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Trend forecasting – what should you do?

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There is a lot more to forecasting fashion trends than just predicting colors or cuts. Trend forecasting can help fashion retailers plan ahead and provide customers with what they want.

The world of fashion is constantly evolving, and fashion trends are constant changing. It is so important to keep up with them when you work in the fashion industry. To be competitive, many brands rely on trend forecasts to support future marketing initiatives and ensure that their products are aligned with customer demands.

Fashion trends are the popular styles of clothing and accessories at a particular moment in time. They comprise of microtrends, which are things like tiny sunglasses, platform shoes or high-waisted denim, which cycle in and out of fashion within a matter of months up to a few years; to macro trends, which change over a longer period of time and have more to do with lifestyle and demographic changes.

Fashion forecasting involves studying and looking at things like world events, past and present trends, and things that impact consumers and/or any problems they are facing. It is the field within the fashion industry that predicts upcoming fashion trends, which could be anything from colors and styling techniques to fabric textures, that will spark consumer demand.

For example, Covid-19 is a world event, a macro trend that has completely changed consumers lifestyles, the way they shop and what they like to wear. As a result, fashion categories such as loungewear and athleisure has seen a tremendous growth, and on a smaller scale, trendy, fashionable masks were created.  

Trend forecasting is a much bigger job than it once was. Fashion and trend forecasters today must be creative and quick to keep up with the technology. How does one actually forecast trends? Here are some avenues to explore if you’re interested in fashion forecasting:

Magazines and newspapers – Although there is a wealth of information online these days, sometimes it is also nice to go back to the old fashioned print. Fashion magazines and newspapers can be a great source of information for upcoming trends for all types of fashion. They are a great and also affordable way to get a curated understanding of seasonal trends.

Fashion forecasting agencies – You can certainly do your own studying and research to forecast, but you can also let the professionals do the job. By having an expert predict what’s happening in the fashion world, you’ll know exactly how to plan your marketing campaigns and production capacities. Some even provide a personalized trend forecast based on your specific brand needs.

Going to fashion/runway shows – It’s always recommended to keep an eye on what’s going on at all the fashion weeks around the world. From the New York Fashion Week to KL Fashion Week runway shows, these international events act as a catalyst for the upcoming seasonal trends. Before the rise of the Internet, trend forecasters did most of their research at fashion shows, where they noted the most promising looks, and then brought that information from the catwalk to product developers and fashion magazines. Pay attention to the silhouettes, themes, and details and try to spot what might become a trend.

Social media and influencers – You can use all different types of social media to keep up with fashion. These days, social media is the first place that fashion attendees industry insiders, and brand followers post their thoughts. Most fashion bloggers and influencers will have an Instagram or Facebook account which you can follow for more inspiration and guidance. Today, trend forecasters are also more likely to look at influencers, street style, and blogs for information on the latest trends.

Market Research – To confidently create a forecast, a large scope of information must be collected through research. Analyzing your own customer’s buying trends can help you make informed decisions for the next season. You should also focus on more than just the numbers. What types of habits are popular amongst your target audience? Are there local or cultural events that could influence your buyer? Understanding who your customer is and how they wear your clothes by researching in the field and looking at your business data is vital to understand what trends work for your brand and which don’t.

Looking at other industries: Small independent fashion designers might stay away from mainstream trend forecasting altogether, instead looking at other creative industries such as music, art, film, and nature to inspire their unique collections and trends.

Whether or not you analyze and research for trends yourself, there are certainly many ways to trend forecast and a mountain of information out there. When looking at the information you need to remain objective and you will need to see the big picture to understand which trends to act on and when. There is no doubt that using trend insights effectively can help strengthen your fashion brand’s positioning, and also validate a design idea or the direction you have for your brand.

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