Overview and aims
The fashion industry has long been associated with rapid change. This factor is clearly observable through constantly evolving and renewed fashion product, offered across multiple sales channels. The fast fashion model has driven consumer expectation to see new products arriving in store on a continual basis. Fashion forecasting sustains design and marketing activities to maintain ongoing creativity in the ceaseless annual cycle of innovation, product maturity and obsolescence.
Forecasting supports executive decision making for fashion organisations. Forecast information enables managers to determine how emerging trends create opportunities for new products, new market segments, and new consumers. Importantly, this information will also provide early indicators of product decline.
Forecast trend information assists managers to navigate change by early positioning of the company and their products to take advantage of predicted and observed change. Trend information alongside industry knowledge and insight is key to short and long term decision making and risk management in an innovation focused, yet highly volatile industry.
Future thinking encourages executives to think more creatively about long term planning.
Fashion forecasting is a key element in a framework of information alongside environmental scanning, and market intelligence to customise predictions for fashion businesses.
Fashion trends are interrelated with the evolution of design across all creative industry sectors, and reflect the social and cultural setting of the times.
This module aims to provide an understanding of how fashion forecasting is an essential driver for growth in the fashion industry, by fuelling product creativity, providing coherence across diverse fashion sectors, and underpinning fashion consumption.
The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop the knowledge and insight to apply fashion forecasting information to optimise product innovation for organisational sustainability and growth.
The main aims of the module are to:
- understand the value of fashion forecasting information in strategic planning for core organisational activities for fashion businesses
- critically evaluate the role of fashion forecasting in the textile and apparel industry
- understand fashion trend research strategies
- determine the inherent risks associated with the adoption of forecast trends by fashion organisations
- foster social responsibility and sustainability related to fashion trends and forecasting
- analyse the future of fashion forecasting
Fashion trends are the key driver for the fashion industry, dictating the cyclical nature of the industry calendar, product lead times, and consumer purchasing motivation. During this module you will develop key insight and understanding to evolve and apply fashion forecast information to devise and sustain innovation strategies for fashion organisations. You will be challenged to apply your knowledge and experience of the subject to critically analyse, and reflect on the practice and associated theories of fashion forecasting.
During this module you will undertake an examination of fashion forecasting practice to understand the research strategies adopted by the agencies who formulate this information. You will study the process and timeframes in which this information is collated, published, and adopted to inform innovation strategies, and then further applied to product research and development activities for fashion organisations. You will be asked to determine and evaluate the associated advantages and disadvantages of this practice, considering fashion organisations across all market levels, product categories and international cultures. By reflecting on your knowledge of the subject area, you will be able to evaluate how the forecasting sector itself may adapt to future changes in the industry and the macro environment.
The module curriculum will include the following topics:
- The process and practice of fashion forecasting in the textile and apparel industry
- Trend research strategies
- Trend forecasting theories
- The role of fashion forecasting information to inform strategies for core organisational activities
- Managing the inherent risks
- Social responsibility and sustainability related to fashion trends and forecasting
- The future of forecasting
You will be asked to apply your own, and others’, experience and insight of the value of fashion forecasting to innovation strategies and product development activities.
You will use observations of real-life fashion trend innovation to identify and map the emergence of key trends and predict possible adoption outcomes using theoretical modelling.
After studying this module you should be able to:
- articulate a critical understanding of the contemporary issues, theories and conceptual frameworks used to produce fashion predictions, and how these guide management and leadership activities
- understand and critically evaluate the relevance of predicted trends to the practice of management and leadership
- evaluate the rigour and validity of fashion trend research strategies
- demonstrate understanding of the imperative of the balance between creativity, risk and commerce in the adoption of predicted trends
- demonstrate an appreciation of global social, environmental and sustainability issues which may have an impact on, or be impacted by, predicted trends for the fashion industry
- demonstrate creativity and intellectual curiosity to critically examine possible future solutions and scenarios for fashion forecasters and the wider fashion industry
This module will help you gain the skills and qualities to:
- analyse a variety of fashion trend information and apply to diverse contexts
- communicate key issues and arguments in written and oral format to a professional standard
- effectively use information and communication technologies relevant to the international fashion industry
- make decisions and exercise judgement in a fashion industry setting, and explore a range of alternative outcomes