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In analyzing the different positions in the fashion industry, if we want to define a logical order that determines the beginning of the entire process, we need to start from the trends that inspire the activity of designers, which are then translated into collections offered to consumers.

Therefore, the first link in the chain of professional positions can be identified in the figure of the trend forecaster, or trend researcher.

How is it that a particular color or shape becomes so widespread and popular, constituting a seasonal trend? If we go to a trade show, we often see that all fabric suppliers have a similar color palette or recurring motifs, thus influencing designers in their creative process. This situation occurs because in turn the producers of components (fabrics, prints, accessories, etc.) have been influenced by research carried out by bodies and offices dedicated to discovering the social inclinations and flows that dictate seasonal colors and trends.

The figure of the trend forecaster identifies fashions and trends and predicts their evolution.

Usually train forecasters work within agencies that are considered the beacon to refer to in order to kick off the fashion season.
They forecast shapes, colors, textures, leather types, graphics, weight and fabric types, so it’s an extremely creative job but with a strong dose of analytical ability, which is reflected in the drafting of reports for industry insiders.

As a first step, global trends and related cultural changes are considered (not necessarily related to the fashion industry), sales data, consumer behavior, lifestyle trends are evaluated, trade fairs are attended and fashion trends of the past seasons are estimated and their evolution or abandonment.

Besides social and cultural researches, it is also necessary to consider the economic scenario and also the style adopted by many VIPs considered as reference points by new generations (the so-called celebrities).

The result, as already stated, ends up in a report that must be drawn up according to criteria that make it easy to read and that represents the first aid to the designer so that he converges his creative spirit in a contemporary direction, capable of being interesting.

Whoever develops this work must love fashion, but not only. First of all he/she must have a good basic culture and knowledge of the history of fashion and costume, be curious and interested in the different evolutions of civilization in different areas of the world, as well as in a plurality of topics, have a good spirit of observation, know how to consult the media (especially social media), always remembering that this is a profession with two souls: one imaginative, the other analytical.

It is necessary to be able to distinguish and recognize short-term trends and longer-term trends that justify a series of strategic business decisions about the inclusion of new lines, new products, etc..

As a background you need a degree in fashion design, but also to have attended marketing courses, a possible experience in merchandising or an internship in a market and trend research agency specialized in the fashion industry. 
If you want to show your skills and you are struggling to develop work experience after your studies, you can also think of opening your own blog, writing articles, reports on certain trends or socio-cultural trends, seeing their reflections in the fashion industry, talking about fashion shows and brands and thus manifesting your own attitudes.


by Stefano Sacchi
29th April, 2022