This morning I can across an interesting read in the NY Times Style Section.  Libby Banks article, “How to Tell the Fashion Future?” had me thinking before the triple cappuccino even had a chance to kick in.

If you haven’t had the opportunity I highly recommend taking in the full article.  Here is a quick recap before I give you my thoughts.  Julia Fowler, a trained designer, teamed up with Geoff Watts, a programer in the financial industry, to launch Editd, a fashion forecasting business.  Though we may like to pretend all our ideas are original ones, we all use trend forecasting services.  So what makes Editd different?  Their forecasts are based on numbers.  Together Watts and Fowler took their complementary backgrounds and threw them together into a data analysis of the fashion industry.

Editd Data Trend Analysis Website

The article goes more in depth into the company as well as designers reactions.  The latter is what really got me thinking… Data or Instinct?

It seems designers and trend forecasters have a mixed opinion.  Is data just a buzzword and another trend that will pop in and out of the fashion industry?  Is that gut instinct that can sometimes go haywire what makes fashion truly buzz?

Personally I think it takes a bit of both.  We have always analyzed the data in fashion.  Whether it be through store sell-throughs, buyers interest, or our visual assessment on the streets.  We are trained to take in these ques and analyze them to decide what’s coming next.  The next does take a bit of instinct, but it is built out of the data we take in.

trend analysis graph

By taking in our surroundings, most designers can give you a pretty good idea where a trend is hitting in the trend curve.  Of course we’re all swayed by personal opinion, but that is what gives brands their individual style.

So what is your take on data versus instinct when it comes to trend analysis?