FROM THE CATWALK TO THE HIGH STREET, THE IMPORTANT ROLE OF THE FASHION FORECASTER!
Fashion forecasters are indeed the backbone of the industry, ensuring designers and retailers are creating products that are on trend as well as on brand.
Clothing ranges simply wouldn’t be successful without them – we cannot just guess at what’s going to be popular, there’s a vast amount of research and knowledge involved.
THE ROLE OF THE FASHION FORECASTER
Fashion forecasters predict which silhouettes colours, textures, fabrics, graphics, prints, footwear, accessories, etc. will be the major trends on the catwalk and in retail stores from season to season. They do this by examining new and emerging trends across all industries, to see how they may influence future fashion trends. This includes new developments across the creative industries including art and interiors. They also take into consideration what’s happening in the world and any cultural shifts, for instance sustainability.
There are two main areas of fashion forecasting: short-term and long-term. Short-term forecasting, known as fad forecasting, focuses on what trends will emerge across the next 1-2 years, while long-term forecasting looks much further into the future (typically 5-10 years). The latter also contributes to development of the fashion businesses’ strategies, brand image, extending products lines and securing new business.
The internet plays a huge role in fashion forecasting. Forecasters will research upcoming designer and celebrity collections and new looks popular on sites like Instagram. Ultimately, a fashion forecasters’ responsibility lies in assisting designers and retailers to attract more customers and sell their brands.
WHY IS FASHION FORECASTING SO IMPORTANT?
There aren’t many areas of business that don’t use forecasting, as it plays a huge role in dictating brand direction and the creation of new products or services.
Fashion is one of the most crowded, and therefore competitive, industries there is – there are thousands of brands and retailers all battling to have consumers wear their products. Staying on top of what’s hot, and what’s not, is vital to retaining attention and custom.
The modern consumer bores quickly and wants to be able to copy the trends they see constantly. Subsequently, trends come and go much quicker than ever before. Forecasting needs to provide designers and retailers with fresh ideas regularly, otherwise they fall behind the competition.
THE IMPACT OF "FAST" FASHION
In recent years, fashion has been in the spotlight than ever before. The catwalks at major Fashion Weeks are now live-streamed, and consumers can get their hands on the latest trends straight away – no longer having to wait months for retailers to ‘catch up’ and deliver. This is called fast fashion and it puts a lot of pressure on retailers to keep up, but there are a handful of brands that manage this impressively well. Zara, for example produces around 450 million items per year. Their secret is in their manufacturing and supply chain, of which it has more control over than any other competitor.
Zara keeps most production in-house, rather than outsourcing to keep costs low. This allows for its factories to reserve 85% of production capacity for mid-season adjustments, so that the brand can react quickly to any trends that emerge from Spring and Autumn Fashion Weeks, celebrity style and lifestyle shifts.
WHY USE A FASHION FORECASTER?
Every brand and individual is on the hunt for a ‘flurry’ of a certain style which would differentiate them from the niche market of fashion.
Companies are hiring agencies and subscribing to websites to be updated with the latest trends by investing large numbers into them.
Fashion forecasters have become the major part of the industry as they forecast the future demand for particular styles, fabrics and colors and also predict the buying and sales numbers for future. This helps brands, labels and designers to plan and work towards their new collection which will be demanded and sellable in the consumer market.
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