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Mastering the Art of Trend Prediction with SCAD Alumni

In the infamous top floor room of Eckburg hall, alumni Hannah Polskin, Megan Urie, and Ben Chmura brought their insider advice to getting your foot in the door and succeeding in the ever-changing world of fashion.

Their beginnings were all varying, Chmura was originally a sequential major but found his passion in the idea of building a character rather than a layout. Urie always knew she wanted to do something creative but didn’t know where her place was, and Polskin knew she wanted to be involved with fashion and creating that interactive form that “lives on the body”.

With the knowledge they learned at SCAD, they headed into the world unsure of what lied ahead. “It’s terrifying, to be honest” jokes Chmura, “but at the same time it’s a great opportunity for you to come in and say hey there’s a problem but I have a solution.” The experiences and trials build your character and perhaps open up a passion for something you didn’t even expect.  That’s the fun part of the early years, you’re allowed to experiment with different companies and paths you least expected to take.

Polskin talks about the role technology plays in trend forecasting.

There’s a shift now that as a designer you should already have the skills to see current and forthcoming trends. Yes, forecaster positions still exist but the pool is getting smaller and smaller every day. The new frame of mind is trying to understand why the consumer is buying what they’re buying and for what purpose. When working for a brand, you’re going to have to work around “having something conceptual and bringing it down to reality,” mentions Urie. Understanding the client is the next step to figuring out where the next trend is leaning towards.

Technology is incorporated into almost every part of our lives and the line between it helping us and taking over is blurring. Computers now can generate upcoming trends but something is missing: “the human touch,” says Polskin. Her method of using that keen eye is that if “you bump into something three times a week, it’s a hit.” Technology can be a partner in the design process and guide your project to the next level but nothing is better than the creative spirit and interactions humans can have. From there, people can discuss events and causes that they’re electrified about, for example, the idea of sustainability, being more cautious about the number of chemicals used on garments, and removing that fast fashion ideology. Companies like Levi are already taking the steps towards that with their campaign of using less water for their denim dying process and it’s a big hit with consumers. A computer can easily miss those details.

So what trends are Chmura, Urie, and Polskin looking at right now? “I’m obsessed with the future of driverless cars,” Polskin confesses. Looking outside fashion and just exploring nontraditional ideas gives that advance companies are looking for. Urie and Chmura look towards Instagram and the easy tool of the discovery tab and finding themselves down the rabbit hole of new ideas and artists they would never have picked out. At the end of the day, it’s about finding your passion and creating that human connection that will speak ten times more about your character. Safe ideas are just that, safe. Having wild ambitions and ideas give the upper hand that will help you predict the next big trend.

Written by Brittany Perrone
Photos by Lucy Hewitt