Updated: Jan 8
Trend forecasting services could help to round out and finalize your research phase of development. I like to use them to help with final style and color decisions on an apparel line. Some designers consider this step to be essential to their work, while others prefer to go with their gut on these final details. It really all depends on whether or not you have a need to follow trends in your niche and the kind of garments you’re creating.
The first way you’ve likely already picked up on a lot of the upcoming fashion trends was when you were doing your Competitor Research. Scouring magazines and other brands for key details likely also gave you a picture of what’s currently popular in the apparel industry. Did you see cropped t-shirts over and over again during that research phase? Maybe you saw so many items that were the same shade of purple, and now that color is imprinted on your mind. These were more cues on what is trending right now in the industry, and they can help you to understand what to incorporate into your own brand. Be careful if only using these methods in your trend research though. If you’re following what other brands in your space are doing now, and you launch one to two years from now, you’re going to be late to the party.
WGSN is the future forecasting service I’m most familiar with from my past jobs: https://www.wgsn.com/en. Many corporate apparel companies will purchase a business subscription that their employees can log into to research color trends, product trends, style trends and so many more features. I always liked to use WGSN to help with color palette building and as a source for all the latest fashion runway shows. An understanding of what couture and high fashion brands are designing today will give you a very clear picture of what retail and ready-to-wear brands will be doing in the next year to two years. It all has a wonderful trickle-down effect. There are many more forecasting services available besides WGSN as well. It would be worthwhile to investigate and explore the options for the services that best suit your needs.
I find that completing any fashion trend forecasting is really going the extra mile. Researching your target consumer and market competitors are the two crucial stages for building a product line. Following color or style trends can be layered on top of these essential pillars, but may not always be necessary. As your business grows and you add more pieces to your line, you may want to consider adding this step at that point. For example, selling Black Tech Tees as your first key item probably won’t require you to understand the latest fashion trends. But knowing which color is the best option to add to next year’s collection might come in handy when you can afford to add a second colorway of your Tech Tee.
The best part about Fashion Trend Forecasting is that, once you go through this research phase (or decide to skip it), then you start to get into designing. Next week, we’ll start looking at sketching and eventually move into technical sketches. With all of the solid research you’ve done by now, you know what you can afford to make, who you’re making it for, and who you’ll be competing against out in the market. You are ready to start bringing your idea to life!