The underlying principles of colour forecasting, its purpose and the process, now have a history spanning a full century. While the trend-forecasting sector, as it is today, developed predominantly in the 1960s / 70s, the first known official colour forecasting agency, the Textile Color Card Association of America (TCCA), was established much earlier in 1915 - and is still in existence today, though it is now known as the Color Association of the United States (CAUS).
This issue of Textile Progress is somewhat timely as the challenges that industry face now differ from the challenges of the twentieth century, in particular, the increased need to address sustainability and the increased competiveness of the global marketplace. By providing an overview of the historical context, the importance of the role of colour forecasting in the fashion and textile industries is considered before setting the scene for engagement with the practice of colour forecasting, which is often referred to as being a combination of an art and a science due to the different techniques used and the different skill sets employed by forecasters to differentiate themselves from their competitors. It provides a detailed analysis of the more-recently established and establishing trend forecasting methods with a view to thinking more innovatively about the potential practice of colour forecasting. Furthermore, it investigates the effects and impact of colour and trend forecasting with a particular focus on the consequences of the process and system on business, on consumers and on the environment, drawing first on the theory of planned obsolescence and second on the sustainability of the system itself.
Reviewing the developments in colour forecasting begin with the techniques that are considered to be the art of forecasting, followed by the colour forecasting process itself and the role it plays in the industry, including its application in textile design, garment design and product development, whilst highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches. The more-objective characteristics of the colour forecasting process that have emerged from engagement with new developments and new thinking, provide a focus on the potential for greater accuracy in colour forecasting. This issue of Textile Progress explains how and why colour forecasting is an essential component of the business of making and selling fashion garments, through merchandising, retailing and fashion marketing, as well as being important in fashion design and product development processes. Developments affecting the design of colour-forecasting systems are shown to draw on marketing theory, without much consideration for the human-business interface, specifically, colour preferences, colour psychology and cultural meanings of colour. In addition, whilst forecasters claim to engage in research and include developments and new technologies as they materialise in the dyeing sector, there is little evidence in the literature of how precisely research and development within the industry has impacted, if at all, on colour forecasting, unless the developments have become generally newsworthy.
The overall aim of this Textile Progress is to assist an understanding of the colour forecasting process and its contribution to the larger trend-forecasting system, and to highlight the challenges for the colour forecasting to face in twenty-first century fashion-business strategy. Attention is paid to the colour forecasting process, the art of forecasting and forecasting as a system establishing its role within the industry, including its application in the design process and skills acquisition, and the strengths and weaknesses of the current colour and trend forecasting process are presented. The more-recently established trend-forecasting methods are critically analysed, as are previously unpublished contributions to knowledge through original sets of primary research data, and potential improvements are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTextile Progress
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21 Aug 2019


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