Speaking of big data, the first thing came to my mind would be ‘quantitative research’ based on huge amount. But actually, big data contains quantitative and qualitative data. There are two kinds of big data in the digital marketing field, the behaviour data and the content data. The former one, which is based on the consumers’ behaviours such as CTR (click through rate) and the ordering, is like quantitative research; In the other hand, the latter one, based on the classifications of the articles and the response content of the consumers, is more like qualitative research. Big data, including data collecting and analysing, is a current trend in many industries and is especially used for customer behaviour analysis and forecasting.
Fashion forecasting has been a professional work since 1960 when some organisations in Paris started to publish trend books. Being the most influential fashion forecaster in the world, WGSN provided many forecasts for fashion industries and also the trend templates for designers. According to Mark Worth, the founder of WGSN, he thought that he has created a monster, that is when everyone started to use the templates from WGSN, the creativity would be killed.
In 2013, WGSN launched INstock, the retail analysis service which is based on big data analysis. In today’s digital world, fashion is moving faster and faster, and it comes with a serious question: Would fashion designers be threatened by the big data analysis?
Fortunately, the big data analysis in the fashion industry is not yet matured. The trend forecasting based on big data could only be a rough analysis now, such as vintage high-rise jeans or culottes. People may think that the key to big data analysis would be the amount of the data. However, in order to make the data useful, optimization is more important than the huge amount, that is the analysing process is more important than the collecting phase. Therefore, there is a big progress need to be done if people want to use big data analysis to forecast fashion trends. In the future, AI could probably operate more complex data from different perspectives, such as the perspectives of PESTLE (political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental), and forecast a more accurate and exquisite fashion trend.
Although technology would improve in the future, and the big data analysis may forecast a more accurate fashion trend, people’s creation could always bring new things to the fashion industry and break the result of data calculation. “Which comes first, the creativity or the information?” is always a chicken-and-egg conundrum. Information comes from people’s creativity, but creativity could also be inspired by the information. Thus, in my point of view, although big data would probably bring some templates to the fashion industry in the future, creative designers would always break the templates and find new inspirations.
In conclusion, to answer the previous question, “Would fashion designers be threatened by the big data analysis?” In my perspective, big data could bring limitations but also inspirations. The creative one could always break the wall.