fashion: color forecasting process

reference from Color Compendium, Hope and Walch

Color preferences do not stay the same and constantly change in all design fields. These changes go through cycles. In some cases taste and food preferences can be parallel to each other. For example spicy spanish food in 1980s witnessed a popularity for hot colors in women’s clothing.  Color cycles reflect the state of social, technical, economical, ecological and political of the times. Color influences can also come from strong fashion capitals like Tokyo, Milan, London and Paris. In the United States popularity of black and red was the influence of Japanese designers. Another popular pair of pink and turquoise was due to sportswear elevation of Christian Lacroix.

Color forecasting emerged around 1915s by a group of American manufacturers and retailers that faced with the problem of color taste change in a consumer oriented economy. The group selected shades in custom dyed silk and wool swatches in the form of forecast card for the coming seasons. The women’s clothing was the primary focus of forecasting color. Gloves, hosiery, millinery and furs were included as the forecasted categories.

Color forecasts for the fashion, interior, environmental and other industries are forwarded to mills, manufacturers , designers, architects and fashion stylists so color layouts and plans can be prepared to apply to appropriate products.

By consumers moods and concerns, consumers get sensitive not only to hues but also to the variations of traditional colors. In economical tough times color tends to get dark. Black was the leading color for cars during the Depression. In the boom of 1950s pastel colors hold a steady place due to calm economy.

Forecasters look into exact shades to predict : will the red be a blued or oranged on ? etc. In housewares volume sales rely on fewer colors. In the late 1960s and early 1970s popular colors included avocado, green, harvest gold and white.  Today the line forecast can include up to 12 colors. Also color forecasting today focuses more on how shades that are perceived popular will perform in different consumer markets around the world.