Trend Forecasting: Fashion’s Way Forward

Dr. Roopak Vasishtha

Dr. Roopak Vasishtha

Trends change all the time and it’s so important to keep up with them when you work in the fashion and apparel industry. Trend forecasting is a billion dollar industry. Identifying a trend is a continuous effort of compiling observations. It requires a lot of curiosity and interest in a wide array of subjects ranging from art and design. Fashion forecasting is the resource that helps in predicting trends in the fashion industry. The fashion forecaster must bring together his or her own knowledge of fashion design and history with consumer business information. Design firms and retail markets use forecasting services to predict trends in color and fashion.

If you enjoy keeping on top of the latest fashion trends, then forecasting might just be the career for you. Fashion forecasters are the backbone of the industry, ensuring designers and retailers are creating clothes that are on trend as well as on brand. Clothing lines simply wouldn’t be successful without them – you can’t just guess at what’s going to be popular, there’s a vast amount of research and knowledge involved.

In this article, we’ll examine what fashion forecasting is, why it’s important and what skills are required to go into this job role.

What is Fashion Forecasting?

Fashion Forecasting is the global prediction of upcoming trends in the fashion world. It is the process of analyzing and making predictions of the future trends on the basis of past and present data. It basically predicts the mood, behavior and buying habits of the consumer on the basis of color, fabrics, textures, accessories, graphics, and foot wear.

You simply can’t guess what’s going to be popular. Nothing is fixed here. This field requires a lot of knowledge and a large amount of research work. All the equations of fashion change overnight. The cut and color change according to the season, but now it seems that the style and material etc. also change before coming into the trend, so the challenges of this work are also unique. In such a situation, first of all, it is necessary to understand the difference between a fashion forecaster and a fashion designer?

What an experienced forecaster does?

A professional forecaster uses methodologies and techniques including qualitative research and interviews in order to formulate forecasts for product and services. They filter a stream of information looking for:

  • Differences in consumer interests, values, and motivation.
  • Breakthroughs in technology and science.
  • Changes in the economic picture.
  • Shifts in demographics that can restructure society.
  • Changes in industry and market structures.
  • Alternation in political, cultural, and economical alliances between countries.

From the research, a trend hypothesis is created which is then articulated into drivers, consequences and impact. Their research is distilled into scenarios and trend themes that include information on overall aesthetics, colours direction, fabrics and textures, print and pattern. Trained forecasters can help you navigate complexity, and provide an evidence-based view of the future.

What skills do you need to become a fashion forecaster?

First and foremost, you must have an interest in a wide range of subjects, industries and cultures, as all these things influence and impact the latest trends. You also need to be prepared to embrace your personal intuition and put trust in your eye for trends. If an image stands out to you – there must be a reason why!

Spotting similarities is a big part of identifying trends – you should be able to look at a group of several images and spot what links them. However, forecasting requires you to do a lot of research, too. You’ll need to conduct statistical market research and observe any socio-economic shifts.

Educational Qualification

It’s always preferable for the candidate to be 12th pass if he/she wants to pursue a bachelor’s degree course in fashion forecasting. Likewise, graduation is must to pursue post-graduation in this field. Looking at the great future prospects and career opportunities in this field, Apparel Made-Ups and Home Furnishing Sector Skill Council (AMHSSC) formed under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) is offering a special online certificate course to the youth on Fashion Forecasting. In this course, industry experts impart deep knowledge to the youth about various aspects of trend and fashion forecasting analysis.

Technical Knowledge is equally important

It’s not enough just to be creative to make a career in the field of fashion forecasting. But it is also very important to be aware of the technology used in this field. For example, in the case of designing apparel, you should have knowledge of fabric weaving techniques, fabric mixing techniques, dyeing techniques, stitching techniques etc. Similarly, knowledge of various technologies is also vital for footwear designing, accessory designing and jewellery designing.

A Standalone Career

Fashion forecasting is no longer dependent on other factors in the fashion sector. It has now become a standalone career. Experts such as LidewijEdelkoort, a Dutch trend forecaster have established fashion forecasting as an important career field. Many Indian fashion forecasters are also making their mark in the international fashion industry. National-International buyers and various brands keep a close eye on fashion forecasts. There are also immense possibilities of earning in this field. Initially, a fashion forecaster can gain experience by working in any fashion house and earn upto Rs. 20,000. Later, if he develops the ability to forecast the forthcoming fashion trends and can easily spot what’s hot and what’s not, he can earn upto Rs. 1 lakh.

Future Prospects in this field

According to a study, the fashion retail market which is worth Rs. 2,97,091 crore, will grow at a promising CAGR of 10 per cent to reach Rs. 7,48,398 crore by 2026. The Indian fashion industry is making its presence felt in the International fashion industry with its out-of-the-box imagination and creativity. The fashion industry has been focusing solely on profitability and quality for the last thirty years. The fashion companies are promoting their brand by hiring young designers and organizing fashion shows to add a modern touch. In such a situation, the youth will have a lot of work opportunities in the emerging field of Fashion Forecasting.


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