Trending Fashion: Who Decides What’s Hot or What’s Not?

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll already know that I love fashion! It’s been especially exciting to follow the increasing convergence of fashion and technology, and observe how these two industries often interact and influence each other. This led me to consider the question, “Who really drives fashion trends: the designers or the consumers?”

Fashion designers drive trends by using certain fabrics, colors, or silhouettes in their collections, which are then displayed on catwalks in fashion capitals around the world. But it’s also known that major retailers have teams dedicated to fashion forecasting and trend research for each season. Why? Retailers need to know consumer attitude and behavior toward fashion trends to determine which designer’s collections to purchase for their stores. While designers certainly create trends, the successes and failures of these trends ultimately lie in the hands of consumers. And therefore, it’s clear that designers do listen and pay attention to consumer preference and activity.

Let’s use the recent Oscars as an example. This event is unquestionably the biggest night in fashion, and it was exciting as usual to see celebrity fashion trends on the red carpet! You can bet that fashion brands were also on the edge of their seats, waiting to see which trends resonated with viewers. Knowing that consumer feedback is very valuable, how do brands gather data about consumers’ trend preferences? They use social media analytics engines that allow them to quickly analyze data from many sources including social media. With an event as big as the Oscars, fashion critics and viewers alike voiced their opinions on the best and worst celebrity fashions via different social media platforms, and this data was captured each time a fashion opinion was Facebooked or tweeted. What were the results?

• While critics were wowed by Lupita Nyong’o in her custom Prada gown, Jennifer Lawrence was by far the favorite for best dressed among social sharers. This contrast proves that brands must listen to both sides of the conversation to fully understand consumer preferences.

• While nude-colored dresses were the most talked about at the Oscars, it was the color blue that had the highest positive sentiment. You can bet that blue will be showing up in the color palette for future seasons!

(See the infographics below for more details. SAP’s Social Sentiment Analysis tool is behind the data presented here.)

Oscar Fashions Best Dressed

Oscars Colors
Social media is truly a powerful tool in the hands of consumers! Fashion brands must listen to consumer feedback on social media and blogs to gain valuable insight into which trends will succeed or flop. Consumer preferences also help brands predict which fashion trends will be successful in future seasons.

What are your thoughts on how fashion trends develop? Do you have any favorite trends at the moment?

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