On Wednesday, I showed you 5 of my favorite trends from New York Fashion Week. I also shared with you, that I am a fashion week addict and I looked at every outfit from the 300+ shows on Style.com. So how do I take thousands of images and find commonalities between them?
The answer is probably years of experience, but I’m going to share some of my organizational tips and tricks for those of you that are interested in trend forecasting. I also think some of these techniques are wonderful for brainstorming or creating inspiration boards for art or home projects.
I’m going to walk you through my personal process, which was established before the days of iPhone apps and Pinterest, but has since been updated to include them. Here is how I find trends in 2013:
1. First, I look at every show. There is no shortcut here, I really did look at every look on every show. I will mention, that this is probably not ABSOLUTELY necessary, but I do LIKE fashion, so I choose to look at every show.
My current method of digestion for this is the Style.com App for iPhone. A cool feature the app has in the “latest shows” tab is the designer name changes to a different color in the menu after you have viewed it, so you know what you have already seen. This does not apply when you are in the “all shows” tab, which is rather frustrating, but overall I find the app to be extremely user friendly.
I like to flip through the images of the show rather quickly, like I was flipping through clothes on a shopping rack, because that’s how quickly the consumer mind makes a decision. I did things the same way when I was a buyer; if I didn’t have a reason to look at something for more than a second, why would my customer?
2. When I see something I like, I pin it to Pinterest. This is a TOTAL game changer from my pre-Pinterest days as a buyer. Before I would have to save all the images to a folder and I would have to title them all with the designer’s name, so I would remember where I got them and it was SUCH a pain.
Now, (here I am again GUSHING about the Style.com app) I simply push the share button on my app and not only does it open it for me and pin it in my Pintereset app, but it TITLES the image with the designer name and the season the show was from! THEN, it returns me to the image I was looking at in my Style.com app in one fail swoop! DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH TIME THIS SAVES??? Life-changing.
3. As I’m looking through the thousands of images, my brain naturally starts to notice commonalities. ”Hey, there is that shade of blue, AGAIN,” or “That looks a lot like the print from a few shows back,” or “If I see ANOTHER pencil skirt!” …you get the idea.
Since I am still a pen a paper gal at heart, I will occasionally jot down notes about over-arching themes I see in certain shows. I can pull most of the trends together from the images I selected, but sometimes it’s nice to have a few notes in case you need to go back and don’t want to get lost in the proverbial haystack.
4. When I’m done sifting through all the shows, I take the images from my Pinterest board and I dump them into Adobe Illustrator.
At this point, I sort them into their respective categories, which I have pretty much calculated in my head. However, often some new trends come across, that I did not notice during my original search. In this case, it was heather grey.
I will also admit, that there are some things that I look at the second time and think, “Why did I save this? What was I THINKING?” You may see a few of them in my “delete” row. This is where as a buyer, you have an advantage that the consumer usually does not. As a buyer, you NEVER buy something at first glance. You usually see it in an appointment and then make a note and the vendor sends you a sample to stare at. This “second look” is what you are doing here in this post-Pinterest sort.
5. Last, I take each category and shave it down to it’s four strongest looks. You don’t have to choose four, but it’s good to narrow it down so you have a stronger more focused presentation of what you are trying to convey.
And that’s pretty much how I do it! When I developed trend boards, in my years as a buyer, I would then go and find imagery that supported and further illustrated these trends, such as artwork or photography, sometimes movie references or historical data, but that is a whole different animal.
What do you do to inspire or discover new trends?