With trend services like WGSN costing a whopping $25k / year (!!!), it’s hard to keep up with forecasting in the fashion industry (especially if you’re an independent freelancer).

So how do you stay relevant and inspired? Well, I’m just one person and I don’t claim to have all the answers. My go to resource, like a lot of you, is Pinterest, but I know there’s a lot more out there.

So I emailed all 10k+ of my email subscribers and asked:

“What are the best places for free or cheap trend forecasting?”

I’ve curated the feedback I got from hundreds of fashion designers around the world, and even quoted a handful of you (because you worded it way better than I could have).

(Also, listen to my podcast interview with a former WGSN trend forecaster, Wendy Bendoni.)

First, one of my favorite submissions from Sharon, who’s teaching us how to spot trends. Brilliant!

“I used to work for a trend prediction agency and they taught me to look at changes in lifestyles, ‘the zeitgeist’ how people live, work, travel and political changes (for example how recently red came on trend after a period of public demonstrations and political unrest – the colour of action and possibly anger). Looking at these shifts in lifestyle, then gathering images to create a moodboard reflecting that lifestyle, which then start to develop a colour palette. That’s how (some) trends start – certainly in Europe and seen at Premier Vision etc – but might take 2 years to filter down to the high street… so I keep one eye on micro trends and what’s developing, while all the time looking at the most commercial elements to maximise profits.”

Sharon, former trend forecaster

Next, a few insightful places to find trends from other fashion designers:

  1. “I find trend inspo in various sources – as Paul Smith said ‘inspiration is everywhere if you look hard enough’. Instinct is possibly the best resource. If you are into what you do, then you inherently have a ‘good eye’ and develop natural trend awareness” – Sharon…again! She was full of a lot of ideas 🙂
  2. “Frankly, I think to forecast the future, it’s better to define the future . . . Drive it, create it . . . don’t follow it.” – Robin
  3. “Trends are…just in the air. If you are sensitive for this stuff, you will always find out, where the way of fashion will be going next.” – Eirini
  4. “I also write in the google search bar things like ‘I hate skinny jeans’ and see how many times it has been searched for, to see anti-trend feelings – how big they are. I studied sociology in the University, where I had a marketing class and I try to use that as ‘a read between the lines/numbers’ tool.” – Emiliya
  5. “Zara …… now hear me out! This is because they work so close to season that I have noticed they follow WGSN trends for the next season (~So if WGSN are showing trends for AW2019 and it’s only just the launch of SS2018, then there will be some key pieces that match the WGSN predictions) so this is good for brands to keep an eye on whom that are not fast fashion.” – Cressida

And now, here is a list of specific resources and tips to predict trends (in no particular order) created by all of YOU – hundreds of fashion designers around the world.

Sites / Apps

  1. Pinterest
    • “When you follow the correct people it’s easy to see a trend. I also watch a lot of fashion shows on the internet. After those show I collect on Pinterest items that have the same feeling.” – Marieke
    • “Some Angel somewhere is uploading trend reports [to Pinterest] including bodies, pattern and print ideas, I mean EVERYTHING! It’s crazy how easy it is to get the scoop on upcoming trends as well as past reports by typing in say ‘Spring 2018 Activewear Trends’. I promise you your heart will skip beats!” – Dani
  2. Instagram
    • “I find that instagram and other social media is your best friend. I typically search broad fashion related hashtags to see what’s out in the world and what people are wearing.” – Sydney
    • “I love how you can save Instagram posts and organize them!” – Heather
  3. LIKEtoKNOW.it
  4. Patternbank trend reports
  5. Pattern Curator
  6. Trend Zoom
  7. Fashion Snoops
  8. Trend Stop
  9. F-Trend
  10. Farfetch
  11. Trend Tablet
  12. Eclectic Trends
  13. Appletizer
  14. Fashion Editorials
  15. Fashion Network
  16. Modacable
  17. Tag-Walk
  18. The Future Fabrics Group
  19. Bradley Quinn (author)
  20. WWD
  21. Who What Wear
  22. LeBook
  23. Hypebeast
  24. Highsnobiety
  25. GQ
  26. BoF
  27. Vogue Runway App
  28. ISPO Textrends
  29. Be Global
  30. Cools
  31. Premiere Vision
  32. Peclers
  33. Milano Unica
  34. Moda Operandi
  35. Linea Pelle Show
  36. Drapers
  37. Interior design trends (all courtesy of Robin, publisher of Heddlecraft Magazine)
  38. “Many of the best fashion designers came out of the world of architecture and I get some of my best ideas from architects and their publications (e.g., Architectural Digest) . . . plus, they are really good people to network with . . . and many trends in architecture (e.g., eco-friendliness) work hand-in-hand with the priorities for customers.” – Robin

Color Specific

  1. Pantone
  2. Color Marketing
  3. Design Seeds
  4. Multicolr by TinEye Labs
    “A brilliant tool that helps you find images based on color. It’s a great way to find inspo pics if you’re working backwards to create a moodboard based on a color palette.” – Heidi (me!)

Other Publications / Places / Ideas

  1. Fashion magazines
    • “Vogue or Bazaar runway report magazines every season for a line-up of every show from every designer from every major city fashion week.” – Sydney
  2. Trend books
    • “Companies selling trend books will send you snippets of periodicals you register interest in so this is always worth doing.” – Kay
  3. Music videos
    • “If they are really trendy, you will recognize all the colours and fashion and other things, which are just ‘up to date’.” – Gerhard
  4. Fashion brand websites / lookbooks
  5. Trade shows
  6. Street style in high fashion cities (Google “street style blog [city name]”)
  7. Lifestyle blogs in your category
  8. Runway shows / catwalks (available online / YouTube)
  9. Movies / music / art galleries / concerts or festivals / drag queens
  10. “The international terminal at the airport. At baggage claim you see all kinds of looks.” – Sally
  11. Go for a walk in an artsy neighborhood
  12. Pay attention to “how kids put things together” – Sharon
  13. Travel to style cities like London, New York, Tokyo, Copenhagen
  14. Brick and mortar stores / window shopping
  15. Get on mailing lists of boutiques in your niche
  16. “Sewing patterns: Vogue, Butterick, McCall’s, Simplicity, Marfy, Lutterloh, Burda.” – Kathy
  17. Vintage clothing

No matter where you get your fashion trend forecasting inspiration, there is no right or wrong place to look. YOU as the designer have the eye. It is your job to figure out what places you like to look best, and decide what works for your employer or freelance clients.

This list will get you started, but by no means is it the end all be all. Do your fashion trend research in a way that works best for you, and have the confidence that you’re coming up with the right ideas.