How to Become a Fashion Forecaster

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Fashion forecasting is more than just predicting what will be in style next season. Forecasters must constantly be aware of world affairs, which includes following the stock market, politics, economic conditions and social trends. The job of a fashion forecaster is to analyze these world events and predict how people will react to them, providing insight into the expected moods and buying behavior of consumers one to five years in advance. From there, they calculate what colors, silhouettes and looks will be profitable in upcoming seasons. There is no room for error in a fashion forecaster's job-- retail clients have been known to pay over $30,000 to receive an accurate trend forecast on which to base their future collections.

  • Follow style blogs to see what is currently happening in fashion. Popular sites like The Sartorialist
    are updated daily and show cutting-edge fashion from cities around the world. Use these sites to analyze how people in different countries are dressing to reflect their surroundings and current affairs.

  • Read the world news daily. Fashion forecasters analyze world events from all corners of the globe to predict future trends and buying habits. Subscribe to print or online versions of newspapers from major cities such as New York, London, Paris, Milan, Beijing and Tokyo.

  • Subscribe to websites that specialize in fashion forecasting and trend reports. Some websites are free, but only offer trend advice for the next upcoming season. Fashion companies who need to be at least 18 months ahead of schedule subscribe to reputable fashion forecasting sites, such as Stylesight and WGSN, which offer comprehensive forecasting for up to five years in the future. Subscriptions to these sites are not cheap, but fashion students are sometimes offered free access through their college or university.

  • Pursue an education in fashion. Designers and merchandisers alike are trained to spot future trends and predict what will sell in shops, so an education in either of these fields is highly advantageous to fashion forecasters. Currently, there are no in-class specialized programs that teach fashion forecasting in the U.S., but an online course is available through The World Fashion Council. Another option is to study Future Studies, which is not fashion-specific. The University of Hawaii-Manoa offers undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. programs in Future Studies, and the University of Houston offers a Master of Technology in Futures Studies in Commerce.

  • Apply for a position with a trend forecasting agency. Fashion forecasting is extremely competitive, which means that most applicants will have to intern before they will be considered for a paid position.

Tips & Warnings

  • The fashion industry relies heavily on networking. Study at a reputable school and make as many industry contacts as possible.
  • If your budget allows it, travel to major fashion centers such as Milan and Paris to get firsthand experience in trendsetting cities.
  • Fashion forecasting jobs are very limited and highly competitive- be realistic about your career goals and expect to work in another area of the fashion industry until an opportunity presents itself.

References

  • Photo Credit business report image by Christopher Hall from Fotolia.com newspaper image by Angelika Bentin from Fotolia.com
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