Using Trend Services in an Authentic Way

Trends_Pattern ObserverIn January 2014, I was thrilled to begin offering WGSN access to designers in some of our workshops and Textile Design Lab courses. We also recently added WGSN’s Lifestyle & Interiors subscription to the list.

WGSN is a fantastic resource that helps designers discover trends, inspiration and new ideas that they can apply to their work. After using trend services throughout the years, I have developed a few tricks to applying their recommendations without losing my style or losing focus on what the customer wants and needs.

Here are some tips to help you use trend services effectively and advantageously in your design efforts:

1. Start with high level trend reports.

Each season WGSN releases several overarching trend reports that they call “The Vision.” Then, as the season progresses, they release smaller, more specific reports for various markets and applications, such as print + graphics. My experience shows that designers, including myself, create more unique, authentic patterns when they use the overarching reports because they are free to interpret trends in their own way. There are situations where seeing patterns and graphics can actually stunt your creative spirit, limiting your vision for the trend and where it could possibly go.

2. Think like a professional designer.

Ask yourself: how can I interpret these trends for my customer? Your customer may not wear the patterns or the inspiration pieces being shown, but how can you interpret this trend story so that it resonates with your customer? Could you modify the trend through color simplification or changing the artistic technique being used?


3. Don’t attempt to do it all.

You do not need to incorporate each and every trend into your collection or portfolio. The most important aspect to focus on is what is right for you and your customer. If you are not drawn to a trend that WGSN is forecasting then simply acknowledge that it might be perfect for another customer, designer, or market, and then move on with your research.


4. Take your research to the next level.

If a trend or inspiration image resonates with you, do additional research and explore the trend in a new way. Don’t just copy what you see in front of you–investigate! For example, if WGSN’s Nocturne trend resonates with you, then search Google or through the online archives at the V&A museum for similar patterns. As a standard, most designers find more inspiration from historic pieces than runway photos; plus you’ll learn the root or heart of the trend, which will help you gain a valuable perspective.


Narrowing down your trend influence as much as possible will help eliminate “design overwhelm” when the design process begins. Try choosing one very specific trend as your inspiration for your apparel collection. If you have any additional tips to share I would love to read them in the comments below. Enjoy the process!

  1. This is such useful advice. It is definitely important to go with a trend but push it in a direction to create your own stamp and to consider your market and brand at the same time.

  2. this is useful advice, especially for most of us who dont have access to all the trend predictions – it shows we can take the essence of the trend and interpret it in our own way. thank you for a great article.

  3. Hello, I’m starting a small studio, and I would like to know if u guys can tell me where I can find some good trend reports for free, because WGSN is way to expensive for small business. This website and all the the articles is being very helpful to me. Thank you so much.

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