Forecasting defines trends by watching for signals of change in current situations. As the pace of fashion has gained momentum over time, the speed of the trend cycle has also accelerated and the demand for trend information has risen. Catwalk shows streaming live, the ability for consumers to ‘shop the look’ before the model has even left the runway and retail sectors obsession with reducing turn-around times has created a necessity within forecasting to constantly supply fresh trend direction.
The two biggest parts of forecasting are the long term and the short term. Long term forecasting is what will be taking places within the next five (or more) years. It can revive brand images, initiate new businesses, plan new concepts. Whereas short term forecasting focuses on one to five years in the future. The smaller timeline allows for the segments of the textile/apparel pipeline to coordinate seasonal products around looks that can be communicated to the consumer through press and shops. In addition, the fashion scan holds importance to forecasting through being responsible for following the latest fashion news to further spot emerging lifestyle trends. Fashion scanning focuses mostly on color, textiles, and style forecasting.
In line with the fashion scan, we have the consumer scan which attempts to identify clusters of people who share similar characteristics (usually combined with demographics, lifestyle, attitudes, and behavior). Consumer scanning is used to target specific markets. What sells and what does not is based on what the general public wants to buy. One of the largest fields under forecasting is the consumer scan. Market or Industry research is the main component of the consumer scan, where a forecasting team conducts studies of market conditions, current events, the arts, the general mood of the public, and finally, consumer lifestyles.
Combining fashion scanning and consumer scanning is used to determine what is likely to happen (short term) next, this is called a fashion analysis. Trend analysis on the other hand is used to detect short and long term trends that affect business prospects. Lastly, we have competitive analysis, where researchers plan the capabilities of competing with firms by tracing public information sources. Over time, this allows for the activities against competitors and to develop an accurate view of the market’s current environment. Fashion forecasting takes a team, and many smaller teams underneath them to get the job done