Sources of trend information vary mainly due to your own industry and I’m sure you’ll know or will have heard of the best ones for you. However many people only consider either websites or books when choosing the ones they need, so maybe it’s a great time to cover some of the many options that you might have.
Now as I mentioned, industries will have their own specific places to get information but there are some general things to consider that cover every industry. Of course I’ll concentrate on fashion here as it’s what I know but there are generally 9 areas of information that will apply to everyone adn every industry.
1: INTERNATIONAL TRADE EVENTS:
A trade show is a private show that is open to visitors from that particular trade. Traditionally the only people allowed into these shows are included in the name, Trade. So buyers, designers and some press were allowed in because these are the people with the purchasing power to use the products displayed there and having looked into stand prices, the people displaying their goods are paying thousands of dollars just to rent the space to then try to sell them to the people attending.
Now these are not trend information shows. These are shows that sell materials, machinery or other products and the trend information is really a side feature within the show.
If you aren’t going to buy, essentially you’re wasting the sellers time and believe me it is not appreciated. Because of this, there used to be very stringent checks for people attending the show like tax registration codes, full company information, buying power, annual turnover etc. It was a really long process and I remember years ago for a specific show in Florence, it took me the best part of 2 hours to fill out the registration forms.
Examples like PV or Premiere Vision in Paris are fairly lax in who they allow into the show. Sorry but it’s true and in recent years have dropped a lot of their strict entrance criteria. However, even though it’s one of the largest trend prediction trade shows in the industry, I never go and in the last 12 years I’ve been twice, not through my own choice but once as a designer and once as press, both for two very large companies at their request.
So many of you are probably wondering why the objection. Well many of these larger shows are too broad. The cover everything and that is ultimately their problem. Nothing is done in enough depth to be useful and there were plenty of other options, far more tailored to my job at the time.
Plus the fact that despite my questions as to why I was going, this was something they had always done so the choice was through habit alone, not the relevance of the information. Plus the fact that at the time I was asked by a prediction company to go as ‘press’, it was well known within the industry that you weren’t allowed to take pictures of the trend prediction areas. So a bit pointless!
Other shows such as Bread and Butter still have a strict entrance policy to such an extent that unless you were invited onto a stand by a seller, then you really weren’t going in. However it’s a niche show that remains a majorly popular one because of the useful content it provides for denim and street wear designers.
My main point is that just because everyone is bouncing the name around, you really will have to just go, if you can of course and judge for yourself whether the information is relevant. What is right for me might not be right for you and don’t forget that from season to season the content quality will vary. As you will be most likely flying somewhere [we are talking international- although this does refer to the total visitors] you will really have to consider whether the cost and your time is worth it.
2: LOCAL TRADE SHOWS:
Now for a lot of cities, you will probably find some local trade shows. Again the premise here is to sell you products or materials but again there is usually some trend information areas, because it’s in the sellers interest to promote their items as ‘’on trend’’ and if you are lucky, you might even find that some of the largest trend prediction companies will do a seminar or show for future trends or maybe show some boards at least with areas where you can take pictures. The picture taking police are usually not as strict at these smaller shows, bearing in mind that many of the individual companies looking to sell products probably won’t like it and their stands are very different to trend specific areas.
The benefit to these shows is usually that the cost to get there for you will be much lower, the cost to attend will be lower and the security is far less picky because they are trying to attract a city wide rather than worldwide audience.
The drawback is again that it may have more general information, although you usually find that the smaller the show, the more niche it becomes which is great for you unless you end up going to something that is completely wrong for your market, so check what exactly it will be covering.
The other main drawback is the quality of the information. Don’t forget these are local shows, so they will be concentrating on local companies and local people. You may find that their trend prediction information might be also a bit local and sometimes a little unsophisticated compared to other larger shows because they won’t have the budget to employ large prediction companies to cover it.
You might also find that the prediction information might be so niche that they end up ignoring other trends because they don’t fit [in their opinion] specifically enough to that market. However for you, other trends might apply or give you inspiration that would be missed otherwise.
The thing to consider here is that because they are so niche, you might find that the show concentrates on a particular material or niche market. If it doesn’t align with yours perfectly, there will always be other influences that you will need to consider.
Again the best way to know is to visit.
Continued Next week…. part 3 and 4
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