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When I hear the words “trend forecasting” I used to think there were people (trend forecasters) who had a special knowledge and were privy to the inner workings of the world before anyone else. I recently had the opportunity to hear the Fall 09/10 trend forecasts from major forecasting firms in the fashion industry including Promostyl, Doneger Group and Style Sight. I can now honestly say trend forecasting is not the science I once thought but rather an industry that is very aware of the current zeitgeist. Forecasting companies are constantly gathering information on all the museum exhibitions, musicians, grass roots artists and movements, political and governmental issues, pop culture and technology amongst other ideas and trying to discern cohesive themes.
The forecasts are not only applicable to fashion but other industries as well. Forecasting companies look at the major lifestyle trends and apply them to consumer products in an attempt to influence and predict what consumers are looking for. The most prevalent “mega trends” now are the ideas of well being, self assertion and of course thinking green. When I heard this I thought, hmm these ideas make sense but I don’t think lifestyle trends of well being, thinking green and particularly, self assertion (my brand name being Self Assured) are a big secret.
I asked myself, why are trend forecasting companies so important if the trends they espouse are already known. I suppose it’s how these broad ideas can be applied to product aspects, such as coloring and compositional elements like fabrics, but more importantly the branding and marketing of products to relate to consumers. The lifestyle trend of thinking green can be seen in the reusing and recycling of goods. For instance, textiles are now being made from recycled plastic bottles, and let me say the fabric is completely wearable. Furthermore, the concept of vintage items be it clothing or furniture has more prevalence with consumers than the newest, shiniest item. Natural materials such as wood, leather and plant fibers are being used much more than plastic, which is now almost an evil word. These are just a few examples of how lifestyle trends influence products. Just remember, people decide the style of life they live…
If you would like to hear more about the trend presentations of Promostyl, Style Sight and Doneger Group send me an email or comment on this post, I would be happy to share. I would also love to hear your opinion of trend forecasting and any other lifestyle trends you think are important.
Kristin Potenti, Self Assured
P.S. Don’t forget to vote for me in the StartUp Nation Home Based 100 Contest!