The Best Way to Learn About Fashion Trends
Trend forecasting is a billion dollar industry. If we can predict what fabrics, colours, silhouettes and styles will be popular this time next year, we can plan ahead and make sure we're providing our customers with what they want. We can increase sales and establish ourselves as an industry, design leader.
Trends change all the time and it’s so important to keep up with them when you work in the fashion and textiles industry. For my textile company Offset Warehouse, I'm permanently researching fashion and interior trends. That's why we're known for providing our customers with beautiful, on-trend fabrics in relevant colours and fashion-forward styles. So I thought I'd put together a little advice on where you can go to keep yourself in the know.
A word of caution - a trend is something that is popular at the moment but will eventually be “out of style” as time moves on. So if you're creating pieces that transcends seasons, then you'll need to make sure you're not creating something that will be out before you get it in!
Trend Forecasting Websites
Fashion forecasting websites can be a great source of information for upcoming trends for all types of fashion including womenswear, menswear, haute-couture, high street, sportswear and childrenswear. There are many trend forecasting sites available and finding the right one that is worth your time, and sometimes money, can be a hard thing to do. If you're a University student, look out for websites that the university may have a paid subscription for - even if you're alumni, you may still be allowed access to these sites.
Here are a few of my trend forecasting favourites:
The big name in trend forecasting, lots of established companies use WGSN. This is also a favourite for many universities, so use it while you can. If you're a small business our advice would be to explore all your cheaper avenues before spending loads on a membership, consider why you really need it. Prices are available on request.
- Womens Wear Daily
They call themselves "THE Industry Voice of Authority" and are often referred to as "The Fashion Bible," WWD provides a mix of business news and key fashion trends. A lot of content is available online for free but you can garner even more insider information with a subscription. They also have a big social media presence which is great for getting daily updates. As a Pinterest lover myself (follow me here), I'm especially impressed by their Pinterest.
- Trend Zoom
One of the first online platforms for trend forecasting. They have a number of different subscription options, so you can find something tailored to your needs.
You can purchase single online reports or pay a membership fee to get access to everything. At the lowest end of the spectrum membership is £155 per month. If you're a small business or startup, I'd recommend really considering your options and whether you need to go down this route. Rather than a full membership and shelling out money to it monthly, it might be worth just sporadically buying indivial reports.
A lot of information is online these days, but sometimes it's nice to go back to old fashioned print. These magazines are tailormade to keep designers ahead of the game. Again, magazine subscriptions can be eye-wateringly expensive. Students should check out their university's library before purchasing their own. If you are a graduate, sometimes universities will still give alumni access to their libraries. Make sure to check and register if you can. It's a brilliant place to research. Here are some great examples:
Great for textiles and fashion, the magazine outlines key fabrics for upcoming seasons.
An Italian magazine, but don't worry if you can't speak Italian as the images speak for themselves.
It's always recommended to keep an eye on what's going on at all of the fashion weeks around the world. To be honest, by the time these styles hit the runway you should have already picked up on these trends and be showing them in your collections yourself. BUT you never know what the media will be picking out as key trends for consumers - and you may well be able to jump on the back of one.
Hint - Try to spot your own trends: These websites are great for viewing full catwalk shows, but remember that trends aren't just spotted on the catwalk these days - keep an eye on the 'frow' (front row) too!
Street Style Blogs
There's always a been a debate of whether fashion trickles down to streetwear or whether designers are influenced by street style - aptly named the "Trickle Down" and "Bubble Up" effects. In my opinion, it's always been a mix of the two, which is why documenting street style has taken on a life of its own. Street style blogs are entirely composed of pictures taken of fashion on the streets. The blogger typically takes photos of unique and fashion forward outfits in the area they live. Some of them travel all around the world to snap photos. Here are some street style blogs worth checking out:
Fashion bloggers are different from street style bloggers because they don't just feature street style and tend to write more about the styles they are showcasing, linking them to big brand names and hot new designers we should be looking at. They keep up with the latest trends and pick out some great outfits they like to show off. Here are a few for you to check out:
Susie Bubble from Style Bubble
You can use all different types of social media to keep up with fashion. Most fashion bloggers will have a Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages that you can follow for more inspiration and guidance as you work towards becoming a fashion designer. One of the best social media apps that are wonderful for fashion is Pinterest. Pinterest will allow you to not only follow your favourite people and their boards but you can also search for specific fashion items as well. Make sure to follow those who are inspired by fashion and love it as much as you do.
If you need some inspiration for new fashion designs, social media is free and totally worth your time. Here are some people worth following on Instagram:
- Natasha Goldenberg, @ngoldenberg
- Sam McKnight, @sammcknight1
- Maria Dueñas Jacobs, @mduenasjacobs
- Kendall Jenner, @kendalljenner
- Anna Dello Russo, @anna_dello_russo
- Carine Roitfeld, @carineroitfeld
Don't get Bogged Down!
There's a lot of information in this post about where to do your research, but don't feel you need to do all of it! Pick your favourite bloggers or sites, follow a few key people on instagram and pinterest, and the hard work will be done for you. Don't go blowing cold hard cash on subscriptions if you aren't going to use them. Really consider why it will be good for you and your business.
Remember, as a designer, especially if you are still a student designer, one of your jobs is to create new and exciting designs and trends. It's important to know what's going on but it's more important to follow your own vision.
Whether you're climbing a career ladder in the design industry, or setting up your own brand, I started this blog to help designers be successful. If you like these articles, then please do sign up to our monthly newsletter, where I round up all the latest posts. You can tweet the article using the tweet buttons throughout the article and below.