How to Create a Fashion Trend Board (with examples)

There are several types of inspiration boards that fashion designers make use of when creating new collections.

These boards serve various purposes, such as fashion mood boards that capture the vibe for a collection, or color boards that showcase a garment assortment’s color palette. 

And for fashion brands that are sensitive to ever-evolving trends, creating fashion trend boards is a must. 

In this article, we’ll explore all about what trend boards are in the fashion industry – from finding resources and inspiration, what software to use, and a step-by-step guide to help you create your next project.

So, if you’re a newbie fashion designer, a freelance fashion designer, or a fashion brand owner embarking on creating a new collection, this trend board guide is perfect for you!

Let’s begin!

Why am I qualified to write about this stuff? In my 15 years of experience in the fashion industry, I’ve journeyed from being an in-house designer, starting my own brand (yep!), to growing my freelance career to $100,000+. Now, with all the knowledge I’ve learned along the way, I want to help fashion designers (and PDs, TDs, etc.) like you make it in the industry.

Table Of Contents:

What is a Fashion Trend Board?

A fashion design trend board is a visual presentation that showcases a curated selection of images such as colors, patterns, textures, and other visual elements that collectively represent a specific fashion trend or concept. 

These boards serve as tools for designers, brand managers, and fashion professionals to capture the essence of a trend and use it as a source of inspiration in their creative fashion design process. 

Trend boards typically include photographs, sketches, magazine clippings, fabric swatches, and sometimes even written descriptions to relay the key elements and mood of the trend.

They enable designers to explore and experiment with various design elements that align with the chosen trend, helping them conceptualize cohesive and on-trend collections fit for their target customer and fashion market. 

What is the Difference between a Mood Board and Trend Board?

Mood boards and trend boards are often confused, but they each serve distinct purposes. To clarify the difference, here’s a quick comparison:

A mood board‘s main purpose, like this one by Stacked Studio, is to capture and convey the overall mood, feeling, and aesthetic of a collection. It typically contains a mix of photos, colors, textures, and patterns to inspire and guide the creative process, allowing room for interpretation and creative freedom. 

On the other hand, a trend board, like this from Jacqueline Diane, focuses on showcasing a specific fashion trend or concept in a more detailed way. It can include hand-picked visuals, materials swatches, sketches, and descriptions that represent the trend’s key elements, such as colors, fabrics, silhouettes, and design features.

Compared to mood boards, trend boards are highly specific and actionable and serve as direct references for fashion designers looking to align their collections with current and upcoming trends.

Where to Find Inspiration for Fashion Trend Boards

The truth is, creating fashion trend boards requires solid research chops. Finding the right sources of inspiration is key to crafting trend boards that resonate with your target customer and accurately reflect the up-and-coming trends in the fashion industry.

Here are some great resources of fashion trends:

  • Forecasting Platforms: Fashion trend forecasting platforms like WGSN and Pantone are valuable resources for staying ahead in the fashion industry. They provide in-depth insights into upcoming trends in colors, fabrics, styles, and consumer behavior. 
    Pro Tip: Trend forecasting platforms can be expensive! Which is why I created a list of 73 free (and cheap) trend forecasting resources + websites. You can also hit play on this episode of my podcast with Wendy Bendoni (who used to be a trend forecaster for WGSN) on how to predict trends.
  • Runway Shows and Fashion Weeks: Runway shows and fashion weeks showcase high fashion collections that kickstart fashion trends. Attending or following these events allows you to witness firsthand the latest creations from top designers. And ofc, not everyone can attend these shows, so instead, you can check out well-known runway websites such as Tagwalk and Vogue Runway.
  • Fashion Magazines: Fashion magazines such as VogueElle, and Harper’s Bazaar are timeless sources of inspiration – offering editorials, photography, and articles that showcase the latest trends and styles.
  • Trade Shows: Trade shows are industry events where fashion industry professionals gather to display and discover the latest products and trends. Events like Première Vision bring together textile and fabric enthusiasts, while others like MAGIC focus on clothing and accessories. 

    Pro Tip:
     Despite all the trend resources out there, it’s a fashion designer’s job to create trends. And oftentimes inspiration for this is pulled from anywhere but the fashion industry. Look beyond the runway and get ideas from other industries like automotives, architecture, and interiors. The natural world around you is another source of amazing inspiration just waiting to be interpreted into the next big trend.

What Software do Fashion Designers Use to Create Trend Boards?

You don’t have to be a graphic design wiz to create trend boards. If you have basic knowledge on any of the following applications below, you can surely get started easily. 

Consider using the following applications:

Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign)

Adobe‘s design software suite, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, is the go-to choice for many fashion designers. Photoshop is excellent for editing and manipulating images, while Illustrator is great for creating vector graphics and illustrations. InDesign, on the other hand, is ideal for assembling all the elements of a trend board into a polished layout. 

Depending on the style of trend board you want to create, you can make use of these applications to arrange images, add text, and experiment with various visual elements.

Presentation Apps (Powerpoint, Keynote, Canva)

And I know, it takes some time (and $$$ on subscription fee) to get used to the Adobe Suite, so a more practical option to creating inspiration boards is using presentation apps like PowerPointKeynote, and Canva

Designers can arrange images, add text, and experiment with visual elements within the user-friendly interface of these software applications, catering to those with limited graphic design experience.

How to Create a Fashion Trend Board: A Step-by-step Guide

Now that we’ve covered the basics of fashion trend boards, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make them:

how to create a fashion trend board
  1. Gather Resources and Inspiration: The first step in creating a trend board is gathering resources and drawing your inspiration. Get a good understanding of the latest trends and design elements related to your chosen concept by scouring through forecasting platforms, fashion magazines, and attending trade shows if possible.
  2. Select Your Key Elements: The key element for your trend board could be anything from a silhouette, color palette, vibe, construction detail, texture, fabric, etc. Carefully select these key elements and details that encapsulate the essence of your trend concept. 
  3. Use The Right Images: Choosing the right images is crucial for your fashion trend board. Pick visuals that capture the mood, style, and look of your trend. And remember – not every image makes the cut, so choose those which resonate the most with the vision you have in mind.
  4. Assemble Your Trend Board: Use your selected visuals to create your fashion trend board. Arrange them in a clear layout using your preferred tools or software. Experiment with different compositions, focusing on balance, color coordination, and visual hierarchy. Add text or labels where needed.

Remember, creating an effective fashion trend board isn’t just slapping together some nice pictures – it requires thoughtful organization and selection of representative images that truly embody your design vision. 

And if you’re in need of a dash of inspiration…

Fashion Trend Board Examples

Here is a Gorpcore trend board by Pip Cooper that shows different instances of this trend to give well-rounded inspiration for the Gorpcore style.

This trend board is from Anna Keo Design and is another great example of a trend board!

Here is a trend board by Lucrecia De Los Santos Adon who showcases this harness trend.

The final example, by Jacqueline Diane, was shown earlier in the article as a comparison but it’s another good example of a trend board!

I hope these examples can serve as inspiration for your next trend boarding project!

Remember, the best part about creating trend boards – or any inspiration boards for that matter is that there are NO RULES.

So, go ahead and let your creativity shine through, shaping the trends of tomorrow with your unique design vision.


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