Why EDITD’s Social Fashion Trend Monitoring Is the Next Big Thing

EDITD tracks trends from inspiration to actual sales

EDITD, a London based startup, has raised $1.6 million from the same VC firm that invested in fashion success stories like Net-a-Porter and ASOS to do something substantially different in fashion trend monitoring. {TechCrunch Europe}

Fashion trend forecasting is a big business; the Telegraph estimates that it’s $36 billion big, in fact. For the last few years though, it’s been a market dominated by two major players. A quick search will turn up conversations from people who’ve worked with both debating which has the easier interface or better image archive, but it’s typically the details that differentiate the sites.

WGSN made waves by moving trend forecasting from books to online reports and briefings: an early version of fashion in “the cloud,” if you will. That shift made the two brothers who founded the company millionaires when they sold the company for £140 million in 2005 – roughly $245 million at historical exchange rates. If you’re wondering what makes the company, who many outside of the  fashion and retail industry have never heard of, worth so much, it’s probably the fact that upwards of 30,000 business pay $30,000 per year for access to WGSN’s photos, reports and forecasts. Stylesight has emerged as a lower priced alternative, but essentially offers very similar services.

Which is obviously serving a market need, but aside from changes to the interface to accommodate growing volumes of information, not much has changed since WGSN first launched in 1997 even though the rest of the industry has.

“Digital subscription services are the holy grail both in business to business and consumer publishing, but why does the fashion industry, which is built on its own creativity, pay considerable annual sums for ‘forecasting’, which is not data-driven or scientifically proven?” the author of the Telegraph article asks.

Enter EDITD. That’s exactly what the startup is attempting to do: back up the intuition with data. Specifically, they’re backing it up with social media data, which has the potential to provide a much larger sample size than even WGSN’s 400-strong staff can provide.

EDITD shows how products move at an individual level through pricing and aggregated size availability data

Having gotten a walkthrough of the site, the data and the way it’s presented is frankly amazing. While it’s more about historical data, it offers it at such a granular, precise level that it fills a gap that’s just not possible with even the most expansive photo archive or trade show coverage.

“But how does trend forecasting actually work and how can it provide value to the companies subscribing?

Isham Sardouk, senior vice president of Trend Forecasting at Stylesight, has experienced life as both a client, when he was designing at Victoria Secrets, and now as a forecaster-in-chief.

“We work 18 months ahead across several markets such as men, women, children and interiors, and our job is to provide food for thought,” he says. “There is a 16 to 18 month lead time with retailers and so the majority of our forecasts are not for the fast track fashion decisions but for the longer term decisions, although we do provide short term forecasts too.” {the Telegraph}

It may not be scientifically proven yet, but EDITD offers the kind of easy to understand, visually engaging data-driven forecasting that has been either completely missing, or too technical to be useful to the people who need it. Ultimately the proof of any trend forecast is in the purchase (consumer purchase, that is).

If you’re a retailer trying to decide if you should take a bet on stripes, EDITD can tell you exactly how fast striped garments sold out, which sizes sold fastest and at what price. It’s based on publicly available information, so there is the limitation of not knowing how many pieces were available in the first place, but even with limitations that’s information above and beyond anything else we’ve seen. Curious to know how people really feel about a particular shade of green that was all over the runways? Get an early idea of positive or negative sentiment as measured through tweets and Facebook likes, and see how that changes over time. Fashion at every level moves much more quickly than it did in the past – there are no longer 2 collections (Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter) but 4 (including pre-fall and resort, where a growing portion of sales happen) when it comes to designer clothing, and fast fashion has become a completely new category.

Then consider that the two industry leaders can offer predictions of what will happen in a year an a half, but nothing around what’s happening right now, in real time, with real data and we’d say EDITD is the company to look to as the next big fashion trend behind the fashion trends.

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