Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

The position of trend forecaster

The position of trend forecaster is one of the most influential career options in the fashion industry. This article takes a closer look.

The position of trend forecaster is one of the most influential career options in the fashion industry. Most fashion consumers and many prospective fashion industry executives wonder where the latest and greatest fashion trends originate.

Trend forecasters continually monitor consumers and the industry through traveling, reading, networking, listening, and, most important, observing. Trend forecasters attend trade shows, where they analyze the wholesale end of the business by looking at new products and fresh designs from established and new designers.

They gather information from the media on population, design, manufacturing, and retail trends to determine what the new looks, silhouettes, colors, and fabrics will be for upcoming seasons. Many large corporations in all sectors—from agriculture to medicine—have research and development (R&D) departments. In the fashion sector, trend forecasters from the “R” component of the R&D departments in fashion businesses. They lead the research activities of the fashion industry and may also be involved in developmental functions.

As researchers, trend forecasters:

  • provide new knowledge to designers, buyers, and product developers
  • assist in the development of new products
  • look for ways to update old products or to extend the life of popular products through modifications that rejuvenate them.

Forecasters search for consumer and business facts, as well as creative occurrences, and then analyze the findings to identify common threads that will become trends. Their goal is to isolate the major trends that will positively affect the amount and types of fashion products consumers will buy. Once the trends are classified, trend forecasters use words and images to communicate these to designers, buyers, product developers, and manufacturers in fashion.

Images of the trend’s mood and key terms, fabrications, colors, and styling details are composed on a “board,” referred to as a trend board. In the past, these boards were created by hand, today, they are more likely created and disseminated to design and merchandising personnel digitally.

Technology is also impacting the way trend forecasters conduct research and development, market product concepts, and listen to the consumer. You will also be provided with more detail about the ever-changing world of trend forecasters by exploring how social media options reach out to creative people around the world.

Few career opportunities in fashion relate to all levels of the industry. Trend forecasting is one of the few. Population trends and interests, availability of raw materials, manufacturing capabilities, retail changes, merchandising and management developments, and entrepreneurial endeavors influence trend forecasting.

This article is from the free online

Careers in Fashion: Trend Forecasting and Textile Design

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now