The New Fashion Consultant in Town

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Last week, Google released its inaugural 2015 Spring Fashion report, a fashion forecasting guide that uses data pulled from search. Major brands like Calvin Klein have identified Google’s fashion planning as a unique opportunity gather consumer insights on what’s hot and what’s not for the upcoming season. In its blog post, Google explained that, “by categorizing past apparel-related queries based on similar search-demand patterns,” they are able to help brands pinpoint the styles and products that resonate with the consumer population.

Judging by Google’s findings, skinny jeans, peplum and string bikinis are most definitely on the outs. Styles that have entered onto the scene include tulle skirts and jogger pants, both considered to have shown “sustained growth.” The report distinguishes between different trending categories – some with extended growth, others with pops of consumer interest, and some more seasonally-based.

It’s an intriguing concept for fashion brands, one that allows them to take a more consumer-centric approach to trend forecasting. Traditionally, brands in the fashion world would have set the standard for what styles are considered to be in for that particular season. Using the “fast fashion” tactic, they’ve been able to implement styles as defined by the runway. But now, Google is providing a venue for consumers to begin defining those trends based on their search behavior.

Google gives brands access to a limitless database of trends and purchase behavior that they simply can’t access anywhere else. There is one ambiguity, however – Google can only measure search interest and volume, versus actual intent to purchase. For example, if there was a high volume of search queries for ‘emoji shirt’, it’s not a guaranteed indicator that the consumers behind the search are actually looking to purchase one. It will be certainly be interesting to see how additional fashion brands will utilize the data, and what the response will be from their customers.

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