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Forecasting the US fashion industry with industry professionals ‐ part 1: Materials and design

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Purpose ‐ The paper aims to investigate the opinions of professionals working in various levels of the fashion industry on the future (i.e. the next ten to 20 years) of the industry. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This is a two-part study, with this part focusing on the future materials of fashion and on fashion design. The second part focuses on the future of fashion production and retailing. Data in the form of essays were collected from 62 professionals. The constant comparative method and open coding were used in analysis of the data. Findings ‐ Technological advancements were predicted as a major force for changes. Participants predicted the continued development of specialized fibers or fabrics for specific functions. Participants also predicted that future apparel styles would emphasize individuality, comfort, casualness, unisex, and ethnicity. Design and product development processes would be heavily dependent on digital technology; as a result, the role of technical design would grow in importance. Companies that can embrace technology without eliminating the art elements of the business ‐ functional with an aesthetic touch ‐ would remain in an advantageous position to sustain business profitability. Collaboration was also identified as an emerging trend. Practical implications ‐ The findings can help academics in developing research ideas and making curricular decisions. Originality/value ‐ Limited research exists addressing the views of a wide variety of professionals on the future of the fashion industry. The examination of professionals' opinions may provide insights into the future that are useful for making decisions on career directions, selecting educational experiences, and planning strategies.
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Keywords: Design; Fabric production processes; Fashion industry; Forecasting; United States of America

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-05-08

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