Fashion forecasting jobs have a mystique surrounding them. Figuring out how to land one of these exciting jobs means entering a maze of possibilities—a singular path just does not exist. Each area of the fashion forecasting industry holds a wide variety of career choices. From searching the streets for trends to interpreting those trends as actual fashion products to writing about, photographing and further interpreting those trends, there are many types of jobs to choose from.
A fashion degree may be helpful when breaking into the fashion forecasting field, but it is not an absolute. The field requires such a broad range of people to make forecasting happen that a computer nerd with a love of color may fit in just as well as a Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) graduate. However, education is an important career requirement. A bachelor's degree will definitely get a job candidate in the door. Science, technology, business, sociology, home economics, writing and art degrees all work in the forecasting industry.
Beyond a basic college education, workers in the fashion industry need to understand the cycle of fashion and the influence of culture on fashion forecasting. The ability to communicate ideas and even demonstrate fashion solutions will help a candidate gain entry into a forecasting career. Having work experience in one or more of the following will further qualify a job applicant: event coordinators (trade shows, conferences, expos), production assistants (film, television, video), fashion buyers, public relations, publishing, photography assistants, manufacturing technologies (textiles, carpets, shoes) and retail management.
The process of fashion forecasting involves spotting cultural trends. Fashion forecasting businesses keep their focus on changes in music, art, architecture, film, literature and photography. They track new talent and innovations in science, technology and the media. Forecasters gather and analyze repetitive looks, styles and manufacturing techniques found all over the world. Not only do forecasters spot a trend, they also figure out when the trend has ended. Trends can be related to new technology as much as new colors and fabrics.
Forecasting may revolve around being on the street to collect trend data, but there are many other career choices besides being the actual spotter. Forecasting companies produce slick magazine-style presentations, videos and online subscription information about the trends they are finding. Involved in these productions are a mix of creative directors, managing editors, analysts, researchers, graphics designers, web designers, marketers, illustrators, photographers and videographers. Some fashion houses have their own forecasting teams, and others use third-party forecasting companies to gain forecasting knowledge.
Fashion forecasting is broken down into categories. Categories may overlap on occasion—sometimes women adapt fashion from men's lines or older women adopt younger looks. Categories can also be broken down by season. The basic categories include women's wear, menswear, footwear, accessories, intimate apparel, swimwear, kids wear, interiors (fashion does include the home), knitwear, denim, active sports and the youth market.
Alex Burke holds a degree in environmental design and a Master of Arts in information management. She's worked as a licensed interior designer, artist, database administrator and nightclub manager. A perpetual student, Burke writes Web content on a variety of topics, including art, interior design, database design, culture, health and business.