8: TREND PREDICTION WEBSITES:
So I’ve already mentioned sites like WGSN which are specifically set up for trend prediction, but there are other sites where a similar amount of information is available for free. Sites like Vogue or Style and blogging sites, as well as providing information on beauty and of course fashion and what you should be purchasing, also have more pages that cover details on catwalks and fashion shows, usually culminating in some kind of report when they are finished into their idea of trends. For those of you in other areas, you will probably have come across some kind of website where there are general reports on your given market, or maybe even reports of large events in your industry.
Usually the reports are fairly accurate and will save you time as they are supported by catwalk pictures of designs, so there is no need to search through the millions of images.
Well it all sounds great doesn’t it? Yes it does and I have to admit, I can’t assume that all of the people who are writing the content for these pages don’t have any experience or know how to predict trends…… apart from the fact and an important point to remember, is that this is not prediction, it’s a report on what already exists.
So the part here to think about is what is it you are looking for? If you want a really quick report to save time, fairly close to the season you are researching (and in my humble opinion if this is the first time you are looking for information on that season, using these types of report and also want to pretend that you are ‘’predicting’’, then please go away and hire someone who is going to do the job properly) then that is fine. If you are looking to just confirm your previous predictions, then great. I would also recommend that all designers should be doing this in some kind of capacity.
But please do not for one minute think that this is a good strategy as your only source of information. The information comes far too late; it’s also the opinion of a fashion writer, not necessarily one with any prediction skill. It’s a report not prediction and realistically, if you haven’t gone through all of the catwalk pictures yourself and made up your own mind as to what applied to your specific trend, then realistically, you’re not doing your job. Harsh I know, but unfortunately the truth.
Now at this point, I suppose I should also write something about bloggers as they will also fit into this category
There is nothing wrong with reading a fashion blog, to be fair I read many myself. The point for me is that I like having multiple views on topics. I like the writer’s personality, the way they write and even some ideas they come up with, but as a professional, I’m also really aware that half of the stuff I am reading is only opinion. This is not hard and fast information and to someone like me, I know there are very few who actually know what they are doing in terms of the content themselves and even the better ones provide a reaction to something, not a prediction. Bloggers are not hard and fast professionals, they don’t have a degree in whatever they are talking about and most of them won’t have even worked in the fashion industry. I might point out that I am a blogger. Yes, I write about fashion trends, but I made a very clear decision when I started that I wanted to write about something that I knew a lot about and wanted to clear up some misconceptions. I had also been working within the industry for over 12 years by this point too. True, I have to acknowledge the fact that are probably many other people out there that are doing the same and good on them for making the internet a more accurate and informative place, but for every one like them or me, there is another 100 that don’t and can’t.
What I’m really trying to point out is that bloggers, in just the same way as Style or Vogue, the accuracy of the information is really down to the person writing it. My advice is to keep reading. Enjoy them and comment and engage, but unless you know for a fact that they have something accurate to tell you, please don’t take it and use it. The majority of the time they will purely be opinion, but if you are in any doubt, ask! If someone wanted to question me about my CV I am more than happy to tell them how many shops have garments I have designed, who I’ve worked for, the sell through rate of my styles and so on…. If they dodge the question, well you decide what you think that means.
9: RETAIL or TRIAL DROPS
I’ve already mentioned something called trial drops previously in the magazine section and these can be great indicators of something that retailers are keeping an eye on, or testing with their audience or customers. The same applies to retailers who also test unusual products. I’ve covered what they ae specifically in a separate item, but the way to use them is this….
If you can spot them and this will depend on how strong your trend ‘eye’ picks up these items, they can be an indicator of what a retailer considers to be something important enough to trial. They test the market because at the end of the day retailers are businesses. They are in it like any other business to make money and if a garment doesn’t go down well with your customers, then well there is no point making them and no amount of promotion will get consumers to take that chance. But your customer might be different to theirs, so if they are trialling something then you should be considering this too. If their customers don’t like it, it doesn’t meant that yours won’t, but clearly these retailers felt strongly enough in that item that they were willing to give it a try.
I’ve covered 9 areas and sources where information can be found and as you may have noticed, there is no particular one that will serve everyone or be the ultimate answer. They all have their place, they all have their benefits, but they also have their drawbacks too.
The main thing I am trying to get across is that really trend prediction comes down to this. You have to decide what is relevant to you and the needs you have to fill by doing it. What works for me might not work for you,. There is no hard and fast rule. Concentrate on developing your ‘eye’. What do I mean by that? We’ve all heard on TV about detectives saying that they know something without proof, how they can feel it in their gut. Well their gut is your ‘’eye’’. It’s the feeling that you get when you just know. You don’t know why but you just do.
Try to trust your ‘eye’ develop it, find your perfect method and your own perfect source. This will take time and practise and effort, there really is no quick fix or magic pill. The best trend predictors understand the way that works for them and they not only stick to it, but refine it, tuning it to its most perfect. This is all you can do and let me assure you that you will fail. We all have at one time or another and you will be no different, until you find that magic method for you.
I’ve given you the pros and cons for each source, so now you can work through them with your eyes open. Keep in mind all of the points I have covered and you’ll soon be able to navigate through the minefield of information.
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