Fashion Forecasting Process
Lecturer, Dept. of Fashion Design
KCC Women’s College (Affiliated by Khulna University)
Fashion forecasting is used in the textile industry to create concepts for the fashion and interiors markets. It helps to spread fashion. Companies rely on this information in order to direct their future collections. Forecasting the future demand for particular styles, fabrics and colors is an important aspect of the fashion industry. 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.”
Fashion forecasting companies primarily provide the fashion and textile industry with information on proposed key styles and looks for the future. They usually work two to three years in advance. This timeframe is vital in order to supply the textile and fashion industry, from yarn manufacturers to high-street retailers, with the themes, colours and styles to work on for the coming seasons. Textile designers are well equipped to work within this creative environment. Often, fashion designers are asked to produce fabrics on a given theme or to work directly on collating information on future trends.
Fashion forecasting involves the following activities such as studying market conditions, noting the life style of the people, researching sales statistics, evaluating popular designer collections, surveying fashion publications, observing street fashions etc.
Types of Fashion Forecasting:
There are two types of fashion forecasting.
- Short term forecasting
- Long term forecasting
Short term forecasting:
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.
We can express short term forecasting as:
- 1 year +
- Timeline allows for the segments of the textile / apparel pipeline to coordinate seasonal goods around looks that can be communicated to the customer through the press and stores
Long term forecasting:
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.
We can express long term forecasting as:
- 5 years or more
- Timeline sufficient for decisions related to re positioning or extending product lines
- Initiating new businesses
- Reviving brand images
- Planning new retain concepts
Development of Fashion Forecasting:
There are seven steps of fashion forecasting.
- Identify the basic facts about past trends and forecasts
- Determine the causes of change in the past
- Determine the difference between past forecasts and actual behaviors
- Determine the factors likely to affect trends in the future
- Apply forecasting tools and techniques while paying attention to issues of accuracy and reliability
- Follow the forecast continually to determine reasons for significant deviations from expectations
- Revise the forecast when necessary
The Future of Forecasting:
For apparel executives, hitting the target requires a balancing act between anticipation of future developments and improvisation in the face of change. The marketplace locks into one pattern, holds it briefly and then cascades into a new configuration with the slightest jar to the equilibrium. In the marketplace, those shifts may correlate with:
- Changes in taste or lifestyles.
- Technological developments.
- Shifts in the prices of raw materials.