Fashion Forecasting and the Future of Fashion
We were recently asked to provide our opinion regarding future fashion trends and the general process of fashion forecasting. At WTS we talk a lot about the history and future of fashion, so we were more than happy to oblige. Unfortunately, if what you’re looking for is a crystal-ball prediction of where things are going, or an in-depth model on how to predict whether those sweat leather Birkenstocks stowed away in your closet are finally going to be hot this next spring, then stop reading now. Not only do we believe such an endeavor is fool-hearted (and Birkenstocks will never be in), but it is representative of the non-progressive behaviors still exhibited by a majority of today’s fashion community; behaviors that we at WTS are looking to overthrow. Instead, we’ve decided to provide a glimpse into what we at WTS believe SHOULD be the future of fashion and our own philosophy on fashion forecasting. These ideas are very important to us, and we strive each day to embody them in our brand, business and products. So hey, pay attention…
- Democratization – We believe the future of fashion should be more democratic in nature by allowing consumers to play a greater role in the way their clothes are designed and produced.
- More Efficiency in Production – The future of fashion should be more efficient, with less time, effort and resources spent on forecasting what people will want.
- Artistically Inspired – Art is what separates us from the rest of creation. Let’s make it part of how we present ourselves to the world.
Each year billions of dollars are spent by fashion companies to produce and sell their products. But how did they know what to produce? How did they know what was going to be in style? Or more importantly (to them), what was going to sell? There have been a number of ways that firms have approached this problem, but they generally fall into three main categories:
- Plan A – They create a bunch of different designs, make them all and then put them out in stores. Some products become hits and are sold out; other products are flops and fail miserably. The only problem is, the prices on all products are jacked up to account for the designs that don’t sell.
- Plan B – Spend an enormous amount of money on market research in hopes of making educated guesses about what people like. Then spend more money on clever advertising, specially crafted with the help of highly paid psychologists, to manipulate your instincts into buying said products. Again, where do all the costs for marketing go? You guessed it, the buyer.
- Plan C – A combination of Plan A and Plan B. Ewwww…
As you can tell by our website, we are not interested in spending valuable resources on trying to forecast what future fashion trends will be popular. We’d rather use modern techniques of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding to let consumers determine the designs we offer and produce, while we stand by ready to help facilitate the process of turning their ideas into a reality. We feel this model is simple enough to execute, and the benefits are significant (i.e. more unique designs, lower costs, and the opportunity for individuals to create rather than just consume).
A great example of an industry that has already been revolutionized by such a process is the tech industry and the open-source revolution. While we wouldn’t go so far as to say that open-source and crowdsourcing are one in the same, they are similar in that they provide greater democratization in product and service design. In the past few decades the world has witnessed the incredible power of open-source technology. This remarkable occurrence has brought about a number of improvements to the way we design, build and use technology. So why should the computer nerds have all the fun? WTS envisions a world where not only the best software products exist from such democratization, but all kinds of products; especially fashion. Why should we sit around and let fashion agencies decide what’s hot and what’s not, and what styles are going to sit on the shelves? And then be manipulated through clever marketing and photoshopped models into thinking that that is what we want to buy. The truth is YOU are the best person to determine what will make you happy, and more fashion companies and brands should start taking that into account in a more direct manner.
It’s not that we think all of today’s fashion companies are all evil monsters that want to incur higher costs so that they can charge you higher prices. Most of them came to use these practices because of the technology and market constraints of their time. They are products of their environment. But times have changed, and so the process by which firms perform fashion forecasting needs to change as well.
Last but not least, we believe that the world of everyday artists should have a more prominent role in the future of fashion. Here at WTS we take art seriously. As one of the main things that separates us from all other beasts of this world, art plays a large part in our journey through the human experience. As James Franco so elegantly put it in the movie This is the End, “your mom’s pussy was the canvas and you’re dad’s dick was the paint brush. Boom! You’re art.” We feel there is no better way to display this crucial aspect of our identity than to visually incorporate it into your outward appearance. This of course is why we labor each day to discover new artists around the world to dream up designs for new campaigns, and why we encourage individuals to submit their own ideas. Whether you’re a local street artist; a highly sophisticated art connoisseur; or an employee for the local post office, we want to see what you’ve got to offer.
So let’s put an end to not having a voice in what we buy. Let’s stop being lab rats that simply consume from the options others put before us. Instead, let’s create. Let’s use the amazing opportunity that technology has afforded our modern world to share inspirations, find new ideas and bring as much innovation to the table (or sock) as possible. One foot at a time.