fast forward to 2008

Premiere Vision came to New York! Thanks to the intrepid bloggers who leaked a peek to the rest of us outsiders so now any schmo can know what’s coming up for Autumn 2007/Winter 2008…

Julie from Almost Girl gives us a look at the trend seminar. She also did an interview with the associate fashion director of Premiere Vision. Bourgeois streetwear, eh? Am I the only one who can’t decide whether trend forecasting is a fascinating social science, an industry conspiracy, or flaky voodoo?

The rhetoric used to describe the forecast was one of opposition with offensive resistance squaring off against enveloping roundness for a mood that left no room for the indecisive. Offensive resistance will show us honed volume, slim cuts, and biting visuals that will be rendered in twills, denims, and synthetics with technical sophistication and particular emphasis on shine. Enveloping roundness reflects a desire for discretion and inner well being that will manifests itself with cozy materials, bubble fabrics, and volume with multilayering in thinner fabrics.

Like Julie I also feel that these things seem to reflect what we intuitively feel. I’m sure that she and I being the culture vultures that we are, feed on the same carcass of information that the Premiere Vision people do. I find the idea of using trend information a little bit stultifying – doesn’t it suck the spontenaity out of gathering your own inspiration to create?

I wonder if there will be any implications from disseminating this stuff on the internet? Will fast fashion respond and start premiering 2007 looks in 2006? Will we become tired of 2008 before it even gets here and start demanding 2009 now instead of later? Will people stop having to pay thousands of dollars for the secrets of the future?

Are trend forecasters ever wrong? It doesn’t seem to have much in common with the weather forecast as it is not predicting so much as predictating. Luckily most trend literature is vague enough to allow almost any design notion to be justified. As a design student I objected to the curricular necessity to lie about following trends in my written research, when the truth was I never used them as inspiration. Oh yeah, I’m such an iconoclast. Yet I must admit I am fascinated by the idea that sniffing out emerging trends is actually a job. I would love to illustrate for a trend forecast book someday – they often use fashion illustrators.

What do you think of trend forecasting? Do you use it? Is it necessary?

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11 thoughts on “fast forward to 2008”

  1. One of the jobs I would love to do someday would be a trend forecaster…. as for the need for them… ummm, I don’t know. I did sorta of like you did… I just designed and sort of put a “creative spin” on how the design fit into the trend forecast for the particular season I was forecasting.

    I really love to read the trend forecasts, look at the colour cards, and imagine their range of suggested fabrics.

    I always had this need to illustrate the forcast book too!? Isn’t that hillarious?

  2. Well, as for fast fashion, they tend to be one of the biggest users of trend forecasting. How sucessful is it for them? That will only come out in sales. I’ve found that I have this inherit sense for what’s coming up and it’s never really that far out from where we currently are. The truth is, it’s the high end designers who are already doing what is predicted. We can only use the information we currently have to predict, plus the intuitive sense.It might seem crazy,but designers have the emotional voodoo sense for what’s next. Maybe it’s not that crazy, it’s just that they’re ahead of the times. As for need of this service? It really depends on who you’re talking to. Don’t forget buyers make their choices on more analytical than emotional.

    As for the public, it’s never wise to be ahead of your customers. Tkae for instance, Marc Jacobs’ Fall 2006. Many non-insiders disliked the shsow, bur come time for Fall, they will evolve towards that. But reviews from the insiders proclaimed it to be his best work yet. Designers and consumers live on different wavelengths. Being too ahead doesn’t help make sales, except for a few early adapters.

  3. It’s already clear to see the ramifications of trend forecasting and it’s huge growth, especially on the high street. I see homogenization, blandness and conformity every where I turn.

    For me it’s not the business implications that I find most disturbing about trend forecasting, it’s the sociological and philosophical implications on society.

    We are living in an age of ‘too much information’. I see frightening changes in my own behaviour since the introduction of the web, I’m becoming an information junkie. This has impacted on my creativity and also my ability to learn through trial and error,( why bother, when you can find out all you need to know off the net in 5 mins ?). I may be digressing somewhat but my point is that we are in some ways being robbed of our ability to think for ourselves and and are fooled into thinking that getting a lot of information and knowledge somehow makes us smarter, it doesn’t, only true understanding does.

    Girls from China to Canada, Beirut to Bejing are all wearing skinny jeans. Why? Trend forecasting, the immediate spread of information by the web and the global economy. Are we being robbed of our unique cultural identities and becoming one vast blob of prescribed identity? Yes I’m being a little extreme, but as I was watching the bombing in Beruit on TV last night and I noticed that many evacuee’s were wearing skinny jeans.Yes, I shouldn’t have been noticing that but I did stop and think wow, are we are all becoming the same?

    I wish that change in the fashion industry came through innovation, through development of skills and technology. Changing silhouettes, colours and fabrication season after season is not revolutionary it’s just a successful business model that works on the principal of feeding off peoples insecurities and fulfilling their lust for consumerism.

    Will we not get fatigued by this constant change? Bored by the sameness of us all we may just lash back and realise that style is different to fashion then reject this current industrial model. Independent designers will then reap the rewards of the new consumer sensibility. Here’s hoping.

  4. Hm. Lots of change, and yet a sameness?

    One of the first things that fascinated me about fashion was the way that it could date things; how it changed from century to century and decade to decade. Trends do emerge that tend to reflect the technology and social structure depending on the civilization. It makes sense that in a global world there would be less and less differentiation in dress. And no matter what fashions will change and morph – despite the name of the blog, fashion is a phenomenon that does not die.

    re: “it’s just a successful business model that works on the principal of feeding off peoples insecurities and fulfilling their lust for consumerism”

    Hopes and fears. Whether the lens is fashion, economics or marketing it’s just a manifestation of so many people’s hopes and fears – why they buy what they buy, how they dress, the businesses they work at, everything we do.

    Now I wonder about the other business model.

    fast fashion – slow style.


    Great comment Lol B =)

  5. Yes, fast changing sameness!

    To me trend forecasting isn’t rocket science. To me it’s an unconscious thing, in that I’m already tuned into the changes in politics and lifestyle, if you are living and breathing you are aware to some degree! Forecasting companies just put a definate label on each mood and feeling and make it seem more complex than it really is. Companies feel they need this information to stay ahead of the pack.

    Companys can spend up to $36,000 for a full subscription to WGSN. I wonder if they spent this money on actually researching their target customers, ie, what are their lifestyles, what’s their climate, and what fabrications suit this climate, what are peoples current political values, what are their body shapes, what colours suit their skin tones and environment etc. They would learn more about design and their customers in the process. But again why do that when you can get this info in 5 mins, speed is of the essence after all!

    This money could be better spent on research into textile technology or alternative fibres. Corporations have shareholders to answer to so I guess it’s safer to pay someone to prescribe safe predicted trends than it is to go out on a limb and take risks in the market.

    Trend forecasting is making us lazy and in some ways these companies are just stating the obvious. We need to trust our own voice more. The more I look at runway shows, trend forecasts, magazines etc, the more my mind is assualted, the less I am able to hear my own unique point of view. That’s how it is for me anyway! I’m now limiting my stimuli!!

    I am not against change, just pointless consumerism, we are kidding ourselves if we really believe that all these trends emerge because of our fast changing lifestyles. No, I’d say if we sell skinny jeans for too long people will stop spending so lets bring back flares, we need to get people shopping again. Beauty is timeless and I wish people could express their own vision of themselves without it being dictated. And it is dicatated to some degree, If every store stocks the same item what choice do we have?

    Initially I was fascinated with trend forecasting and had to compile a huge trend forecasting journal as an assignment for school. It made me feel jaded and cynical in the end.

    We need to cut some of the crap and not look too deep into some of these forecasts, as I say change often happens for changes sake and to drive the market. If not then please someone describe to me the deep philosophical reasoning behind the return of the puffball skirt.

    With regards to

    “It makes sense that in a global world there would be less and less differentiation in dress”

    I read in an Indian newspaper recently (a sure sign I’m accessing too much information!) that Women there were getting concerned about the loss of traditional dress as they adopt western clothing. Their fears of becoming enslaved to fashion was their primary concern. Their creativity has come in the form of colour, weave and texture in the sari even though the silhouette has remained the same.

    One last point ( sorry if taking up too much space here!) I notice that these fast moving trends seem to affect women more than men. If trends truly come about as a result in changes in society than why oh why are guys basically still wearing the same trouser/shirt/jacket combo’s they have been wearing for years albeit in slightly different style lines and fabrications They don’t seem to be as sucked in as we women folk do, and are slower and less wiling to embrace trends.

    Once again thanks for providing such a good discussion space!

  6. You’re not an aging hippy…. just overwhelmed by the ‘tmi’ syndrome. We all are. I’ve almost completely stopped watching tv/reading magazines. I figure I’ll never find my own creative vision if I’m always looking at other people’s work. Good art comes from the subconcious anyways, not a trend forecasting book. Which isn’t to say it isn’t a helpful compass sometimes, but relying on that and nothing else makes for ugly, ugly clothes, predictability and just plain weird looks.

    Fashion houses started marketing ‘business suits’ to women in the eighties,
    until retailers realized once a woman owned a few nice suits, they stopped buying any more clothes. Some of them stopped selling suits altogether, or cut down the size of the ‘business wear’ sections in their stores. God forbid women stop buying dresses!!
    Trend forecasting keeps people from building up an immunity to a look. Fashion is like a virus that mutates every six months. There is a sort of organic quality about it.

  7. I feel clothing should be an individual creative expression of the person,comfortable,easy on the eye…and not a statement of being “socially in the groove”…real style is individual and confident in ones own forecasts don’t encourage the ability to think and feel for creates a bland blanket of sheep walking the streets…for what it’s worth!….

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