Sneak peak: Predicting next season’s fashion trends


Fall Fashion Forecasters

Felicia Ssempala

Fall is just around the corner, but fashion forecasters are already looking at trends for Spring 2015. Websites like Worth Global Style Network and Women’s Wear Daily forecast fashion trends up to two years in advance.

Fashion is ever changing, one day the latest style is the hot garment and then the next day, it’s the least valuable thing on the market. When studying and working in the fashion industry, you have to always be up on the latest trends and trends that will be happening.

Students majoring in fashion design and fashion merchandising are all required to take a course on fashion forecasting taught by Constance Marsh, who built her career as a fashion forecaster in corporate retail. Fashion Forecasting currently meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in Rockwell Hall.

Marsh’s objective is for every student taking the class to learn how to put together a fashion forecast for anyone.

“I want them to understand the process, the appropriate resources and understand that understanding the consumer is one of the most important things in fashion forecasting,” Marsh said.

 In the classroom they are taught to, “observe things in a different way and to do more strategic thinking,” said Ruth Lietzow, a junior fashion merchandising major currently taking Marsh’s class.

Fashion forecasters are defined as people who evaluate data from history to predict the future trends.

“It’s always a season ahead or two but some go as far as forecasting five seasons ahead,” Lietzow said.

Fashion forecasting can be divided up into numerous sections, like color or fabric trends.

In the process of forecasting for the next season, Garmai Matthew, designer of Guwala da Nele, a culturally enthused clothing brand with elaborate fabrics said, “fashion forecasters look for the happy medium between what hasn’t been done, has been done and what customers want.”

There are certain things that you must be able to do to make a good fashion forecaster.

“The ability to do exhaustive research and analysis of information,” Marsh said. “I think that the best forecasters have an instinct about fashion and that part really cannot be taught but it can be developed.”

Everything that a forecaster predicts does not always turn out the way they expect it. Marsh has witnessed her trend prediction of skinny cargo pants miss the ball.

“I thought because the skinny jean was such a big hit that the consumer was ready for a variation on that trend,” Marsh said. “And it ended up being something that did not resonate with the customers.”

Though trends do not work out sometimes, she said “you have to figure out why. It might not be that the item will never work for you. You might just be too early for your consumer.”

Matthew said she is very excited for the spring trends, especially for “leather metallic bottoms, chiffon digitally printed fabrics, knee length shorts, flowy pants and a lot of limes and pastels.”

“Retro is in for the spring,” said Hellen Tecle, junior fashion merchandising major. “High-waisted shorts, pleated skirts and minimalistic style like crop tops and tube tops.”

Though some of these trends are not new, it’s not unusual for trends to continue through multiple seasons. Trends can last the whole season or trends could last not even a whole week.

 “Athletic apparel will be the trend that I am most looking forward to,” Lietzow said.  “Athletic apparel is currently in trend because being healthy and doing juices are a trend. Minimalistic style will also be another trend in Spring 2015.”

Marsh also thinks that some of the trends that have been trends for a while will still be in season next spring.

“Woven shirts, motorcycle influenced garments, fit and flare dresses and athletic apparel worn as street wear,” Marsh said.

Make sure to watch out for those trends while shopping for that spring wardrobe this fall and winter.

Contact Felicia Ssempala at [email protected].