AN INSIGHT INTO THE RESOURCES USED BY INDEPENDENT FASHION FORECASTERS TO HUNT AND GATHER TREND INFORMATION
Today, trend Forecasting is a multi-billion pound industry. If forecasters can predict which fabrics, colours, silhouettes and patterns will be popular for future seasons, brands and manufacturers can plan ahead and ensure they are providing what their consumer needs and wants.
Having this information in advance and used during the product planning phase, results in increased sales and also helps brands establish themselves as industry leaders.
TRADITIONAL TREND FORECASTING AGENCIES
Subscription based forecasting sites are notoriously expensive and can be a challenge financially for new fashion start-ups and small brands. The world leader in the Fashion Forecasting arena is undoubedly WGSN, and this platform offers annual subscription options for medium to large fashion businesses.
Although the WGSN library provides ample inspirational material and regular trend innovation updates, the costs are unjustifiable for most small businesses and start-ups.
As a result, there are a growing number of independent Fashion Forecasters who are offering a fresh approach to this much-needed service and are providing affordable solutions to emerging brands, manufacturers, merchandisers and designers.
So, how does this new breed of indie forecasters [including us at Tiffany Hill Studio] gather and collate the information needed to produce affordable, actionable, accurate trend prediction for their clients?
There are a multitude of sources available for fashion forecasters to gather and hunt information from and research is also conducted outside of the fashion arena to give a complete picture within The Arts, Interiors, Film, Current Affairs and Global Issues.
There are endless online resources today, but it's always refreshing to view a good old-fashioned printed magazine.
Trend magazines are tailor-made to keep designers ahead of the fashion game and again, subscriptions to these can be expensive.
However, these are perfect for exploring fabric advances and technical innovation as well as reporting on trade shows and colour forecasts.
View magazine outlines key fabrics for future seasons and compiles inspirational imagery for future product development.
FASHION SHOWS & FASHION WEEK STREET-STYLE
Fashion Forecasters keep a close eye on what's happening at all the Fashion Weeks worldwide. However, the "show-goers" outfits at Fashion Weeks can be as inspirational as the shows themselves, so following street-style is imperative.
The media pick up on trends that emerge from street-style and these can be likened to catwalk shows in their own right.
The best show reporting in the business is published through Vogue and they report on close up details and accessories as well as well-known and emerging talent.
STREET-STYLE BLOGS & FASHION BLOGGERS
Documenting street style has taken on a life of it's own and these specialist blogs are dedicated to images of "show-goers" as well as everyday street fashion. Fashion forward and unique style is spotted and reported on blogs such as The Sartorialist which reports worldwide and is a wonderful source of inspiration.
In addition, Fashion bloggers feature looks that best represent their own style plus trending items, as well as new designers to follow.
Fashion Forecasters follow social media avidly - one of the best social media platforms for fashion is Pinterest. Looking for patterns, shifts and trending items across all social media platforms is a free and fruitful resource.
Influencers and their following, allow forecasters to keep up to date with trend driven brands and designers along with complete outfit looks and combinations.
INDUSTRY NEWS & TRADE EVENTS
Another advantage the fashion industry has is that it has extremely intelligent media outlets that have built their businesses by covering catwalks, trade and retail trends. Fashion news outlets like Drapers and The Business of Fashion are go-to sources for upcoming brand information, emerging trends and retail news.
Trade events are also an invaluable source of information and again highlight textile innovation, colour palette direction and moods for the season. There are several important trade shows throughout the year and networking at these events helps forecasters gain further insights.
Consumer facing magazines are ideal for finding major trends that are happening for the next two or three seasons because they operate on longer lead times so the editorial they create provides some market longevity. For instance, Elle offers trend reports, coupled with catwalk coverage. Identifying the publications that your audience reads offers insights into their aspirations and lifestyle choices as they are heavily influenced by what they see in their favourite magazines.
High end designers often gift pieces from their collections to celebrities for recognition and in the hope it will go viral.
Red carpet events and awards are a perfect example of this and a particular dress worn by a popular actress or musician can become hot property overnight, with retailers and designers racing to replicate their versions for their customers as soon as possible.
Fashion Forecasting is more of an art than a science. It is a predictive service that entire careers and companies are built on. Its not always easy to break through the industry noise and find out what's truly going to resonate with audiences but based on gathering historial data, design innovation and information from multiple sources, it is possible to provide accurate, actionable reporting that can be applied to al product areas.
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We prepare reports for new brands, designers and retailers, giving validation that you are developing or buying the right products, at the right time.
Over two decades worth of experience within the luxury and commercial sectors of the fashion industry has given Tiffany the know-how you need for your brand.
With both her craft as a freelance fashion designer and curiosity and vision as a forecaster, she has built a reputation for accurate trend prediction and design development.