Hot new looks are introduced every year in Paris, New York, Milan and in other world fashion capitals. But who decides what's trendy or not? How does a fashion trend begin?
It's a fascinating question, and the answer is as intriguing and complex as, say, following the stock market. For years trend spotting relied mostly on nitty gritty reporting on what what was happening in bars and nightclubs, in Hollywood, Monte Carlo, or wherever trendsters gathered to see and be seen.
Today, fashion forecasting still includes what's happening on the front lines, but it also encompasses marketing analysis, geographic data, the public mood in general, psychological studies, color forecasting, along with a look at the most popular films, music and books.
Fashion forecasters exist just to provide this information to the industry which, in turn, will pay a hefty price for it - in the hopes that they learn (or relearn) the complicated dance between it and the public they rely on to buy their latest lines.
It's not all robotic. The most successful fashion designers can take the raw data, process it, and reinterpret it to reflect their own creativity and taste. Those who can't usually fall by the wayside. Overall, it all seems like a Big Brother approach to fashion, and it is, kind of.
Behind the cold science, however, the human touch is still very much in vogue throughout the industry which regularly sends out trendspotters into the streets to see what people are actually wearing. And not necessarily in Manhattan or Beverly Hills.
Today, they're everywhere. In fact, they may be checking you out right now - at a mall, a music concert, a street fair or at a train station. So follow your own style.
Who knows? YOU may influencing the next big thing in fashion.
More about fashion trends & forecasting around the Web:
The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed the Clothing Business Forever, by Teri Agins
Fashion Forecasting by Evelyn L. Brannon