Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How do Fashion Designers Predict the Future?


Many times I've been asked the question,"How do you know what fashions will be in style next year?" It's simple, you need innovative one of a kind designers that live in the present but know the future. This answer begs another question:

Do fashion designers start trends or do they have an ability to anticipate fashion trends?

When a new product is released there is a principle called the theory of diffusion which helps answer the question of why fashion designers are so clairvoyant.

The Theory of New Product Diffusion
  • Innovators – venturesome people with an ability to process emerging information
  • Early adopters – popular people (social leaders) who are first to try new products
  • Early majority – people with many social contacts that quickly mainstream products
  • Late majority – skeptical people that will try a product only if it is a true trend
  • Laggards – people who look for the Levi tag in the pocket of a pair of corduroy pants

The best fashion designers are clearly innovators, people with an ability to process information from magazines, television, movies, songs, art, buyers, consumers and sales people, and then correlate with existing fashion to forecast color and style. It's an ability that can't be learned, you either have it or you don't. This ability, however, gets better over time and when mentored properly becomes simply extraordinary.

At Corky & Company our chief designer is one of these rare individuals. Betty Sioux, her nickname on Myspace, a gifted innovator is one of the last persons you would think would be an award winning childrenswear designer. When she comes to work I never know if her hair will be black, blue, red, purple, yellow or some combination there of, if her undergarments will be on the inside or outside of her outfit, if another body part will be pierced or inked, or if she'll be wearing flats or seven inch heeled shoes. The only sure thing is she will sport a look that is meticulously put together.

Betty, my wife Kim and Annie, our youngest designer, collectively seem to be able to predict the fashion future. But since I don't believe in tarot cards, palm reading or extra sensory perception, I know they are not part of the paranormal. So the answer to the question I posited earlier is; fashion designers don't start trends, but they have an incredible ability to anticipate trends before they start. The best fashion designers are all processing similar information from all forms of media and therefore come to similar conclusions about the direction of fashion.

So my wife, Betty and Annie don't start fashion trends, they just have a rare ability to know what you will like, a year before you know you will like something.


If you enjoyed this post, you might want to check out these other fashion related Corky Nation blog posts.

Specialty Stores on Target - As one of the nation's largest apparel sellers, Target has raised the fashion - value bar to new heights and set a standard boutique label manufacturers must exceed to remain successful.

Great Fashion Starts with Outstanding Quality - A small branded apparel manufacturer can’t afford a large quality assurance department, nor is this the proper way to insure a quality product in garment manufacturing. At Corky, we define quality in five very simple steps.





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