Elisabeth Prat is a trend forecaster at Peclers Paris. She has worked there for 37 years. She is the leader of trend forecasting and has been a key figure in the changes that have taken place in a profession that has seen the Covid-crisis disrupt the order of things.
Forecasting agencies like Nelly Rodi and Peclers Paris use time spirit to predict future trends. The core of reflection is not only catwalk shows, professional fairs, and informal discussions, expositions, and travels. The fashion industry is not immune to the effects of the pandemic on health. Online catwalk presentations, cancellations of expositions in many cases and similar issues for industry fairs have all occurred. How does a style agency forecast trends based upon signs from society? What changes does it make in its work process? We have been provided with answers by Elizabeth Prat, Peclers Paris.
Prat says, “This morning we had a meeting regarding four major ideas for the summer 2023.” Prat continues, “We build these ideas based upon everyone’s contributions.” Each person who works in our agency from any level of the organization has their own ideas. This is a critical moment.” While this democratic approach to working is not new, Peclers Paris continues what is already in place. However, it takes place online. 90% of the work done by Peclers Paris employees is now done at home.
Prat says that the meetings always follow this pattern. She says, “What’s remarkable is that, despite all the obstacles, quite a few people have still come up to me with ideas.” “Personallly, I am very interested in art. I don’t miss any expositions that could influence fashion or culture in general. We have had to rely upon other methods of getting inspiration and ideas because of all the closures. Online experiences are now more prevalent than ever. You can think cinema, better TV shows, and social media, with Instagram being the first choice.”
Prat identifies a new feature at the Parisian forecasting agency’s core: “Right prior to quarantine, we organized several sessions, which were initially physically but then transformed into digital versions in which we analyzed ourselves and our consumption patterns.” “Everyone had to share how they felt about their own consumption habits. This gave us an indication about the needs and wants of each employee.” Although this method of working was used before quarantine, it provides a way to work and express oneself that isn’t limited to times of pandemics. Peclers Paris forecasting professionals and employees will now use introspective methods. “We used to talk about our customers and the things that we had said to them when we met. Prat says that right now, however, we are talking about ourselves.”
Extreme situations can trigger extraordinary reactions in people
Content is developed and absorbed according to the moment. The head of fashion trends explained that “what’s fascinating about our current situation is how it triggers in people.” When we identify a theme, our current thinking is to ask ourselves why. We had a theme we called “the praise of the Shadow”. It was a strange and frightening situation. The streets are empty. It will be more mysterious and frightening if we do creative things with it.
Elisabeth says that the trendbook on knitwear has become more comprehensive, as there are more things to be said. Li Edelkoort is a trend forecaster who states that knitwear can play a crucial role in times of crisis. Prat says, “It’s an assurance, a cocoon. It’s very soft. It warms you up.”
Knitwear is a major trend. Elisabeth also talks about fashion as a tool and new urban wardrobes. She also discusses the notion of being dressed up. She said, “At the agency we wondered what it was like to wear tees and hoodies all-day and then put on a piece of clothing with some ‘flair’. This was an idea of Demna Gvasalia, who tried it out himself. He stopped dressing up and didn’t wear anything other than shorts or jogging suits. His morale plummeted. It had an effect on him when he dressed up once more.”
Peclers Paris, a trend agency, appears to have remained positive despite the difficulties posed by the health regulations. Peclers, like all the apparel industry, has adapt. However, this does not mean that things cannot change. When it comes to the operation of a trend agency, the physical aspect is crucial. Elisabeth mentions that the work with colors requires a tangible experience. She says, “Last week there were fabric fairs, Fabric Show. It was great to be able touch the fabrics again. The visual aspect of the profession can be accessed by sitting in front of a monitor, but it is important to also engage with the tactile aspects of the profession. It was an amazing experience to see fabrics again.”