When trying to relate the idea of futurism to the apparel industry, trend forecasting was the first thing that came to my mind. Trend forecasting services currently have huge amounts of sway over what types of garments clothing companies choose to produce. On a smaller scale, I’ve used WGSN–a trend forecasting site OSU subscribes to–to make many decisions, both large and small, about the pieces I create.
If I’m this impacted by a trend forecasting site, I know the impact is even larger for companies with millions of dollars at stake. This is why I think if the fashion industry is going to become more sustainable, trend forecasters will play a huge role in the shift. These companies must make active decisions to champion sustainable textiles, quality construction, and fair production practices. They need to begin touting the importance of clothing that will last forever, rather than be tossed out after one season. Trend forecasters can help convince companies like Zara and H&M that they need to use only organic cotton, or that they need to move production out of Bangladesh. Small changes like this will have a huge effect on the industry as a whole.
Future thinking, I’ve learned, is essential to solve the sustainability problems the Earth currently faces. A sense of optimism is necessary in order to make progress, instead of getting bogged down with all the world’s problems. In the fashion industry, there is no more forward-thinking job segment than trend forecasters. Change can start there, and spread out in meaningful ways through the rest of the industry.