How do fashion houses predict what next year’s fashion is going to be?
In an age where diversity and individuality are embraced, making sure you come up with a design that engages with your audience is a key focus area for companies that design products for the fashion and technology markets. Social, digital and brand anthropologists, other words known as Coolhunters, make observations and predictions of changes of new or existing cultural trends. Coolhunters do extensive market research to find out exactly what is up and coming so companies can create the right fashion items and technology gadgets that have higher chance of selling.
Coolhunters are a new brand of marketing professionals and have only formally existed since the 1990’s. Since then Coolhunting has come a long way. The way that coolhunters used to work, was that they used to collect their information first hand by observing people in society by visiting clubs, watching street culture and holding focus groups. These coolhunters would be trend spotting to work out what people where interested in ahead of time. Coolhunters hunt down what is cool. This is very labour intensive. Due to the advancement of technology, social media now has a massive effect on how we live our lives. Social media is ‘in fashion’. A study from 2017 from Statista found out that 81 percent of the world’s population is on at least 1 social media platform. With this advancement, many coolhunters don’t need to leave the comfort of their desk. With hashtags, like buttons, twitter trends and news feed algorithms, Coolhunters only need to look at social media platforms to find out what is trending at the time. With the Twitter, Instagram & Snapchat explore pages the latest and upcoming trends are often displayed here, such as the consumption of tide pods.
Coolhunters mainly focus on youth culture as they seem to be the trend setters. In the eyes of the millennial, authenticity equals edgy and upcoming cultural hubs. Research shows that this demographic of people are the most stubborn and resistant to advertising and marketing. Observing and engaging with the youths to build a fort or build a prediction model on future trends. Unlike market research which would be focused on the whole, coolhunting is focused on millennials.
I believe traditional coolhunting is a more efficient way in finding out what is ‘cool’ rather than using algorithms. This is due to the fact we can’t fully rely on stats and numbers as they don’t use human instinct which can fully appreciate what is cool. Whilst algorithms are quicker at identifying trends, those trends aren’t always quality styles and the benefit of spending more time to identify better trends is worth it in the end.