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Fashion 101

Forecasting Trends

Forecasting trends today is completely different than it was 10-20+ years ago. It used to be that there were top players in the forecasting game who worked for companies like WGSN, Doneger, Trendswest, etc. They’d travel the world, going to fashion shows, immersing themselves in the street culture and snapping pics of the most forward-thinking dressers in whatever beautiful city they found themselves covering. They’d sit through the glamorous fashion shows and take note of necklines, skirt lengths, sleeves, color. They’d then take the rolls and rolls of film they used, get the pictures made, and start creating mood boards and stories around the information they’d collected.

Today, the same is true of trend-spotting, but the difference is that the forecasters behind the lense of the (iPhone camera) are you and I. Social media and the internet has completely changed the way trend information is shared and created. There is no longer a formula; no more rules. This makes a designers job both easier and harder.

One the one hand, it is easier because there is so much free information available at our fingertips. All we need to do is swipe through Instagram and follow top bloggers. There are also loads of publications and magazines you can subscribe to on a monthly basis that is still cheaper than paying $10-20k a year for trend forecasting services. As a designer, you can build a pretty solid collection using this free information.

On the other hand, because there is so much information and things are constantly changing and moving, it is hard to keep up. A skirt length that seems to be trending today and for the next month may be old news in the 9-12 months before you are able to develop and launch the idea.

How can I effectively design a collection without spending a years’ salary on a forecasting service?

If you are on a calendar where you need to be designing 2 years out, unless you can see into the future I highly recommend using a forecasting service. A couple I recommend:

Fashion Snoops is a very budget-friendly choice for freelancers and small business alike.

WGSN is the top choice, but is very expensive and not necessary unless you are a bigger company.

If you’re not looking to spend money, here are a few great places to find good information on trends (that is not Instagram):

  • WWD
  • Any women’s fashion magazine like: Elle, Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Marie-Claire, W Magazine, InStyle
  • Apparel News
  • The Business of Fashion
  • Top Fashion bloggers with large followings
  • Tradeshows

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