One could quickly answer this question and say that the designers that put collections down runways during fashion week create trends that eventually trickle down into our wardrobes.

That response is not untrue, but where do the designers get the inspiration for their collections? As outlandish or innovative as their ideas may be, designers must gather their inspirations from somewhere, which are trend forecasting companies that study the trends of the world in order to come up with future trends.

While in Paris, I had the amazing opportunity to visit a trend forecasting company called Trend Union to learn about how future trends are conceptualized. Run by a woman named Ledwij Edelkoort, the company identifies potential trends and gathers information on them. In an interview with Not Just A Label, Edelkoort explained that her process for identifying trends is similar to an archeological dig by stating, “I dig into the future, tracking the zeitgeist of tomorrow. When I have enough fragments, I connect them with each other and a new trend emerges.” Her team consists of about twelve people that help identify trends at least three years in advance of anyone seeing them on the runway. Here is how it works.

Step One: Once a concept is identified, the company decides on the colors that go along with the trend. They also choose the key words that describe it best and the pictures that illustrate their idea clearly. Mood boards are put together, and the trend is now ready to be expanded on.

Step Two: After there is a clear idea as to what the trend is about, the team takes it a bit further by creating pieces of art or prototypes of clothing that explain the trend, so their clients can understand as well as possible.

Step Three: Trend Union works with their clients to help them translate the trends into something that they can use for their own companies. Advice is offered to their clients, like fashion designers, and allows them to use their findings as a resource to create a collection that fits their personal aesthetic while being forward-thinking as well.

Step Four: Finally, the designs based on the trend information are put down the runway. These trends can be fleeting, but some may linger in the fashion world for ten years or more.

Using this formula, Trend Union accurately predicts trends for years in advance. Thanks to fashion forecasting companies, the fashion world is able to continually reinvent itself and keep their customers happy.