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Stay on Top of the Latest Fashion Trends

September 4, 2014 Fashion Design and Merchandising, General 0 Comments

Fashion merchandising is one of the world's fastest-moving and most exciting industries, so if you're thinking of embarking on a career in fashion merchandising, it is essential to stay on top of the latest fashion trends. When advising retailers and designers, fashion merchandisers need to ensure their finger is on the pulse of the latest trends, forecasts and market analysis. The following are four top techniques and tips for keeping up with the latest developments and ensuring you stay on top of the latest fashion trends.

Stay on Top of the Latest Fashion Trends1. What Are Trend Forecasters Saying?

Trend forecasting is now big business, and there are companies around the world that specialize in predicting what consumers will wear and do in the future. From London to New York and Los Angeles, trend forecasting experts compile their experienced observations and report back on the new and the next. Some trends are perennial (for example, '50s fashion or the nautical look), but others come from left-center. Trend forecasters help retailers and designers with mid- to long-term forecasting.

To stand out in your career in fashion merchandising, get to know the top trend forecasters. Look at their websites, study what they are saying on social media and subscribe to their newsletters. Even if you do not have enough money to commission research from them, you will glean enough information from their online communications to get a sense of what is coming down the line. A good starting point is a high-profile global trend-forecasting company such as WGSN, which has just merged with Stylesight to provide a combined forecasting and analysis service.

2. Observe the Cutting-Edge Retailers

Your first port of call as a fashion merchandiser is to look at industry best practices. What are the big, high-street, top-end retailers doing in fashion capitals? You do not need to physically travel to these places to get a sense of what is happening in their stores. These are the best retailers in the world, and they will provide regular online visuals of their fashion merchandising activity. While it is essential to maintain your own individuality and originality as a fashion merchandiser and always use your own ideas, it's a good way to get a sense of what's hot and what's not.

3. Look Outside Fashion for Inspiration

You don't need to look within fashion for inspiration, an idea that is often overlooked in the industry; sometimes the best ideas come from outside fashion. Use a bit of lateral thinking for your sources of inspiration. Some of the best ideas in fashion come from music, technology (such as wearable technology), art, design and even food and science. Don't be afraid to bring in outside influences in your work.

4. Get to Know the Business Pages

Remember, aside from the wonderful creative world that fashion will bring you into, fashion is first and foremost a business. Fashion merchandising is all about driving sales and increasing the bottom line for retailers and designers. Read the business pages of newspapers, magazines and their online editions. Look at what the bestselling pieces are and, most importantly, what is not selling. Sometimes a trend will appear out of nowhere that you have to incorporate at the last minute, so you should be able to be flexible.

According to Fashion United, the value of retail fashion sales in the United States in 2012 was $284 billion, with 19 billion garments consumed from 280,000 fashion retail markets. These trends show there is no better time to get into fashion merchandising.

Photo credit: morgueFile

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