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Forecasting Color
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28 Responses

  1. rj

    Ah yes… I remember having to use these forecasts when I worked in the craft industry. We would have to try to get the new colors way in advance, so our knitters and crafters could get the items done ASAP (usually 6 mos in advance) for the magazines. And, of course, there was always a lot of jockeying with the manufacturers, because they wanted to offload last year’s stuff as the free sample yarn or sample beads for their projects. Considering that each project was subsidized by a manufacturer to include specific product, then advertised in the online magazine, it was somewhat maddening.

  2. Cara

    I am all about RED these days! In fact, my baby’s coming home outfit will be RED head to toe.

  3. tina

    As always you educate and inspire!

    I always turn my nose up (in a very fetching little wrinkle) when a new color shows up somewhere. I futz over it and then when it has in fact grown on me and I love it, that bad boy is headed for the passe parlor!

    So it goes!

    I’m ALL about the red!

  4. Heather

    It is really sick how corporate America will package ANYTHING to make a buck off it, the green niche marketing is a perfect example. Thanks for talking about this and warning people of the difference between perceived ‘greenness’ and sustainability!

  5. Kirsten

    When I worked in the textile industry we always used color forcasters. It was so inspiring to go to their presentations each season and get their little packets of color swatches – usually yarns. The first thing we would do when putting a line together would be to set the color palette. I remember some late nights getting those colors just right.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the bigger yarn companies didn’t use them. Certainly those that produce yarn for the apparel industry do.

  6. AmyDe

    WOW – there is so much work involved in all of it! I just buy what looks good on me (usually red) and put it with jeans and go on. Who knew all the hullabaloo?

  7. orata

    Wow, very interesting–thanks for posting these links. The boyfriend and I have had quite a few discussions about “looking green” vs. “being green”–it being ultimately more damaging to buy up brand-new organic hemp yoga pants, even ones manufactured in a legitimately “green” and socially conscious way, than to get a pair of hideous non-organic cotton sweatpants at the Salvation Army, but who pays attention to that when it’s trendy to look green? Not that there aren’t upsides to the green movement becoming fashionable, of course, but it’s a little depressing.

  8. Jennifer

    Ha! Looking green. Gotta love marketers. What will they think of next. Sigh. Thanks for such a fascinating and informational and educational post. I learned so much. Now, can you do something about French Blue coming back in style for me? It’s one of my favorite colors for shirts. I’d be eternally grateful. : )

  9. Lola LB

    It’s really maddening to be manipulated in such a manner like this. Especially when one season most clothes you find are in colors that look awful on you.

  10. mel

    Very interesting & educational! I’m more and more glad that I don’t have t.v.! Even that doesn’t make me immune. The whole “looking green” trend and “green” being in vogue is great and has it’s place and sometimes very good intentions, but it is a little disturbing – Any company can (and many do!) use this type of terminology to promote their products and it’s only if you start to dig a little deeper that you can make an educated decision.

    I do love color – and I credit my knitting for opening my eyes & creating a real enjoyment of it! Textile crafts are so sensory in nature and all the different colors are an inherent part :) Thanks – pondering all this was a great start to my day!

  11. Mandy

    Wow! Thanks for this post, Lolly. I’m very intrigued by what you’ve shared here!

  12. Kristin

    That’s really interesting. My flatmates and I were talking about ‘looking green’ vs. ‘being green’ and ‘healthy-looking food’ vs. ‘healthy food’ the other day. I shall point them towards your post here.

    Colours are most inspirational indeed.

  13. a reader

    Hi Lolly,

    I read your blog today about the color services. I’ve been in the fashion industry for most of my adult life. One of my favorite parts of the business has always been working with color.

    The color services ultimately serve the consumer in an important way. The clothing companies use them and that is the reason that you are able to buy a brown tweed skirt from one company, a matching brown sweater from another company, and a pair of brown boots in the same shade from a third label.

    The home furnishings companies use them so you are able to buy a print fabric sofa from one mfg, a solid throw rug to match from another mfg, and curtains from yet a third company.

    Without the color forecasters the stores would be a free-for-all instead of clandestinely coordinated. The shopper would be limited in choices.

    You just have to keep in mind this advice from my mother: Buy the whole outfit this season because next year they will all still offer brown but they will all change the shade.

  14. Mome-rath

    This is a great post, and so timely! My current artist book project has an element dealing with color and its connotations for gender and consumerism. It centers around the idea of the swatch book, and the “choices” that represents—not to mention the fact that those “choices” are somewhat of an illusion, since there is always a limited palette available, one that is pre-selected by a small group of “experts.

    So thank you for the resources—I think they’re going to help immensely in my work!

  15. tiennie

    This is why I love your blog – always interesting and informative!

  16. sherri

    Unlike “A Reader” above, I don’t see this picking of palettes as a benefit to me. It only works if you happen to like what they happen to choose and if you don’t happen to enjoy mixing colors in unusual ways. In clothing, it’s often my experience that the garment industry uses shades of colors that I like that are unflattering to me. Why not a broader range of colors? Of course, you don’t make as much money that way if you’re the manufacturer. But perhaps smaller companies would do well to go their own way colorwise. I’d be happy to see some that did!

    I painted my bedroom last fall in “sea-shades and sky-shades”. There are certain colors I want to use as accents in my room, particularly for a bedspread, but go check out the stores. All the colors for bedrooms are grayed or pastel. Looking for a clear, pure hue? Forget it unless it’s a primary color. I’ve opted for white and am wondering if the “fashion” will ever change on high.

    Thanks for such an interesting, informative post, and I appreciate the comments too.

  17. Jenna

    You always find such interesting things to post about. It sounds like, while the forecasters have some trends to draw from, their decisions are mostly arbitrary. Very interesting…

    You comment on the paragraph about being green is very true. I bet many of the manufacturers are using the same pesticide-ridden cottons and chemical-based dyes to produce this “natural” look.

  18. Erin

    You hit the nail right on the head. There’s a huge difference between looking “green” and being “green.”

  19. Taueret

    Great post, I learned a lot, thanks.

  20. Tricia

    Yes, the products may “look green,” but will they be? Will they be washed gently with biodegradable soap, or will they be bleached and covered with chemicals? I guess, until the fashion industry is held accountible, we won’t know! I would like to know, though. Thanks for a look inside the industry!

  21. Elysbeth

    I’m ready for a little red, winter has been very grey and brown.

  22. casey

    Looking natural and earth friendly without really being so? Ugh, I hate that.

    I’m excited about this new round of project spectrum!

  23. Hilary

    This is really fascinating — thanks for sharing!

  24. iHanna

    Imagine having that job? Wouldn’t we just decide PINK rules? hehe

  25. Lolly Knitting Around » Rediscovery

    [...] you to those that read my last post and took the time to leave your informational comments and thoughts on color forecasting and [...]

  26. jane

    The whole ‘looks sustainable’ but doesn’t necessarily mean it IS sustainable reminds me of when they first introduced recycled paper. Remember when recycled paper actually LOOKED recycled?

    When it goes through the recycling process, it really comes out looking like regular paper (unless it’s been printed on and then it has little black dots like fancy vanilla ice cream). To make it look recycled, the paper makers actually add all those little fibrey bits and unbleached what have you to give it that appearance. And adding that ‘homestyle extra pulp’ adds to the cost of the paper.

    Silly isn’t it?

  27. Melissa

    Ah yes, color trend services, a fun part of my job! I loved the little history lesson about the milliners. I actually did not know that is how the American color services started.

    It’s also so true about “looking green” but not certainly being green. Our company actually looked into getting on the green bandwagan and trying to make a buck (I was more interested in making a difference). Anyhow, after doing a bit of research we decided to ditch the idea. One because it would be hard to us to market the goods at the price our customers want to pay. Two because the facilities (dyers, knitters, spinners) to make a truly green garment are very far and few between.

    Unfortunately, if there is not a profit to be had, most companies will not spend all that money to either build new facilities or remodel their current ones – good for the environment or not. I just hope that this “trend” continues long enough for these factories to see that they can make a return on green wares or the government steps in and puts limits on the amount of damage they can do to the environment. Textiles can be so bad, so many chemicals!

  28. Lisa

    This is such a fascinating topic – now I’m eager to read more about it color forecasting and. It’ll be interesting to look back at this time next year and see how the “forecasts” actually panned out.

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