Fashion is a huge part of our everyday lives, even if we do not notice it. Fashion is the way we dress, how we style ourselves, what trends are present, and how they shift over time.
Technically, fashion is a rapidly changing cultural concept of constructed taste which focuses on clothes and accessories. More specifically, fashion is the habit of buying and wearing clothing that is in vogue at a given time.
How does one predict fashion then? How do people get on the bandwagon early to start trending something? How do people shape the trends?
To answer these questions, there are secret sources that fashion forecasts use to discover what is coming next.
Provide customer value
As mentioned earlier, fashion is a huge industry. There are many people who depend on the fashion industry for their livelihoods- designers, marketers, salespeople, and more.
By playing a part in shaping trends, you are helping others gain customer value. By giving people what they want aesthetically, you are also building customer value– they will like themselves more and feel better about themselves when they have the latest looks.
Customer value is what drives sales, so by contributing to customer value, you are directly contributing to sales which benefits your organization.
As well as providing customer value, keeping quiet about upcoming trends is another way to help your organization. Giving companies early warning on new products that will sell well will increase their profits.
These are both ways to help organizations outside of just having good forecasting skills.
As you can see from the examples above, fashion forecasting is a pretty cool way to spend your time. You get to learn about new cultures and trends, what shapes and styles are coming into style, and how to predict what will be in style next.
Plus, you get to share your knowledge with the world!
People look to fashion forecasters for their latest trends. Magazines, stores, and even brands pay people to do this. It’s a pretty cool job, don’t you think?
But how do you become a fashion forecaster? How do you know what’s going to be in style? Well, there are some secrets that only some people know.
The first secret is to make predictions. You have to look at things that are coming into style and things that are going out of style and predict whether or not they will reemerge in the future.
Understand your customers
Fashion is all about looking good and feeling good about yourself. People look to fashion for self-expression, to elevate their self-worth, and to feel connected to others.
As a fashion forecaster, you must understand your customers’ needs and wants. How does someone feel good about themselves? What does someone think is beautiful?
The answers to these questions change constantly. You must keep up with the ever-evolving answers!
For example, if people are feeling less confident, then darker colors or coverups may be in style. If people are feeling more creative or artistic, then loose-fitting clothes may be a trend.
These trends may shift over time as well. Tight clothing may be in style one year, and looser clothing the next. One color may be dominant one year, and another the next.
Watch what popular celebrities are wearing
Aside from keeping an eye on social media, other important sources to lookout for fashion trends are popular celebrities.
Many celebrity fashionistas love to showcase new looks and trend favorites on the red carpet events and during their everyday life. Some even have their own fashion lines where they showcase new looks and ideas.
Mixing these two together can create a wealth of inspiration for new trends. For example, a celebrity wears a new outfit on the red carpet and everyone loves it, then someone else adds a piece or feature from their own wardrobe on it to create a new look.
Celebrities can also help spread trends by wearing the same ones. For example, if many celebrities start wearing fitness trackers, then more people will begin to as well because it is “in”.
Pay attention to the weather
It might sound silly, but the weather has a huge impact on fashion. Whether it’s sunny and warm or cold and winter, people look for different materials and styles to suit the weather.
For example, if it’s hot outside, most people want to wear light and airy fabrics that cover them up. Layers are also a trend right now, as they help keep you cool.
If it’s winter, people look for warm materials and heavy jackets and coats. Plus, fuzzy fabrics are a hit every year around winter time!
Watching the weather update every hour can even help you predict what the next season’s trends will be. For instance, if it starts getting cold at some point in the year, more heavy clothing hits the fashion scene!
This is very important information to know as a fashion forecaster. Knowing what kinds of clothes are in demand due to the weather will help you predict trends.
Monitor news stories and events
As mentioned earlier, news stories and events can spark interest in new colors, products, and trends. For example, a new president can bring about a resurgence in patriotism and American-made products.
By watching the headlines and keeping track of what’s trending, fashion forecasters can predict what the next big thing will be. This is not so easy to do, however!
Manuela Angelucci is a senior fashion forecast analyst for individuals and companies at the Parisian organization called The Business of Fashion. She explains how difficult it is to correctly predict trends in an article she wrote for Racked:
“Predicting the future of fashion is never an easy task. It takes years to develop a sense of what might be next as we analyze past seasons, emerging designers, street style, industry buzzwords, and so much more — but it”s always a moving target.
Look at how people are dressing socially
As fashion forecasters study how people are dressing socially, so do trend researchers who study the fashion industry.
They look at what colors are popular, types of clothing that are favored, and what brands are being admired. These researchers keep an eye on social media as well, to see what clothing is being photographed and shared.
Many times, brands produce new items in colors or patterns that they notice are becoming popular. Or, they produce items that look like other items due to the demand for them.
The same goes for sizing! If people are looking into buying new clothes but can’t find the right size, then the brand may increase the size of their products to accommodate for this demand.
All of these things can influence the production and popularity of new items and sizes within the fashion industry.
Watch how people are dressing professionally
Following professional dress trends is a great way to get ideas on what is trending. What’s in fashion for professionals is very different from what’s in fashion for the street style crowd.
Professional dressers are more inspired by other professionals and the brands that produce quality work attire. The gear needed to get the job done is what drives the fashion.
Street style photographers, however, look to see what people are wearing on the street and combine that with what is currently in fashion. This can result in some very strange combinations of clothing.
Either way, observing both professional dressers and street style stars is a good way to pick up on some trends before they hit the mainstream.