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Passion of a Fashion
Thursday, November 23, 2006

FASHION FORECASTING

To cope with the ever-changing world, the marketing segmentation and targeting techniques are rapidly evolving from traditional, static, demographic-based criteria towards dynamic, mood, lifestyle and psycho graphic influences. Fashion forecasting is the prediction of mood, behavior and buying habits of the consumer. It is no longer a question of identifying your customers by age, geography or income, but looking into how and why they buy, based on their mood, beliefs and the occasion.

Fashion is a style that is popular in the present or a set of trends that have been accepted by a wide audience. But fashion itself is far from simple. Fashion is a complex phenomenon from psychological, sociological, cultural or commercial point of view. Fashion trends are the styling ideas that major collections have in common. They indicate the direction in which the fashion is moving. Fashion forecasters look for styles they think are prophetic, ideas that capture the mood of the times and signal a new fashion trend. The fashion system has spread across all other sectors, from cosmetics to cars via politics and sports. All sectors observe fashion as an endless source of inspiration. Gilles Lipovetsky points out that the more the fashion society develops, the less importance will be given to the affordability of clothes! To hold on to its role as a pioneer and enhance its brand image, fashion has to continue to innovate. Forecasting the future demand for particular styles, fabrics and colors is an important aspect of the fashion industry. Textile specialists work two years ahead to determine the general guidelines for each fashion season. Fashion forecasting is an important activity to ensure that the process of observation related to short and long term planning can be based on sound and rational decision making and not hype. Forecasting can bridge the gap between ambiguous, conflicting signs and the action taken by the design team. "Fashion forecasting combines theories of fashion changes with the process of organizing and analyzing the information and synthesizing the data into actionable forecasts." (Brannon 2000) Forecasting is a creative process that can be understood, practiced and applied. Forecasting provides a way for executives to expand their thinking about changes, through anticipating the future, and projecting the likely outcomes. (Lavenback and Cleary 1981) Long term forecasting (over 2 years ahead) is used by executives for corporate planning purposes. It is also used for marketing managers to position products in the marketplace in relationship to competition. Short term forecasting is used by product developers, merchandisers and production managers to give style direction and shape collections. For short term forecasting most apparel companies subscribe to one or more services, whose job is to scan the market and report on the developments in color, textiles and style directions. Forecasters reflect the earliest views on trends some eighteen months in advance of the season. At this

The Direction of Fashion Change Observation is not enough. In others. researching sales statistics. Fashion forecasters combine the views emerging about color and fabric from the early yarn and fabric trade shows with their socio-economic and cultural analysis. and between the various segments in the supply side chain. The Fashion Forecasting Process a) Trend forecasting businesses French companies based in Paris have traditionally dominated fashion forecasting. those that "click" or connect with the spirit of the times. This collective selection forms a feedback loop between the fashion industry and the consumer.stage. The drivers of fashion change Social and cultural changes are major determinants of emerging fashions. Fashion forecasting involves the following activities such as studying market conditions. to the spirit of the times or the Zeitgeist.the map of seasons and shows. Since innovations rarely apply to the entire marketplace. driving demand for wider choice in fashion products. the look can trickle across all levels of the market simultaneously for denim. fashion trickles up from street once it is discovered by the fashion elite and introduced to mainstream audiences in an edited version. fashion insiders are seasons ahead in their thinking. forecasters turn random bits of data into useful information for decision support. The directional theories of fashion change trickle down.Some better-known trend forecasters include: . Fashion insiders also have another mental map . a feedback loop moderated by aesthetic trends and social-psychological processes. Au Studio Promostyl. the supply chain of the textile/apparel industry and the retail conduct to consumers. introduction of an unusual color range. The Look. points and style directions. In this way. fashion trickles down from a highly visible elite. . The pattern of acceptance (or rejection) can be mapped in time. People choose among competing styles. It is a process that spans shifts in color and styles. they are themselves affected by the other drivers of change that include globalization of world markets and accessibility of more sophisticated communications technologies. Fashion responds to whatever is modern i. If a fashion look is promoted by the media and manufactured rapidly enough. Promostyl Forecasting is more that just attending runway shows and picking out potential trends that can be knocked off at lower prices (although that is part of it). Line Creative Partners .e. changes in lifestyles and buying patterns and different ways of doing business. he needs a framework for explaining how the trend began and its likely path within a social system. It is also the focus of discussion among others who are interested in very early trend decision-making. SachaPacha. However. evaluating popular designer collections. color is a crucial consideration of yarn mills. the expected direction that trend will take and how long the trend will last. trickle up and trickle across to make prediction easier by pointing to the likely starting points for a fashion trend. a number of new niche forecasters have emerged offering their own specialties of product and services. cinema and television are used to predict changing consumer demands. Forecasters use these mental maps to organize their observations of directional information. Design Concept As fashion insiders and forecasters have a mental map of the marketplace. Major trends in lifestyles. a modification in a silhouette or detail. In some theories. What appears to be near random activity is in fact a process of negotiation between the fashion industry and the consumer. category and classification. a different way to wear an accessory or a mood expressed in a distinctive style. sport. When consumers shop for winter coats or summer swimsuits. many with satellite offices around the world. information must be tagged for the appropriate price point. Peclers Trend Union . The latter has provided people with faster and wider access to more ideas and influences from other cultures and societies. noting the life style of the people. observing street fashions etc. attitude and culture in particular music. Although a number of larger ones are still based in Paris.. the locations where innovations are likely to be glimpsed early. If the trend watcher is to take advantage. surveying fashion publications.Some trend watchers visualize the dynamics of fashion as a pyramid of status level.

the development of a completely new product is the result of a particular functional need. c) Colour Forecasting Stimulating sales is the driving force behind color forecasting. So it is not surprising that news about which fabrics are "in" or "out" plays such a prominent role in forecasting fashion. operating over the 16 months preceding season. When successful.e. as the product on the show has a greater relevance to garment design. life-style. ranging from the products trade shows through to the high profile Ready -to-wear Designer shows like London Fashion week and then the exclusive Couture shows. Continuing this sequence. fashion preference and shopping habits. Some consultants specialize in advising on color. but cannot find. These innovations are introduced in trade shows and exhibitions held in the fashion capitals of the world. Visitors vary according to the nature of the show. 1975). Some large companies have departments dedicated to setting color directions for multiple lines. from flat weaves to heavy textures like boucle and from the solid structure of flannel to the web-like open structure of crochet. These shows . A yarn show will attract a range of people including fabric manufacturers. because this connection is the purpose of the process. colors or sizes and so on . but with more retail designers and buyers attending. Consumer research figures are important in decisions about product development. Specialist forecasters make the point that the technology is changing the range of product. changing the color gives a sense of something new. These surveys include questions about income. the manipulation of yarn and fabric structures. as through the ranges of benefits that designers can build into garment product through the textiles used in construction. brand marketing and retailing. whether yarn. Garment design shows are much more diverse. to provide an appealing and desirable product to satisfy customer needs. what styles they like that are currently available and what merchandise they want. The fabric show performs a more balanced role with great emphasis on then sales of the fabric. Others develop color forecasts as part of their overall product development function. makes an emotional connection and leads them to the product. Consumer reactions are compiled and tabulated to find preferences for certain garments or accessories. by observing the customer's adjustments to the marketplace and in the unexpected ways the customer adjusts the marketplace to his lifestyle and preferences. Customers are usually selected by the market research firm to meet with manufacturers or retailers. e) The Range of shows The fashion shows: The word here is its widest possible interpretation to refer to the range of organised textile and fashion garment trade shows. specialist product trade shows are held after the fabric shows.b) Consumer research Manufacturers and retailers may ask consumers directly about their buying preferences. Color grabs the customers' attention. some retail buyers and designers. which is to sell products. i. Trade shows. but often it is driven by the benefits offered by a new fabric. Color consultants help companies decide on the right color story to sell the product.or products to fit specific consumer tastes. men's wear. Clothing has been called "the second skin" in recognition of its intimate connection with a person's physical and psychological comfort (Horn. d) Textile Development Frequently. Even when the basic product stays the same. variation in pattern and prints and innovative finishing processes. wants or aspirations. The apparel supply chain has one purpose. owners of small stores can often do this most effectively. Newness in fabrics comes from the introduction of new fibers.Surveys. fabric or product have a basic function. Every forecast begins with the customer. by telephone or mail are conducted by publication and market research companies for manufacturers and retailers. Fabrics range from slick surfaces like leather and futuristic plastic to softer surfaces like cashmere. children's wear and residential and non-residential interiors. In-store informal interview can help researchers obtain information by simply asking customers what they would like to buy. Because of their close contact with their customers. the connection results in a sale. Professional color organizations bring together experts to collaborate on forecasts for industries like women's wear.

the final picture emerges after various layers have come together. Technological developments. an agile and responsive company will be able to capitalize on trends whenever they are spotted. Introducing Innovation While attention is showered on the most exciting and extreme runway fashions. However. sometimes just as a glimmer far in the future and sometimes as a phenomenon in the building stage.or under-estimating sales. h) Final Stage of fore casting The 'Fashion look' for the season is therefore the result of a process of development that combines the evolved views of textiles and product trade show. researching fabric and styling . whether they help develop the analysis. Thus Fashion forecasting is used within the fashion/textile industry as a means of directing companies into new ideas of color/fabric/theme/mood and yarn developments for different product types and levels. In the marketplace. While there is no definitive fashion story. the mechanisms of fashion change work in the background to create patterns familiar to the most experienced fashion watchers. Errors in sales forecasting result in two kinds of losses: . the media coverage of the shows is another important dimension in the trend development process. those shifts may correlate with: Changes in taste or lifestyles. focusing attention on aspects of fashion. While timing is important. For this reason. individuals consider it for adoption. The cumulative effect of those decisions can be tracked in sales and visually on the street. When some avocation. their major impact is mainly on reflecting the final views on trends close to the season. The Future of Forecasting For apparel executives. that as style is not meeting consumer needs for quality or fit . read and act on the reports or merely react to the result of over. In fashion terms. the fashion apparel business is one of the most volatile. Knowledge of trends and future market requirements is increasingly important to the industry. Such 'authoritative' coverage of the media. holds it briefly and then cascades into a new configuration with the slightest jar to the equilibrium. Even though these shows have an impact on some last minute high street fashion buys. designers buyers and ready to wear shows. The marketplace locks into one pattern. interest or lifestyle loses cultural power. straightforward and accurate for products with long lifetime and steady sales. when retailers have unwanted goods remaining at the end of a selling period. the innovation may be the invention of a new fiber or a new finish. apparel executives need a basic understanding of the traditional approaches to sales forecasting and the leading-edge technologies making real-time marketing a reality in the apparel industry. . These shows are a good indicator of color. When an innovation arrives on the scene. it is a good time to survey the information landscape for the next big thing. Lost sales on more popular items because of stockouts (merchandise not available in stock at the time when consumers request it). accessing the right color palette. and by specialist product categories. Shifts in the prices of raw materials. Crucially. including the 'must-have' looks. a manufacturer and retailer researches his own sales record. even at a loss. Overall sales show.f) Sales Forecasting Forecasting is relatively easy. Rising sales statistics show what fashion trends are developing and declining sales show what styles have passed their peak. forecasters. Companies have been slow to recognize the changing market environment and adapt forecasting practices to decrease the uncertainty about product demand. styling and new products. like sports wear or lingerie. because it creates products that are new. companies need an early warning system so that specific product categories can be fine-tuned to trends within a market segment. its time to drop it from the line and move on to new styles. highly seasonal or have short lifetimes. Sales forecasting impacts every apparel executive's work life.are segmented according to broad sector like men's wear or women's wear. hitting the target requires a balancing act between anticipation of future developments and improvisation in the face of change. Eventually. g) Cultural Indicators In the apparel field. such goods then must be sold. colors and products influences the consumers' acceptance of hot trends for a season. Immigration. as it highlights fashion trends that fashion editors believe will be strong for the forth coming season. Waning trends are another signal. Markdowns. In such situations forecasts become increasingly inaccurate. fabric. Like collage.

effectively dictates their success. The degree and quality of information available to designers and its interpretation. Western winds of fashion are reaching metros like Mumbai and New Delhi virtually overnight. The biggest achievements are not from increasing efficiency. at least on the streets of metros.com Distributed in the USA & Canada by: Ingram Publisher Services Inc.thamesandhudson. which brands or retailers can follow for fashion forecast of domestic market. We also see new categories added to customer wardrobes like clubwear. This would mean that by riding on fashion trend one would fetch maximum benefits. We expect this trend to rise further.co. 1 Ingram Blvd. fashion has been highly visible.trends to suit a particular niche and customer profile is essential. We still have to follow international forecasts and thereby miss out on lot of opportunities. Over the last one year.uk www. Forecasting fashion in the Indian scenario The phenomenon of fashion moving from the ramp to the road seems to have started happening in India. Published by AVA Publishing SA Rue des Fontenailles 16 Case Postale 1000 Lausanne 6 Switzerland Tel: +41 786 005 109 Email: enquiries@avabooks. although not heavily advertised. mainly because fashion as a market allows brands to be created mainly on the product look. but by risk management. easing into the market riding on the trend of new segments. . This also means that there are new brands and labels. given an effective marketing strategy. there is no agency today. travel gear and loungewear. This indicates a segmentation of the customers' wardrobe.com Distributed by Thames & Hudson (ex-North America) 181a High Holborn London WC1V 7QX United Kingdom Tel: +44 20 7845 5000 Fax: +44 20 7845 5055 Email: sales@thameshudson. However.

:alk. 2. Includes bibliographical references and index. photocopying. ISBN 978-2-940411-58-0 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Dillon. Susan. recording or otherwise. Tel: +44 1903 204 455 Email: enquiries@avabooks. No part of this publication may be reproduced. 3.paper) eISBN: 9782940447237 1.Fashion merchandising. .service@ingrampublisherservices. without permission of the copyright holder. cm.com © AVA Publishing SA 2012 All rights reserved. stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means.Fashion design--Study and teaching.Fashion merchandising--Study and teaching.La Vergne TN 37086 USA Tel: +1 866 400 5351 Fax: +1 800 838 1149 Email: customer. mechanical. The Fundamentals of Fashion Management / Susan Dillon p.com English Language Support Offi ce AVA Publishing (UK) Ltd. ISBN: 9782940411580 (pbk. electronic.

The design concepts. along with highly skilled and time-consuming labour. which can be divided into three main categories of manufacture: haute couture. and mass-market.gradedesign. Ltd. clear and credit the copyright holders of the images reproduced in this book. means there may only be 10 or .HD9940. Haute couture Haute couture collections are developed by a design house exclusively for private customers..A2 D555 2011 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Designed by Peter Dawson and Paul Palmer-Edwards <www. The clothes produced are of high quality and the fi nish is excellent. the publisher will endeavour to incorporate amendments in At the heart of the fashion industry is the design and manufacture of fashion garments.com> Production by AVA Book Production Pte. ready to wear (RTW). Singapore Tel: +65 6334 8173 Fax: +65 6259 9830 Email: production@avabooks.com.sg All reasonable attempts have been made to trace. However. if any credits have been inadvertently omitted. It is useful to know about these three production levels in order to understand the supply chain and the fashion industry as a whole.

Worth is widely considered to have invented haute couture and. including Christian Dior. Worth set up his design house. In 1858. clothing design was handled largely by anonymous seamstresses. Each show features around 35 individual outfi ts. which are displayed on the catwalk or in private salons.20 pieces in production and. The haute couture collections are shown twice a year. Before then. a Paris-based body of designers governed by the French department of industry. Designer Paul . Chanel and Armani. It was not until the mid-19th century that the fi rst couture design house was established by Charles Frederick Worth (1826–1895). There are around 20 members. a design house must be invited to join the . as a result. enabling his customers to attach a name and a face to his designs. Couture houses are divided into atelier tailleur (tailored) and atelier fl ou (soft pieces). with each design available to order in a limited choice of fabrics. Couture has its origins in dressmaking when it was considered an art form. indeed. To qualify as an offi cial haute couture designer. He was the fi rst to produce a collection of dresses and show them on live models. fashion design. haute couture is very expensive. all of whom must meet the organization’s strict standards.

Poiret continued this concept and so began the practice of putting the designer’s name on garments. and the origins of the fashion design industry as we know it today. Elsa Schiaparelli. Many designers followed in the footsteps of Worth. including Coco Chanel. Cristóbal Balenciaga and Christian Dior.com/book/-/9782940411580/chapter-2-fashion-trendprediction/37#X2ludGVybmFsX0J2ZGVwRmxhc2hSZWFkZXI/eG1saWQ9OTc4Mjk0MDQxMTU4MC8xMA == .1 http://my.safaribooksonline.