Prior to watching the documentary Trend Beacons I knew very little about the crucial role of trend forecasting in the fashion industry. It was interesting to hear different perspectives from trend analysts and trend specialists in the fashion industry, on how trends operate, and how they are then communicated and projected into the future.
When forecasting the fashion industry, it is important to remember history becomes the future. Trends are created from the past and nothing is ever new. This idea can be related to the nostalgic concept of the zeitgeist; where as the “spirit” of things always come back. The zeitgeist map is crucial to forecasting fashion.
One trend analysts described the early stages of trend forecasting to resemble pieces of a puzzle, that are then pieced together to form a picture. She also compared the process to long-term and short-term waves in the ocean. A business must decide if they want to join the wave (a trend), and if they do, they must ride the wave (trend) until the end.
Trend forecasters do not make trends, trends emerge in the market place; they cannot be started or stopped by an individual person. Trend forecasters predict general trends two years into the future based on what is happening around them now. This can be related to Becker’s idea of the world, whereas trend forecasting is reflective and reactive to all factors of the environment.
It is interesting that trend forecasters still cannot predict what next seasons color will be, which is a long time myth of their role in the fashion industry. The job of trend forecasters are to observe research and analyze consumer market behavior and all external factors that will help to inform and inspire designers and brands in designing the future of the fashion industry.