Fashion is a business. And you’d think, once an artist knows themselves as a creator and knows who wants to buy their product, they can get down to the very important task of creating fashion!
No. Not really.
A little known fact about the fashion business is that designers are working a year and a half in advance on the product line. They’ll have three different collections in different stages of design and production at once and that is if they are a designer for a single clothing company and at one price point. Prominent designers will have at least two price points within their company and may work for another company as well. There are designers who are putting on at least 8 shows a year and that means they have 24 collections going on at once. There might be more if they do a resort/holiday season on top of spring/summer and fall/winter.
This is also why designers have teams. Big teams of under designers that help them through the entire process of the collections. I know in Project Runway that the team challenges are the hardest and sometimes worst challenges for the designers. Project Runway is not the reality. As a big designer, you don’t and won’t work by yourself. You’ll have other people working with you. It’s just the business. That way you can handle being 18 months ahead.
But how do they know what people are going to want to wear a year and a half in advance in order to start designing?
Simple. They have trend forecasts.
Just as there are companies that take surveys and follow your internet browsing in order to tell other companies what products to make at what price for what people, there are companies who analyze runway shows and street fashion and what people are buying that they consider “trend setters” and extrapolate what will happen in the future. This is called trend forecasting. There are companies that do it for color. There are companies that do it for styles. Your furniture, your cars, your nail polish and everything you put on your body clothing wise is determined by these trends.
Yes, in fashion, we know what you’re going to do before you do. (It’s not an altogether comfy feeling.)
The great thing about trends and trend forecasting that there are enough trends predicted that designers can choose which ones that feel right with who they are as a designer that will appeal to their customers. There are enough trends forecasted that someone is going to be right. And the proof on whether or not the trend comes true is if the customers of that company actually buy what the designer produces. There are trends such as “florals” and “Bomber jackets” and “military.” There are trends such as “Spanish romance” and “Sparkles” and “boudoir.” Wide leg jeans. Skinny leg jeans. Leggings. All determined by trend forecasting.
Every business that is a creative endeavor of some sort relies on trends. However, fashion/furniture/product development like cars, seem to be the ones that rely on it the most and have companies to determine what they are in advance with publications about it.
There are trends in writing and in movies and in television. As far as I know, in writing at least, there is no company that watches and for a price will advise writers on what the trends will be in the future. Writers are supposed to be either above all that nonsense or ‘psychic.’ For instance, for a time there was a trend called romance fantasy in writing. Mercedes Lackey was on the tail end of that trend with her Valdemar books. Think Anne McCaffery’s Talent series in science fiction. This trend was replaced with Harry Potter. Then, there was also the ‘vampire’ trend, started with Anne Rice and then it blew up with Twilight. The vampire trend is over and we’ve moved on to the Urban Fantasy kitchen sink trend.
It’s important to know what is coming up in the future, what way the winds are blowing in order to keep your product timely. I’ve talked about the zeitgeist or the spirit of the times before. Of course, there are always going to be things that come completely out of nowhere and change the game. There will be short lived trends called fads that come and go. But knowing the general direction and the general spirit of what is going on now and how it might affect the future is important.
Especially if your business depends on you having things done in advance.
Onto Part Five