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Mudpie - a sampling of trend reports Mudpie - a sampling of trend reports

News Trend Forecast

The Dilemma of Trend Forecasting

Friday, Mar 11, 2011, 9:17 AM



For those designers, companies and brands concerned about keeping up with the cutting-edge, there are a few options. Often, the first instinct is to turn to an agency, who personalise themes they have identified for a season by honing in on which aspects could be relevant to their client’s production plan – in which locations they can expand retail, and what styles will successfully sell there, namely. On the other end of the spectrum, there are archive sites that serve more as directories than as real resources you can squeeze consumer predictions out of.

While there are very trustworthy sources at work – Mudpie and WGSN, to name a couple – often, presentations may not be grounded in real information, or rather, are arbitrary collages of influences. The truth about trend forecasting is that it’s mostly just that, an arbitrary collage. However, there are ways to source solid creative, conceptual input. TribaSpace, as a B2B platform, solves this problem. It combines a directory aspect (which is of course a useful tool when not isolated) with creative social networking and conversational components, from which you can devise a sort of trend forecasting procedure.

Trend forecasting, when done correctly, can be an undeniable boon to business. But for those who haven’t yet taken advantage of the field, it can, and quite rightly, feel bewildering – who dictates a series of trends for a season, and how? Where does a trend originate – the streets? The runways? Or is it the vacant fabrication of fashion magazines and blogs attempting to generate visually stimulating content? It doesn’t help that many trend forecasting agencies offer their services at a price and in secrecy. Certain information is privileged, and this exclusivity can often make designers resistant to the idea that “you have to spend money to make money.”

While trend forecasting is unequivocally useful, it’s always a risk to outsource or crowdsource the service. It comes at a substantial expense, and without visible prestige as proof, it is often difficult to gauge the expertise of the agency a designer chooses to put their trust in. Short-term trend forecasts can be quite poor unless the trend is aligned in context and timed perfectly. Alternatively, long-term trend forecasts can also disappoint, as slight changes are bound to occur. This is why the news feed format is so important, and has proved so successful as a means of distributing news.

Also of the utmost importance is transparency. This ideal is a significant piece behind the TribaSpace philosophy, and it’s an ideal most businesses aim to operate under. It can become challenging to resist the allure and buzz one generates from becoming exclusive, however temporary – but the sharing of information is crucial in sustaining a customer’s interest.

TribaSpace users may certainly continue to outsource their trend forecasting needs, and likely to their ultimate benefit and profit. But it’s important to note, too, how TribaSpace as a website can be used as a supplemental tool for sourcing valuable information. Exclusivity, both for your Company Profile and Online Showrooms, and the Company Pages and Online Showrooms that you follow, is still an option. The very action of "requesting access" to certain Showrooms on TribaSpace allows for a view into what's to come. Once you’ve curated a space of relevant brands, PR agencies, and fashion writers who act as trend forecasters, you can consider TribaSpace a veritable stream of trending – you’ll view collections, presentations and press releases straight out of the studio, articles fresh off the press, and know about upcoming events the second the guest list is arranged.

For your own company, statistics are involved, and this serves the same purpose as post-analysis of a collection done by a trend-forecasting agency. When you upload a file on TribaSpace, you can see who has downloaded it, and how many times. In this way, brands and small designers can analyse their past, PR agencies can determine the interest level in a certain event, obtain feedback, and look forward in an educated manner, allowing the response to serve as a guide for the season to come. In other words, brands can not only utilise the methods typified by trend forecasting agencies, but also enhance upon their services through the additional advantage of statistics analysis and personal, yet private communication.

Samantha Garfield

Product Groups: PR, Buying, Ready-to-Wear, Sales
Markets: Women's, Other, Children's, Men's

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