Monday, 10 October 2011

Fashion Forecasting and Trend Prediction

How sites like WGSN guide designers throught the Fashion Forecasting and Design Process.

Taking WGSN as an example.

06th October 6, 2011

Introduction to WGSN Presentation

  •  Why trend websites are so important.
  •  The difference between a Macro Trend and Trend analysis (close to season trend)
  • How I use information from trend websites in my career.
Introduction to WGSN

What is WGSN?

  •  Stands for - World Global Styling Network

“WGSN is the leading online trend-analysis and research service providing creative and business intelligence for the apparel, style, design and retail industries”

  • Founded 13 years ago (Founded in 1998)
  • Owned by E-MAP – who produce various publications including

- Drapers Record,
- Pure (London Based Trade Show)
- Non-Fashion Publication like architecture etc…

  • Provides trend, news and information on all areas of Fashion & Business.
  • Delivers creative intelligence to the worlds leading brands.
  • 300 worldwide employees with significant industry experience.
  • 150-strong editorial and design staff who continually travel the globe to deliver insight and creative inspiration.
  • Worldwide offices based in London, New York, Hong-Kong, LA, Shanghai and Melbourne.
  • Complemented by a team of expert freelance analysts, researches, and journalists based worldwide.
  • It costs £14,000 a year to become a basic member.
  • It has customers in over 87 countries.
Who does it support?

  • WGSN services are advantageous company-wide and benefit all company functions including: -
- Design                           - Production
- Manufacturing                    - Purchasing
- Merchandising                    - Marketing
- Product Development              - General Management

What Does the Service Provide?

  • WGSN provides its clients with an innovative and unique trend service.
“Staying ahead and tracking the
style curve is what defines us.”
  • WGSN stimulates, informs, enriches and enables successful business development and growth.
  • Provides an instantaneous global view.
  • Provides comprehensive design and style perspective.
  • Every individual user has what is essentially a customised experience of WGSN to suit their need and interests.
  • It also has a 12-year archive with more than 5 million images and 650,000 pages of information.
  • It takes the risk out of range planning for its clients.
  • Gives its clients a competitive edge.
  • Designers don’t need to travel so much for inspiration saving time/money.
What is Fontis?

  • Fontis is a new version of WGSN launched in 2010 that’s more user friendly and easier to navigate around.
“FONTIS is WGSN’s new technology solution: an innovative,
multi-channel, digital platform designed to seamlessly
deliver inspiration, insight and action.”

  • It mirrors WGSN’s content heritage: beautiful, authoritative, cutting-edge, engaging and must-have.
  • Uses cloud computing technology to surface and present all of WGSN’s design packs, images, trend forecasts, market analyses, reports and more.
  • Allows users to search for, and find, WGSN’s content in a personalised and efficient manner, wherever and whenever they need it.
  • It also has over a decade of original CADs, trend analysis, catwalk reports and competitive intelligence.
  • Its depth, breadth utility is unique. 
How do you use the WGSN?

  • There are three easy ways to use the sight:
1.   Browse by product area in the drop down menu.
2.   Inspire me also in the drop down menu.
3.   Top Tabs: - News, Tank, Creative Direction etc…

What does each of these search options provide?

1. Product Area:
  • Allows you to search through 18 specialist areas including: -

-       Youth 16 – 20 years
-       Junior – US version of the youth industry – more commercial
-       Kids 0-14
-       Womenswear
-       Menswear
-       Intimates
-       Swim
-       Footwear
-       Accessories
-       Interiors
-       Youth/Street
-       Sport
-       Textiles
-       Denim
-       Beauty
-       Knitwear
-       Print & Graphics
-       Details & Trim
-       Student & Graduate
  •   Each area brings together all articles related to that specific product area.

2. Inspire me:

  • Allows you to search under different areas of interest including: -

-       Vintage                          - Celebrity
-       Street Shots                     - Arts and Culture
-       Pop Culture                      - Photo Files

3. Top Tabs:

      - News                              - Think Tank                         
 - Creative Direction                - Colour & Materials
 - Design & Product Development      - Buying & Sourcing
 - Branding & Packaging              - Marketing
 - City by City                      - Tradeshows
 - Catwalks                          - What’s in store
 - Retail & Visual Merchandising     - Business Strategies           


  • Provides global news on all style related industries both regional and international.
  • Consumer reports.
  • Live feeds (rather like in Twitter) which means at trade shows and Catwalks it allows clients to be totally up to date with what’s happening. 


  • Provides an essential insight into creative intelligence.
  • Gives an insight into the future of consumer behavior in 5 year plus.
  • Great information for CEO’s and Directors.
  • Various reports on lifestyle, media, technology etc…
  • Provides the essential information to conduct PESTEL reports.

Creative Direction:

  • Focuses information on design.
  • Starting place for seasonal direction.
  • Looks at all product areas.
  • Has all the big ideas for the season.
  • There are three sections to these areas: -
1.   Macro Trends – of which there are three different stories.
2.   Colour Direction – providing colour matrixes for the season.
3.   Material’s – provides information on key fabrics for season.

I will look at these three areas in more depth later in
the presentation as they are the elements
that you will probably find most valuable.

Colour and Materials:

  • Gives a global view of the textile industries.
  • More in depth information about colour than in other sections. 

Design and Product Development:

  • Provides trend specifics a year in advance.
  • The seasonal overviews serve as your in-depth product guide.
  • Coverage includes inspiration, research influences, colour, key items, silhouette, styling and graphics. 
  • Has a section dedicated to print and graphics.
  • Reports include unique downloadable and fully editable resources, including design sketches and print collections for comprehensive range planning, so you can immediately turn the latest trends into your next commercial success.
Buying and Sourcing:
  • Provides information on the evolution of trends into products.
  •  Looks at different brands and the trends that are evolving from them.
  • Comp shopper – Presents what is on the market and in stores now.
Branding and Packaging:

  • Details how trend transforms into packaging and trims.
  • Looks at things in a finer detail. 

  • Comprehensive intelligence about the campaigns that inspire.
  • Comprehensive insight and inspiration for style and fashion focused marketeers.
  • WGSN allows you to access trended global campaign analysis and in-depth reports on all aspects of marketing strategy, including: - 
- Channel
- Customer experience
- Branding.

  •    Get the low down on the creative talent behind current marketing masterpieces, and inform and shape your own advertising campaigns.
City by City:

  • Provides style focused travel guides on a whole range of destinations.
  • Gives the client a detailed report on key shops, markets and inspirational places for the destination they are going.
  • Each report has an interactive google map that you can customise to show your key areas of interest e.g. Kidswear, Print, Knitwear.
  • Special reports that look at 48 hours in one city.  This is great for designer’s who are restricted by time.  This allows them to see the most important shops and places most relevant to them.
  • Also provides details on hotels, where to eat etc too.

Trade Shows:

  • This area covers over 140 trade shows.
Including: -

- Magic – Las Vegas
- Pitti – Florence
- Printsource – New York
- Indigo – Paris

  • These reports give an insight into what brands are doing at present.
  • You can get live news feed (rather like on Twitter) providing clients with the latest updates on what’s happening at these shows.
  • After the show’s over a full report is published on the sight providing information on: - 

- Trend analysis from the show
- Graphics
- Key fabrics
- Close to season trend ideas
- Emerging trends
- High light brands

  • These reports give a close to season view on trend that clients can then react to with a quick response collection if there is a trend they believe to have missed out on


  • Provide reports on Catwalks in London, Paris, Milan and New York.
  • You can view the full show on the website.
  • You can also download hi-resolution images of the shows.
  • The reports provide in depth analysis and coverage of each show.
What’s in Store?

  • Provides information on what’s happening now in stores worldwide.
  • 10,000 images are uploaded into this section a month for clients to view and download.
  • You can browse via different sections including: -
-       Womenswear, Kidswear, Print and Graphics etc…

  •    Functions as a trend tracker.
  •    Analyses what researches have seen and any key emerging trends.
Retail and Visual Merchandising:

  • Gives information on Luxury, Midmarket and Value retail.
  • Lots of information related to the retail industry.
  • Visual Merchandising shop front images which are great for branding etc…
Business Strategies:
  • Opinion led interviews.
  •  Gives an overview of the world market place
How do I use WGSN as designer?

  • I am a freelance print and graphic designer who also provides design consultancy support to a range of companies including:
-       Jo Jo Maman Bebe
-       Primark
-       Target
-       Paperchase – to name a few!

  •   WGSN trend reports are essential for me providing my clients with reliable trend information to support me in designing a range from start to finish.
  •   I must provide my clients with trend stories and color palettes that will keep them commercial yet competitive.  I can’t just make up themes and color palettes, they need to be supported by information provided from sites like WGSN.
  •   Nor can I take one of WGSN’s trends and just present it straight to a client.  It needs to have inspired me into creating a story that I can tailor towards my client’s needs.  However, at the same time, it needs to be supported by trend research I have conducted from WGSN to validate it.
  •   The area that I use most on the website is the creative direction tab.  This is one of the tabs along the horizontal top bar.
  •    Here I source all the trend information I need.
How to thoroughly research trend on WGSN?

  • Under the creative direction tab at the top of the tool bar trend is split into three sections that I briefly reflected on earlier in the presentation.
  • They are: -

1.   Macro Trends – of which there are three different stories.
2.   Colour Direction – providing colour matrixes for the season.
3.   Material’s – provides information on key fabrics for season.

1. Macro Trends:

  • Provides three umbrella storied per season that will be filtered down appropriately into the different sections e.g. Kidswear, Knitwear, Swim etc...
2. Colour Direction:
  • Provides early information on colour, which comes prior to macro trends being released and anything else on the sight.
  •  Colour information is important because the first thing in the design process is getting fabrics dyed up in anticipation of production.
  •  This area doesn’t follow any macro trends or react to trend in anyway at this stage.  It is a completely separate area run by color experts.
  • There is full research and reference information supporting where all the information to create these palettes has come from.
  •  All images here are fully credited.
  •  Provides a full colour matrix for the whole season containing about 40 colours.
  • There is also a colour barometer where you can see how certain colours have evolved over seasons etc.
2. Materials:
  • Provides conceptual and inspirational information on materials at this point in the season.
  • Shows inspirational images that are non-fabric related at his stage.
  • Generates ideas from the very beginning of the thought process.
What is the difference between a Macro Trend and Close to Season Trend?

Macro Trend:
  • Looks at trends of the future/conceptual trends.
  • Takes information provided by PESTEL reports and reacts to these issues and evolves them into trend stories.
  • Provides information on key shapes and items.
-       Also including footwear and accessories
(All of which are supported by images)

  •    At this sage everything is very directional and fashionable.
  •    The designer can take away these key shapes at this stage and develop them for themselves.
Close to Season Trend:
  • Works 6 – 12 months in advance.
  • These are micro-trends applied to products.
  • Provides and analyses emerging trends in the market.
  • Shows what products/trends are out there at present and shows how these trends will evolve through to next season.
  •   Emerging trends – reports on emerging trends that retailers should defiantly be covering if they are not already doing so.
  • A small downloadable design file called a “fast response design file” supports these emerging trends.  These include a: 
-       Mood Board
-       Colour palette
-       Styling and detail information
-       Black and white collection – (looking mainly at jerseys so they can be quick turn around products)
-       Print and graphics.

  •    This area also looks at sleep, swim, essentials and less popular products not covered in other areas.
  •    This area also looks at product updates for example lace trim for S/S 12.
  •     Each product update will be supported by: -
-       9 Images – on trim, colour, graphic trend
-       What it replaces – e.g. polka dots into stars.

  •    Other sources for close to season trend analysis are:
-       Festivals – looking at the youth cultures for inspiration.
-       Trade shows  - To see what other brands are doing.
-       Street Shots – what idividuale are wearing in society

What’s involved in the trend forecasting process?

This section covers how WGSN comes up with conceptual macro
trends from start to finish.

To Recap:

·      A Macro Trend is: - A big conceptual, forward thinking new trend idea.
·      Close to season: - What WGSN has seen at shows, events and in stores.

How does WGSN come up with a trend from scratch?

Initially all teams will join together to brainstorm in Tank meetings.  They will analyse information researched and gathered by the Tank department.  This is like an in depth PEST report on information collated in recent months.

  •    Colour and Trend:

-       A specialist division deals with this area separately.  This information is released earlier than trend so that clients can get fabrics dyed up accordingly.

  •    Analysing Tank information:

-       Teams will identify emerging trends from the information gathered in these brainstorming sessions.
-       At this stage trends will not necessarily be fashion related, rather like what you would find in a PEST report.  Instead they will be issues and trends emerging in culture and society that will have an effect on the way we will think and behave going forward.
-       Trends at this stage will also be taken from a broader spectrum of conceptual influences like;

     - Architecture               - Music                         
     - New Books                  - Exhibitions  
     - Films                      - Youth culture,
- Current affairs            - Celebrity            - Technology                 - Science                      - Apps                       - Blogs
- Social networking etc…

Basically, any issues and influences that will have an effect on society at this particular moment in time.
-       Once key emerging trends have been identified from all the information gathered, teams will be created and each will go off and research into one of these areas more in depth.
-       Further research and findings from each of these teams will be presented back to everyone in a large group meeting.
-       Representatives from worldwide will also come in to present key emerging trends from elsewhere in the work to be taken into consideration too.
-       Once all this has been completed the Think Tank teams will take this information and narrow it down into three themes – These will then become the three Macro Trends for the season made up entirely of conceptual information.
  • The Three Macro Trends:
-       Each will be totally different from one another offering something fresh and different.
-       Each one of these trends has a mood board that has recently become interactive on the sight.
-       Full research and reference (R&R) is provided to support where each trend has come from.
-       Once this trend has been published live on the sight for all to see, it is passed onto the design team to make into product categories e.g. Kidswear, Menswear etc…
-       Each of these categories will take this trend and filter the information and colour palette into what’s relevant to their area of specialism.
  • Key Themes:
-       The design team will take this trend information and start transforming it into initial key black and white shapes.  These flats won’t be fully designed at this stage but will give an essence of the silhouette.
-       Gradually colour will be added to these silhouettes from the information provided and the collection of garments will be filtered down into a tighter more focused collection.
  • Textile Direction:
-       This is a forecast on the materials and trims that should be taken into consideration while designing but is still very conceptual at this stage.
  •   Print and Graphic Inspiration:
-       This area will give a taste of where you can go with prints and graphics.  All the featured prints are downloadable and fully editable.
-       This gives a good idea of what direction the collection is heading in at this stage.
  • The Collection:
-       The initial black and white collection is split into different product categories e.g outerwear, knitwear etc. New pieces are added if necessary and the collection now really begins to reflect the initial theme with colour, print and trims added to finish it off.

All the above sections pull together a whole trend concept from the initial mood board/theme whilst taking the various elements listed above into consideration at the same time. All these elements are pulled together to create a focused collection with graphics and transformed into a mixture of product categories.

A whole theme will include in its pack:

-       Mood Board
-       Edited down colours
-       Key styling details
-       Inspirational ideas
-       Textile direction
-       Collection and illustration
-       Print and Graphics
  •   Trend Confirmation:
-       At the end of the season, after trade shows etc.. all the trends will be confirmed with example products available in store that follow these macro trends.  This gives the client confidence in the WGSN trend prediction.

Other Important Sources for Trend

·      Textile View Magazine
·      Mudpie
- Seasonal Trend Seminars (With student discount)
- Online guide similar to WGSN
- MPD Vision (released 2011 at Premier Vision)
  • ·      Stylesight

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Research and Trend

Research and understanding trend is the most important and in my opinion one of the most interesting parts of design.  It’s the very starting place for any collection you will create.  At this stage in design the worlds your oyster!

Its important to keep the brand you’re designing for in mind.  Where abouts do they fit into the market?  Are they more commercial or conceptual?  Do you need to offer something completely new and conceptual or do you also need to bear in mind what their competitors are doing and offer more commercial look?

Once you have decided on a story or concept you will then create a mood board outlining all your thoughts and ideas ready to present to a client.

It is essential to keep you trend/moodboard tight and to the point.  If there are things on there that the client may not understand, or if it isn’t completely relevant, you can easily end up confusing them.  Remember your client may not be from a design background, your board will have to inspire them in a way so that they can understand what direction you intend to take the collection in.

The colour palette should be tight too.  Keep to a few main colours and then a few highlights too perhaps if needed.  Once you start designing the range it is important that you stick to ideas and colours that you presented in you initial moodboards and don’t start adding in new colours or shapes and graphics that were not put across on the initial boards.

Here is an example of two trend boards for a mens loungewear brand and two mini collections that were designed from these stories.
I often design both shapes and prints for lots of client’s I work for.  I therefore find a nice way of laying out my moodboards is by creating a section dedicated to key shapes and another section to prints and graphics.  Although I do like to annotate my boards so my key points are clear, I do prefer my board to be mainly visual.

See how the colours in my ranges directly relate to those that were presented on my initial mood boards.

Again see how the colours in my ranges directly relate to those that were presented on my initial mood boards.

For more trend and research examples click