How to Predict Trends

Posted on February 12, 2021 by Stephanie Triplett

The saying that history repeats itself is relevant in the world, but especially in fashion. Styles from the past are constantly resurfacing, and even though our parents remind us that they used to have shirts, shoes, and jeans just like us, they're telling the truth. So, if fashion repeats itself, how is it possible to pinpoint upcoming fashion trends? Let me share some tips.

I have learned a lot of theories in regards to trend predictions, but the trend that is most common in our current times is the bottom-up theory. This means trend forecasters look to influencers, street style, and blogs for the latest trends. This group is observed and used to predict future trends. In the past, runway shows used to be the main source of fashion influence referred to as top-down forecasting. Designers now look to street style when preparing their lines for each season. Some forecasters find that their sweet spot comes from taking inspiration from both.

When I write trend reports, I commonly focus on the key pieces that make up a successful garment collection:

What's Your Story?

Colors appear in fashion shows and then move on to take on new roles season after season. In recent seasons, bubble gum pink continues to be a standout color, and this spring it’s having a big moment.

Common Ground

Themes and colors work hand in hand. Runway shows often have a theme. These colors directly correlate with them, but they vary from one designer to the next, so finding runway shows with similar themes help narrow things down. 

Familiar Shapes 

Continuing to build on one element to make another, shapes and themes are also dependent on one another. Themes create the story, and shapes fall right into place. If there’s a 90’s fashion resurgence, then shapes and silhouettes from that period are certainly going to file suit. 

The Real World

The current state of the world also contributes to trends like social and economic circumstances. Designers often use their runways to voice their stances on social injustice or support certain political issues. Trends also receive influence from music, films, and other variables. 

Who to Target?

The audience that fashion trends reach is a crucial part of any prediction. Getting inside the mind of the target audience helps to understand which details are important and should be considered when concluding trends. 

I use various tools when gathering research, but I gather inspiration from fashion sites with runway shows then take note of shifts I see happening from one season or year to another. For instance, skinny jeans had their moment to shine for some time, but in recent years the trend started to shift away from skin-tight trousers silhouettes slowly, gradually getting looser throughout the leg. 

Researching trends and staying one step ahead is thrilling and always keeps me on my toes, so it’s something I’m always looking into. The professionals use AI programs and have industry-driven stats that I do refer to, but I often find that half the fun of predicting trends in drawing my conclusions before I check in to see what the experts are saying.

Do you like to stay ahead of the trends? If so, where do you get your information and inspiration?

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