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Fashion Industry: A Resource Guide

Internet Resources

These are just a few sites that can be used by those looking to understand the business end of the fashion industry.

These sites are good for general understanding but also for understanding particular issues. Searching the Internet generally is also good for niche issues, trends, products etc.. If you are doing research on the Internet generally, use phrases and terms like

  • fashion trends retail
  • fashion trends online
  • fast fashion
  • fashion social media
  • fashion blogger or fashion influencer

It is also important to research the companies themselves. While we have a guide that goes into more detail there are a few quick things to mention. Look for articles but also look at their web sites for the corporate information in the about us or investor relations area, as well as look at press releases. For example:

  • If you are researching clothes look at several of the big labels and retailers.
  • If you are looking for niche products like shoes or underclothes, figure out the big players in terms of manufacturing and selling and look at them individually.
  • If you are looking at the selling end of the business, look at both brick-and-mortar retailers and online companies corporate and ecommerce web sites. See how they organize, what features they offer, etc.
  • If you want to understand trend watching/fashion forecasting, there are always articles and general Internet searching, find out the names of companies. Because they are likely to be small and there may not be much written about them, you will want to look at their websites but also look at who links to their websites because that can revealing.
  • If the company is a large publicly traded company, go their investor relations page and dive deep into the company financials - particularly the 10K (see the U.S. Public Companies section).

Research

Connections, News, Podcasts

These are just a few of the resources that are available. Another resource are the web pages and social media of the magazines themselves. Much of their content will be pure fashion and less fashion business, however, they do increasingly cover the business end of fashion particularly as it relates to sustainability. For example Vogue, started Global Conversations External in the early COVID-19 quarantine, that included discussion on the "Future of Sustainability" "The Future of E-Commerce" "The Future of Brick and Mortar" on their YouTube channel. You can also find individual podcasts through regular news channels like the New York Times which had an episode "Sweatpants Forever" External as part of their The Daily podcast.

Tracking the Trends

Fashion Forecasting has been a part of the industry since the beginning but in the later part of the 20th century "trend books" became common. These books were not just about the designers, but also for the fashion magazines. This “Trickle Down” (being told what is fashionable) and “Bubble Up” where fashion houses look to individuals (trend setters) for where they are going has developed into an important part of the fashion industry is now developed into a sizable niche area with firms that specialize in this activity. Now fashion forecasters are using social media channels like Instagram, Pinterest, as well as looking to fashion bloggers and Street Style blogs like The Sartorialist and Where Did You Get That to understand what is coming next. The fashion industry has looked to street wear or street style for the trends but that has become its own category of fashion.

Obviously these sites are helpful for those looking at the fashion trends, but these companies are a niche industry that can itself be researched. While there are a number of firms and sources for tracking fashion trends and using for fashion forecasting, below is a list of just a few. One to mention that may not be as obvious is the Pinterest 100 where they annually report on the top trends they see reflected through what is being posted on Pinterest. Some topics may be obviously fashion oriented, while others like an interest in sustainability, are less so.