Fashion forecast refers to the prediction of the popularity of clothing during a certain time period in the future, based on history and social analysis. It is fairly hard to predict the fashion trends because too many factors may influence the actual result. But it is also important to predict fashion trends for its great financial impact. According to prediction, United States apparel market will be increasing from USD 225 billion in 2012 to USD 285 billion in 2025.
Here's some practical way we recommend to predict fashion trend:
1. Start with fashion history. It is recommended to start with comparing the similarities and differences between the "historical trend forecast" and the "actual trends". This will help build a feeling of how fashion changed over the past few decades. For example, the Bohemian style was popular between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. But it went back to popularity called "boho-chic" at the early years of 21st century. You can say that there's no fashion, but everything is about history.
2. Analyze the past. It is important to analyze the causes leading to fashion changes and find the logic behind fashion trend. A book recommended here with such analysis is "Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century" by Kyoto Costume Institute. This book talks about the fashion history from 1900, Paul Poiret, and gives numerous details about the developing of fashion trend along with its explanation. This will be a perfect starting point.
3. Predict the factors. Just like the stock market, the fashion industry requires predicting the factors affecting the future trend. This is the hardest part because there are so many factors that might be "fatal" such as war, economy, sports and even climate change might lead to a direct impact on the fashion trends. For example, Pink Chanel suit was famous for Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, who's been a huge fan of it. The public can always find the logic behind the fashion trend.
4. Determine the lifecycle stage. Just like everything else, fashion trends have a lifecycle that involves several stages. It is important to determine the current stage so the remaining life cycle could be forecasted.
5. Use techniques and tools. Statistics and sociology should be considered as techniques and tools. Fashion trend prediction deserves fair amount of industry resources and scientific research should be involved. There are several institutions hiring scientists as well as designers to work on industry level fashion trend prediction such as WGSN.
6. Repeat previous steps. Fashion prediction is an ongoing process. Because fashion is a fast-paced industry, the prediction lifecycle is fairly short. Prediction made today will be verified in months, even weeks. The differences between each prediction and actual trend result should be always analyzed.
7. Keep yourself refreshed. It will never be too late to start reading and shopping. Some good and less expensive places to start are:
- Pay attention to the "Big Four" fashion weeks: New York, London, Milan, and Paris.
- Color and fabric prediction should be paid more attention.