Fast Forward: Fashion Style In US 2019

In a millennium tipped to fundamentally change life as we know it, forecasting is big business. From fashion to social trends, these three professional predictors share their secrets for knowing what we want before we do.

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Trend forecasting actually found me. Although I had been working in fashion for many years, I had no prior knowledge of trend forecasting before a friend told me that she worked at an agency that forecasted trends. I’d never even thought about trends very much prior to that, even though I loved fashion and was quite trendy when younger. And in true form to job hunting in NYC, it was that same friend who ended up connecting me to the woman running the office, and I began working there myself. As it turned out, my insatiable curiosity worked to my benefit and I was good at it. That was a 15-year run that eventuated in me consulting on my own.

I also lecture at a couple of the fashion schools here in NY about forecasting and the methodology behind it, approaching both the creative and business angles of forecasting. I haven’t worked out of an office in almost a decade, and a recent experiment in a co-working space proved that there doesn’t seem to be much point. Every day is completely different. I could be at home working in front of the computer all day on a presentation or running around the city, going from teaching a trend class to a client meeting or a trade show. I attend a lot of talks and panels on fashion, luxury, tech and sustainability. We have some amazing opportunities to hear great people speak here in NY.

I think most cities do, you just have to look for them, and these days a lot is live-streamed if you can’t be there in person. People often ask if trend forecasting is like looking in a crystal ball; if it were I’d be living in a much grander house, that’s for sure! I chose Ace of Swords as the name of my company because of the card’s association with clarity. I find that most of my work actually overlaps with branding and helping the client determine which trends they should focus on that relate best to their brand. Trend agencies have traditionally done a lot of branding work because we are always watching people and their preferences as they change, as well as the evolution of design elements. I don’t know that there’s any magic but it’s certainly something that I think takes some experience if it’s done well, as there are a lot of differnt things to look at and consider. A lot of trend forecasting comes from understanding references to link with what you’re actually seeing. That means having a deep knowledge of fashion and other design disciplines. I often tell my students that the most important class they’ll take is fashion history so that they learn not only what people were wearing but why. Fashion is a direct response to how we feel as a society: a statement of what we want to say.

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