Is it a coincidence that all brands come up with similar trends on every fashion show?

Or that oversized denim, big–buckled coat, total black looks and colorful leather have been recurrent several times during f/w men fashion week 2019? Or are there people anticipating these trends months before they hit the runways?

We all think that trends are initiated by designers. Well, this is shockingly far from the truth. There is a reason and a whole story behind the birth of trends.

Fashion Trend forecasters. Who are they? What if I told you that the trends you’re currently wearing had been predicted over 16 months ago?

Trend forecasting is the art and science of predicting the future direction of something.

It generally refers to the analysis of what colors, fabrics, textures, textiles, prints, graphics, and other design elements will be most relevant for consumers in upcoming seasons.

The fashion industry works at an incredibly fast pace and it is all about anticipating and leading what’s coming next. It is crucial to know future trends in order to succeed and be able to adapt yourself to the never-ending changes.

WGSN is one of the biggest trend forecasting companies worldwide. When WGSN started booming in the fashion industry, other industries began approaching them. In turn, they now work in 20 other industries such as beauty companies, advertising agencies, fashion retailers and many more.

They work on all kinds of aspects such as product itself, market intelligence, consumer insights, retail, data & intelligence, math and magic. However, what they truly focus on is inevitably consumer behavior.

Up to 16 months before, forecasters go around the world searching for all kinds of influences: street fashion, food, cars, museums, IT Girls, IT Guys, movies, in order to know how fashion will develop in the future.

The role of forecasters is to analyze changes in the market and educate clients on what consumers need in the future. Everything starts with a consumer- they look to the big drivers that will have an impact.

Where is the customer going? Politics, economics, societal and industry shifts are studied and used to create big macro trends.

Whether we’re talking about more comfortable clothes, working from home, 5G, sustainability, all of these factors affect companies and they should be ready for these changes in order for them to adapt themselves to customers’ needs.

Their goal is to help their clients grow their business – inspire and enable creativity – helping them find the right direction and saving time.

Forecasting agencies determine the trends which makes the word creativity a paradox.

Trend forecasting is a very difficult and challenging task. Thousands of companies rely on one in order to make everything better. But in reality, is it trend forecasting or trend dictating?

Many brands are playing it safe when they follow the trends as their creativity is limited by what is imposed. Their goal is to make profits but — what if forecasting is preventing brands to be creative and pushing them into uniformity?

Customers are complaining about how everyone is wearing the same clothes today because at the end of the day, you are either a trendsetter or you are influenced by one. Therefore, we’re all taking the same road in a way.

Nevertheless, designers can still express their creativity by keeping their brand image and at the same time follow trends.

It will always be crucial for people to be aware of what consumers want in the future. Whether you are going to follow, be with, or against it, it is important for you to know about everything that is happening around you.

At the end of the day, it is a viscous circle: Consumers let forecasters know what trends they want indirectly, companies produce and deliver the wanted products, and consumers end up following the trend that they first initiated without even being aware of it.

Therefore, you are your own forecaster.

Written by Gaelle Debahy