Well hello there my good friends! I am so excited to share this week's post on a very fun and important aspect of fashion design: Trend Forecasting! During my college days, I remember always being in the back of the campus library with my smuggled bag of snacks and my small can of Coke to sustain me until the end of my last 4-hour class. My table would always look overcrowded with stacks of Fashion magazines, sketch books, and trend forecasting publications that beautifully illustrated the fashion trend predictions for the upcoming years.I also remember being in awe as much as I delved into the seemingly strange new concepts, and wondering how in the world did they come up with this stuff!

I was slightly disappointed to learn that this wasn't some type of magic or telepathy skills going on behind the scenes of every trend forecasting service, but successful forecasting was nothing more than a set of consistent action and keen observation of consumers in order to create accurate predictions. Well seasoned Fashion forecasters predict colors, textures, materials, prints, graphics, beauty, accessories, and footwear to be presented on the runways or in stores. Fashion Forecasters in a nutshell are responsible for attracting consumers and helping retail businesses and designers sell their brands. One could imagine that such a service would cost quite a pretty penny, and I am here to tell you uh....hell yes it is! Although it is very worth it, for some new designers with a limited budget, getting access to services like WGSN, Stylesight, and more would be difficult at best; but don't fret my pet! There is still a way for you stay head of trends by becoming a forecasters yourself. Below are five action steps you can take to Forecast fashion trends like a BOSS:

  1. BEGIN YOUR FASHION RESEARCH WITH AN OPEN MIND. To prevent stagnant fog brain in your forecast, it totally helps to take a mental break before getting started. This is very helpful when you complete one season collection, and move on to the next season. A great way to take full advantage of said break, is to Enroll in my latest Skillshare class: Fashion Design With Soul, to help you get those creative juices flowing.
  2. ALWAYS CONSIDER YOUR TARGET CONSUMER WHEN FORECASTING TRENDS. I have worked with other fashion designers and business owners who specifically designed almost entirely with themselves in mind. In one aspect, designing this way could good for exercising your internal muse as I explained in one of my earlier posts: The Fashion Designer and the Muse, however when working for a company, client, or your own business, it is always best to focus on your core consumers first. Unless of course you have a secret army of clones that will live for everything you create! Of course that would be cool, and creepy at the same time, but in real life you have to consider your core customer as your best friend that you know everything about. In order to have this deep understanding you should write a brief profile about your target customer, and use as much details as possible. Here is a few example questions to consider:
    1. What Magazines, blogs, and/or books does he or she read?
    2. What types of shows does she watch?
    3. What social issues are likely to affect her?
    4. What is his or her age, cultural/ethnic background, occupation?
    5. Does he or she live in the 'burbs, city, midtown?
    6. What does he or she do in his or her spare time?
    7. What types of social media outlets does he or she use frequently?
    8. Continue this list of questions as you would any close friend!
  3. FIND YOUR FASHION INFLUENCERS. With social media slowly shrinking this great big world in which we exist in, it is so easy to connect with others no matter the location. Sites like Tumblr, Lookbook, Pinterest, and Instagram allows you to see what and who is trending. Take notes, observe, and follow. Be sure to follow people on those networks and more with relevant Fashion Industry positions like magazine editors, bloggers, and Photographers.
  4. KEEP YOUR FASHION PREDICTIONS BROAD. Sure your intuition may be telling you that bell bottoms will be the next big thing for Fall, but you should not just stop there. Look at other related material such as relevant time periods and abstract concepts you can build and expand your original idea upon.
  5. BE MINDFUL WHEN COLLECTING FASHION TREND INFORMATION. I have fell in love with many trend concepts both domestically and globally, but I always go back to my customer in mind to remain objective. Would a polished contemporary young woman be over the moon about the bell bottoms we mentioned earlier? Although I am sure her colleagues may be amused her new look, I am sure she would not be a fan of it. Always stay objective when identifying with key trends, and refer back to Action step #2 when in doubt.

In all of my excitement writing about trend forecasting, I decided to create a great FREE mini Spring/Summer 2016 trend report for you! Click on the image below to access it! I hope you enjoy this freebie, and most importantly, I hope the aforementioned five action steps will help you to create your own brilliantly curated trend forecast. Until next time my friends!