Fashion Forecasting

Identifying a trend is a continuous effort of compiling observations. It requires a lot of curiosity and interest in a wide array of subjects ranging from art and design.

Fashion forecasting is the resource that helps in predicting trends in the fashion industry. The fashion forecaster must bring together his or her own knowledge of fashion design and history with consumer business information. Design firms and retail markets use forecasting services to predict trends in color and fashion.

Identifying a trend is a continuous effort of compiling observations. It requires a lot of curiosity and interest in a wide array of subjects ranging from art and design, reaching over to science, technology, socio-economics, food as well as travel to name a few. Whilst gathering facts, at the root of it is also a personal intuition and an eye for what’s next, that can’t be taught or necessarily explained. Once you see there is a flurry of images with one particular thread running through, it’s very easy to see this is a trend, although sometimes a single image can be so powerful that it triggers an instant conviction. With trends that are very present on Internet, in magazines, often stemming from the streets or the catwalks, it’s easy to see they might have a 1 to 2 year cycle. Whereas some trends are very forward thinking – for example the breakthrough in scientific textiles – that they require more indepth investigation, risk taking as well as brain storming with experts from various fields of research, the final element to keep in mind is that some trends are perennial and so embedded in our common language that they never fully go away, for example fifties fashion or military inspired clothing.

7 Steps in Developing a Forecast

  1. Identify the basic facts about past trends and forecasts.
  2. Determine the causes of change in the past.
  3. Determine the difference between past forecasts and actual behaviors.
  4. Determine the factors likely to affect trends in the future.
  5. Apply forecasting tools and techniques while paying attention to issues of accuracy and reliability.
  6. Follow the forecast continually to determine reasons for significant deviations from expectations.
  7. Revise the forecast when necessary.

Color Forecasting

Color forecasters hope to give both consumers and professionals some direction in the seemingly endless choices they have when selecting fabrics and finishes. To develop color forecasts teams research trends they see across multiple industries throughout the year and then search for repeating themes that will be translated into palettes. Depending on the company, forecasts are introduced at strategic times of the year, and sometimes up to 18 months in advance.

Color Forecast 2014: We’re going back to nature with dawn-inspired hues and taking cues from technology with mechanical tones that are full of vibrance. The design community is getting a wake-up call! The earth and its science are both lending their best to the color forecast of 2014. While preserving cultural history with its rich, intense colors, there are also new shades that are inspired by technology and the world that is ever-growing around us.

Trend Forecasting

Trend: Can be emerging, building or declining; it has identifiable similarities across information sources. (Styles, details, etc); Characterized by a building awareness among consumers.

Trend Analysis: Detects short & long term trends that affect business prospects.
Uses all of the mentioned tools:

  • Fashion Scan
  • Consumer Scan
  • Fashion Analysis
  • Social and Economic Trends

Each retailers trend forecasting varies and is mainly dependent upon whether the company is a wholesale brand or private label developer. Larger companies such as Forever 21, have their own trend departments where they follow the styles, fabrics, and colors for the upcoming seasons. A company with its own trend department has a better advantage over those who do not because its developers are able to work together to create a unified look for their sales floor. Each seasonal collection offered by a product developer is the result of trend research focused on the target market it has defined for itself. Different from developers, merchandisers have much more experience in buying and are knowledgeable in what consumers will be looking for. The designer takes the particular trends and then determines the styles, silhouettes, and colors for the line and garments while creating an overall theme for the particular season.

The importance of Forecasting:

  • Accurate forecasting makes it possible for the fashion industry segments to prepare for and meet consumer demand with products that will be accepted and purchased.
  • Keen worldwide competition increases the importance.

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