Fashion trend forecasting is an essential part of the global fashion system. This study is an investigation into the gender balance in the fashion trend forecasting industry. The part provides an historical overview of the fashion trend forecasting industry and discusses the methodologies used by fashion trend forecasters. Moreover, it establishes that the fashion trend forecasting industry is female-dominated. The second part focuses on several technological advancements in the last four decades that influenced fashion trend forecasting. The latest development in the field is the gradual adoption of Artificial Intelligence systems, as the existence of large streams of fashion-related data impact the already labour-intensive and time-consuming practice of fashion trend forecasting. The novel data-led trend forecasting agencies are often led by anonymous parent companies, big data streams and tech competencies. AI is applicable in the industry mainly to observe emerging trends faster, to reduce overproduction and to meet consumer needs more precisely. On the other hand, the results also indicated perceptions of AI as unfitted for some qualities of fashion, such as garment tactility, intricate design details and emotional values. Therefore, a balance between minds and machines needs to be found. Fashion and technology have been historically gendered, as they are respectively seen as feminine and masculine industries. Combining these worlds in fashion trend forecasting can shine a light on how gender continues to dominate life at work. This study is grounded within a qualitative research paradigm. A comprehensive analysis of existing literature was conducted to provide a theoretical grounding to the study. This was followed by 13 semi-structured interviews to obtain primary data from fashion trend forecasting industry professionals. The research findings narrate the participants' experience in the field of fashion trend forecasting when it comes to doing research, technological advancements and the gender balance in their trend agencies. The findings of the study indicate that the fashion trend forecasting industry, under the influence of technological advancements, remains female-dominated. The various teams within trend agencies show a traditional division of labour along gender lines. Enhancing communication and collaboration between teams is key. Achieving a more gender-balanced workforce in trend agencies can lead to positive outcomes such as boosting financial performance and bringing more innovative ideas to the table. The findings and recommendations of this study will hopefully provide meaningful guidance in this regard, as well as contribute constructively to the current body of literature on fashion trend forecasting in the unexplored area of gender balance.

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Professor Ben Wubs
Global Markets, Local Creativities (GLOCAL)
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Lisa van Barneveld. (2021, June 28). The fusion of technology and creativity: A qualitative study on the gender balance in the fashion trend forecasting industry. Global Markets, Local Creativities (GLOCAL). Retrieved from