way to make the collection more relevant.
Figure out Why something is in trend
Understanding and analyzing the reason why something is in trend if it is will allow you to directly link to your targeted audience and differentiate yourself from other competitors in the market. Since you are not just randomly following the trend but you are getting inspired by it and presenting it in your way. For example, if the color red is an upcoming trend, try to find emotion behind the color i.e boldness and courage, and try to show that in your work rather than just making your design the color red.
Applying these techniques will help you to create a collection that’s trendy yet meaningful and different from all the other players out there. I hope this will provide you with immense insight and use trends in your next collection in a better way.
Blog written by: Prachi Sarawagi