10 Trend Prediction Tools for Fashion Buyers
Just like all other industries, the fashion industry is also prone to changes in trends, albeit more frequently. While some trends last for a few weeks, others last for the season and some are evergreen too. Trends that last for a short period of time are termed microtrends and the long-term ones are called macro trends. Macro trends tend to change over a long period of time because it has to do with demographic and lifestyle changes rather than the latest fashion designs.
Trend forecasting is an important domain in the world of fashion because anticipating future opportunities is what helps enhance your business. Predicting fashion trends such as styling techniques, colours, and fabric textures have the potential to spark fashion buyers’ demand so that their brand stays on top of the competition. This helps to keep your fashion buyers’ business in a better position to meet the growing and changing demands of their customers.
The trend forecasting process is unique to every brand based on their business and buyers. For example, womenswear brands concentrate more on micro trend analysis compared to menswear brands because women’s clothing brands let out more collections per year. Other factors that come into play are the size of your company, the target market, and the buying trends. Here are 10 prediction tools for fashion buyers.
- In-House forecasters: Large fashion brands are vertically integrated. This means that they are independent and the fashion trend forecasting is done in-house. This process allows the fashion forecasters and fashion brands to collaborate directly with product development teams in order to create new products to boost sales.
- Trend forecasting agency: Large fashion houses that do not do trend forecasting in-house usually turn to a professional trend forecasting agency to get the help of industry experts. They do the research and produce a research report and charge fees for it.
- Fashion Shows: Before the advent of the internet days, the main source of fashion forecasting was going to fashion shows. The fashion forecasters did most of the research at the fashion shows and made a note of the most promising looks. This information was then shared with the media, fashion houses, fashion magazines, and product developers. This process is also known as top-down forecasting, which refers to the way various fashion trends make their way from the haute couture runways to the publicly accessible high street shops.
- Influencers: In today’s internet age, trend forecasters turn to influencers, street style fashionistas, hip and happening blogs for style and trend updates. This is called “bottom-up” forecasting. Here, the popular street styles find their way up to the hot couture runway because they are that popular. Social media has played a magnanimous role in this.
- Other Industries: Fashion designers who are just starting out or experimenting may choose to stay out of the trend forecasting process altogether. They create mood boards in terms of art, film, nature and inspire unique creations. This also has the potential to set trends too.
- Newspapers and Magazines: In top-down forecasting, various hot couture trends find their way to the sources accessible to the masses. Be it off-the-shelf or subscription only, fashion magazines, newspapers and newsletters are a great resource for trend prediction. This is because journalists talk to the industry experts and publish interviews that may contain valuable information about upcoming trends. Majority of the population has access to online newspapers, magazines and blogs.
- Trade shows: Attending trade shows is a great way to get a clear picture of any upcoming styles and trends based on fashion buyers’ interests. This gives you direct access to presentations and fashion buyers’ mindsets.
- Market Research: Analyse your own customers’ buying patterns and trends to understand what works and what doesn’t. This is highly dependent on the social status of their customers, demography, season, and what products their clothing line offers. This way, you’ll be able to extensively work on what trends work for your brand and build on it.
- Social Media: Almost everyone has a social media account these days. Whether the accounts are of fashion influencers or not, you can access the latest trends by using the right hashtags. This will give you a great insight into how trends are evolving and on what basis they are changing. Based on this valuable information, you can work on your fashion brands’ development accordingly so that your buyers can tend to the preferences of their customers.
- Seasonal collections: Look at what the top fashion brands are offering during the festive seasons and other seasonal collections. Though this varies from year to year, there are some underlying factors. Once you do your research and understand what that factor is, you will be able to uniquely integrate that into your fashion brands’ collections.
In fact, every resource is a good way to gain insight into what you are looking for. You never know what may make it to the trends list. Create something unique to your brand. Either stay on top of the trend or begin the trend yourself.