This book sheds light on the hidden history of one of the driving forces in the business of fashion - trend forecasting. Exploring the inner workings of color and trend prediction for fashion over the past two centuries, from Europe to America to Asia, it offers the first historical treatment of the rise and growth of the industry within the global fashion system.
The enigmatic information system of forecasting is often shrouded in mystery, yet it has been gathering and analyzing intelligence about colors, fabrics, silhouettes, and styles since the 18th century. Where did the practice of trend prediction come from? How did the industry evolve on both a national and international scale? How did it mature into the position of power that it holds in today's digital age of fast fashion, where subscription portals like WGSN are major providers of style information to the global fashion industry? We find answers to these questions by examining the entrepreneurs, trade associations, service companies, and consultants that have worked behind the scenes to generate the cultural data that connect fashion creators and retailers to emerging trends.
Shifting the analysis of trends to business history, and bringing together new research in the archives of trend studios, color forecasters, and international trade fairs, plus four interviews with leading contemporary forecasters, this book blends history, biography, and ethnography into a highly readable cultural narrative that will draw important ties between the birth and rise of the industry and its globally dominant position today.
About the Authors
Regina Lee Blaszczyk is Leadership Chair in the History of Business and Society and Professor of Business History at the University of Leeds in the UK. She writes about design and innovation for the creative industries. Her books include Imagining Consumers: Design and Innovation from Wedgwood to Corning; Producing Fashion: Commerce, Culture, and Consumers; The Color Revolution; Bright Modernity: Color, Commerce, and Consumers (with Uwe Spiekermann); Fashionability: Abraham Moon and the Creation of British Cloth for the Global Market; and European Fashion: The Creation of a Global Industry (with Véronique Pouillard).
Ben Wubs is Professor of International Business History at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication in Rotterdam and an appointed Project Professor at the Graduate School of Economics at Kyoto University in Japan. In terms of research, he is engaged in projects on multinationals, business systems, transnational economic regions, Dutch-German economic relations, and the global fashion industry. His books include International Business and National War Interests: Unilever between Reich and Empire and (with Ralf Banken) The Rhine: A Transnational Economic History.
"The intuition, “sixth-sense”, and impeccable taste of fashion forecasters is well worth this book’s insightful analysis. How they predict who will wear what - and when - is the intriguing story of this comprehensive anthology." - Mary Westerman Bulgarella, Co-editor of Colors in Fashion and Costume Colloquium Advisory Committee Coordinator, Italy/USA
"For a field that is obsessed with the future, there is much to be learned from the past, as editors Blaszczyk and Wubs provide an engaging overview of the history of forecasting, giving overdue credit to the industry’s originators. Meticulously researched with excellent first-person accounts, The Fashion Forecasters untangles the web of current forecasting influences and creates a clear vision for its future." - Lorynn R. Divita, Baylor University, USA