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What is Fashion Forecasting and Why is it Actually So Important?

What is Fashion Forecasting and Why is it Important?
There's something about which we all are alarmingly conscious about all time - fashion. Nobody wants to put a fuddy-duddy show anywhere as the ignominy that comes along with a faux pas is too much for the modish mortal to bear. Did you ever muse over as to why for some season a Bomber Jacket is plumped for than a Varsity Jacket? The answer is fashion forecasting.
Sai Kardile
Last Updated: Jul 14, 2017
In Simple Terms
Fashion forecasting is trend-driven and not fad-driven. It, thus, makes a tall order for the fashion forecasters to know if something is a mere flash in the pan or if something is worthwhile and there to stay in for long.
If you thought the trends du jour are all products of whims and fancies of fashion designers, then you have been cherishing a fallacy that will gain you scathing criticism from fashion deities. Every item that features on the runway (however grandiose or minutiae) is all preordained―right from the appropriate shade of a color to a specific print; a fashion trend is never a result of fortuity, but a systematic gleaning and compiling of information that is contingent on different fields and aspects. To put it simply, everything that you see, hear about, or wear is a result of diligent research and arduous efforts of the trend forecasters and analysts.
Understanding Fashion Forecasting
Fashion forecasting are predictions purely made on observations pivoted on developments in Art, Design, Technology, Socioeconomics, Lifestyle, Food, Travel, along with understanding of demographic shifts and consumer behavior.
Hence, just knowing what is going to be 'en vogue' isn't adequate, one must be perceptive about shifts in consumer preferences as well. The confluence of these developments are elements that help fashion forecasters get a wider, better, and clearer picture of trends that will emanate for a particular year.
Aspects of Fashion Forecasting
Fashion forecasting isn't just about focusing on the future, but looking back into trend archives as most of the emerging trends have their rootage in the past. While fashion forecasting hinges on the styles, key pieces, colors, in other words qualitative aspects of fashion, it does not overlook the quantitative aspects of it. After all, fashion is a business where numbers do matter.
Qualitative fashion forecasting happening at a buyer's end is all math, where he analyzes trends based on specific brands, target customers of the brands, decides the number of items per style and per color, and sets an overall goal for a brand or company to achieve.
Methodology employed for fashion forecasting are varied and different for every brand. Whatever be the modus operandi of buyers, it always starts with perusing magazines, scanning fashion literature, Internet, catwalks, street observations, traveling to fashion capitals of the world, attending trade shows, et al.
Importance of Fashion Trend Forecasting
Forecasting is an operative word in the retail world, for the very foundation of it is built and cemented by it. A successful fashion business is dictated by viability and appeal. So, what you see on the runway isn't just instinctual but real. A designer's collection would be a complete whimper if he/she misses on key pieces or season choices; a far cry from the bang he/she had anticipated. We just couldn't agree more with Karl Lagerfeld who remarked, "There's no fashion if nobody buys it."

Timing is incontrovertibly associated with a designer's or brand's success, and this is where fashion forecasting assumes a decisive role.

Be it a merchandiser, designer, buyer, retail executive or anyone involved in this capricious business of fashion, if he/she loses his mojo, they lose everything. While riding on the statistical data alone may seem normative (and it doesn't necessarily spell success), the real trick is about considering variables, and not basing your assumptions on a singular factor.
Despite fashion being a ubiquitous phenomenon, it is not same for all. What appeals to the populace in the United States may not jibe with the aesthetic sensibilities of those in Asia. Hence, trends are modified as they reach different parts of the world.