Fashion forecasting focuses on determining future trends and a Fashion forecaster predicts which colours, fabrics and styles will be presented on the cat walks and will appear in retail stores for the forthcoming seasons.
This applies to haute couture, ready-to-wear, mass market and street wear fashion. Professional trend forecasters are responsible for helping retail businesses and designers to sell their brands by retrieving information on new looks, hot colours, celebrity wardrobes and designer collections and giving direction on how to develop their products.
Short term forecasting analyses current events and pop culture in order to identify possible trends that are communicated to the end customer through colour palette, fabric and silhouettes. Other areas that forecasters explore are interiors, sport, arts, science and technology.
Long term forecasting evaluates trends in terms of demographics and the impact on retail of the economy, environment and culture. It also aims to identify any major changes in international and domestic markets, shifts in consumer behaviours and expectations as well as new developments in technology and science.
Specialised marketing consultants focus on long term forecasting and analyse and report any demographics or psychographics that will affect consumers needs and influence niche markets.
Retailers can have in-house trend forecasters and this information is then fed down to product developers or designers who then determine the style, silhouettes and colours for the seasons, whilst creating an overall theme.
Trend forecasting is used by Retail Buyers, Fashion Designers, Product Developers, Graphic Artists and business management.
Forecasting can be implemented up to 12-18 months in advance, but more and more retailers are reacting to customer needs and trends more quickly by adjusting and sourcing their product offer faster.
There are many Trend Forecasting Agencies that specialise in identifying new trends. They release regular trend books, conduct seminars and have information on their websites that you can access from anywhere in the world.
The major trend agency players are Trend Union, Peclers, Promostyl and Carlin and these are mainly European based companies.
Fashion Forecasting books published by these agencies are very expensive to subscribe to but are available to view in fashion libraries and forums and sometimes at University libraries.
Fashion Forecasting books are usually compiled into different categories. These are usually womens wear, menswear, youth, beach wear and Lingerie and each book will outline the major trend influences for a season ie Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter. Books will include fabric swatches, pantone references, mood photographs, colours and silhouette sketches.
Some of the best trend research can also be conducted online and the top trend research websites include: Wgsn, Stylelens, Fashion Snoops, Stylesight.