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Forecasting The Future


Trend forecasting companies now tend to predict for specific customers and the companies that rely on them produce a variety of consumer goods; from electrical products, interior furnishings, cars, perfume and of course – fashion.

Mode…Information, one of the largest distributors of trend forecasting services and design publications in Europe, recently held a seminar showcasing the concepts and influences from seven leading trend forecasters. The seminar was open to Mode…Information’s clients which includes; Debenhams, The Arcadia Group, Marks and Spencer’s, Reebok, Proctor & Gamble and Sony, along with a limited number of fashion and design students.

Speakers ranged from the publisher and editor – Jo-an Jenkins, Christine Foden from D-Cipher FM, managing editor of Textile View, Viewpoint, View Colour Planner – David Shah, creative director of Kjaer Global – Anne-Lise Kjaer, Tom Savigar – director of Sense Worldwide, Martin Raymond editor of Viewpoint & co-founder of The Future Laboratory and Gottfried Pank from MIconcepts.

While each speaker introduced trend concepts for particular market sectors many ideas and influences integrated into key themes:

Technology The use of smart fabrics and wearable technology will begin to emerge on the high street. As we get bombarded with technological developments we will also demand more from our garments. Brand label -Wrangler introduced their Cool Lock shirt last spring, which includes a scientifically designed synthetic yarn that can transport perspiration away from the body 60 times faster than cotton yarn. Telecommunications network – Orange, have also been working with fashion designers to incorporate technology within clothing. Technologically advanced in content – these garments will take on a more natural feel in styling and silhouette.

Humanity With so much political and economical uncertainty there is a great need for products that reflect comfort, humanity and spirituality. Bringing in sensory and emotive factors into design, evoking memories or by triggering a positive experience. Forms and fabrics that envelop the body, giving a feeling of security and wellbeing. Spiritual references and designs particularly inspired from the eastern continents.

Enveloping Forms - McQueen a/w 2004/05

Adaptive Navigation Concepts such as home, work and play are in the process of being redefined. Daily roles are incredibly complex and varied, with this comes a more savvy and demanding consumer – expecting more from what they buy. Quality will be key on all levels, along with clothes that are adaptable and functional, fulfilling the consumer’s desire for something new.

Functional - The Secret Pocket Bra

Environmental  A healthy unison between the rural and the urban, the man-made and the natural. Consumers are becoming more environmentally aware with an increase in recycling and the development of environmentally friendly products. Fabrics that successfully incorporate manmade and natural fibres resulting in garments that perform and last well. Taking inspiration from nature through structure, colour and design, creating a balance with urban forms and technological growth.

Natural Fibres - Silja Manninen - St Martins

The Individual The continuation of customization, limited edition and one-off-products that standout as unique. Consumers still want to belong within their chosen social groups but seek a more individual look by manipulating details. The use of bold brand logos will decline to a more subtle approach buying into quality and garments that can be tailored to the wearer. Clothes that are interactive and changeable will keep the wearer interested and as a result will be worn more often in various ways.

Limited Edition Oki-Ni Adidas Runners

The 24-hour Information Highway Along with these main trend areas speakers at the seminar also discussed the complexity of today’s modern consumers. Time has become more precious as work, social and family roles become more complicated. The attainment of knowledge is no longer for the schooling population; easy access to information via the Internet has created a need-to-know-24-hour-a-day society, resulting in a dramatic increase in online shopping.

Fashion For An Older Generation As the baby boomers reach their sixties the older generation’s outlook and attitudes are younger and more active but who is catering for this market? Are designers and retailers missing out on one of the most important lifechange revolutions to affect our society over the past 100 years? Another shifting market is menswear, at present choices are limited and there is a real need for the creation of niche menswear designs. With the narrowing distinction between male and female behaviour is it time for designs that can be worn and used by both?

Daphne Selfe 60+ Model

Fashion forecasters look and analyse everything, from the latest CD covers to current art exhibitions. They check out new designers, new shops, technological developments, the latest clubs, bars, restaurants, new websites, films, architecture, current social issues and all things that reveal fresh ideas. Also checking out consumer behaviour around the globe along the way – covering all market sectors, nothing escapes their questioning minds. The result is a detailed mix of meticulous research, experience and intuition. Fashion forecasting reports can focus on trends up to several years ahead and have proved to be of valuable benefit to retailers and designers.

Trend forecasting websites and for further info on publications:






Jo Iles




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