Insider’s View: Trend Forecaster Dawn C L Pedersen
We talk to Dawn C L Pedersen – Creative Director/Editor-in-Chief of TRENDZINE.net about the role of a trend forecaster and the service her unique company provides…
Dawn C L Pedersen
What does the role of a trend forecaster entail?
“Fashion forecasting is an integral part of today’s design process. In the past consumers were more predictable, but now they are far more complex and diverse, so the role of the trend forecaster is crucial. Forecasting has grown into an essential tool for every business that needs to keep ahead of the curve, and trend forecasters provide the fashion industry with the intelligence to inform their future decisions.”
What’s a typical day like for you?
“I don’t think there is a ‘typical day’ as I’m working on so many different projects at once, but there is a certain structure to most days. If I’m in the office I like to start the day in informal meetings with my team where we swap inspiration and pitch new ideas for future reports. During the day I’d most likely be involved in research, developing new ideas or overseeing trend reports. I like to spend the evening catching up with emails and preparing for the next day’s work.”
Is your role continually evolving due to the growth of new technology?
“Of course, but I think that’s true of most people working in the creative industry, it is essential to adapt alongside the latest technology. If I couldn’t continually evolve I’d be in the wrong business.”
Tell us about your career route, where did it all start for you?
“I like to think that every job I’ve had has informed the work I do today, and all the experience I gained from working as a designer in the fashion industry has been invaluable. If I had to choose the defining moment that got me into forecasting, then it was getting a job as a designer/trend researcher for TFS, The Fashion Service; it was my first experience of forecasting and I knew immediately that it was what I wanted to do.”
And did you spend any time completing work placements / experience?
“I did a work placement with BodyMap at the height of their success in the mid ‘80s and it was lots of fun. Internships as we know them today, didn’t really exist back then, they’ve become the accepted route that leads to permanent work.”
What advice would you give to someone that is interested in following a similar career path?
“I think I would advise anyone to get some experience in the fashion industry first, at any level but ideally something connected with design, buying or manufacturing. It will give more meaning and substance to a role in forecasting and make you see things from a client’s perspective. If you’re not sure if a career in forecasting is for you then do a short internship with a trend service. It’s a very demanding environment, and you will be able to see quite quickly if it is a good fit.”
Tell us about your latest website, what it offers and who can use it.
“It’s an exciting time for us right now, we’ve just launched TRENDZOOM Fashion Trend Forecasting Service with lots of added and improved new features.
It isn’t just a redesign, the site is now faster to use with more responsive functionality; we’ve increased the output, more than doubling our volume of information. We now cover Menswear in addition to Womenswear, Youth Apparel and Accessories, it’s an area we’ve been asked to cover by our clients, and now we’ve got a new team on board to research and design for that area of the market. Other changes include the newly developed FOCUS reports and RAW galleries, which we use to respond quickly to fluctuations in trends.
The information is currently used by Private Label Companies, Retail Groups, Department Stores, Manufacturers, Media Companies and Fashion Education Institutes. This year we’ll be expanding, and rolling out lots of new developments – watch this space.”
If you were hiring an assistant what key skills / attributes would you look for?
“An assistant needs to be culturally inquisitive and always observing the world around them. They need to have a natural fascination for what’s new, over a broad spectrum of disciplines, and be able to communicate those findings.”
Best piece of advice you have been given?
“When I was young my father always challenged me to look at things differently, and was always quoting from encyclopaedias he’s not around now, but he’s still a big influence on me. One of his gems of wisdom was to “never gamble”, he was a successful bookmaker, so I think he knew what he was talking about.”
Is there anyone in the fashion sector that inspires you?
“I admire Miuccia Prada, she’s a feminist and an intellectual who seems to have a disregard for the opinions of others. Her collections always impact on trends to some degree and I feel an affinity with what she said in an interview with Vogue in 2009, about what her work is “…about what I like, but also analysing what is and isn’t trendy and why people like something, trying to find a way to look at it from outside, researching new ideas on beauty and femininity and the way it is perceived in contemporary culture.”
What are you currently working on?
“I’m currently working on our Forecast Design issue with downloadable CAD sketches, and the team are in the final stages of the resort collections and working on new Focus reports. The pace never slows - but I like that.”
By JoJo Iles