24 January 2019
Each season our forecasting process begins with a Trend Panel comprising a select group of industry experts. We bring together curious thinkers from a number of disciplines, including anthropologists, marketers and designers. These creatives and innovators express their opinions on what they think the future will hold, sharing a diverse mix of research. This insight forms the foundations of our trend forecasts for two years ahead and beyond.
A cold, snowy Thursday in January was quite the contrasting backdrop for our Spring Summer 2021 Baby & Kids panel. One of our expert panelists was Kate Williams, a London based designer and trend hunter. Kate has over a decade of experience working with international retailers, suppliers and start-ups and specialises in youth and childrenswear design.
Could you tell us a bit more about yourself?
My passion for design and lifestyle trends is rooted in my big city upbringing. From a very early age I frequently travelled into London to visit events and design exhibitions. London is brimming with ideas and different kinds of people and cultures. It’s so easy to find inspiration everywhere you go.
I became fascinated by other cities and the distinctive looks, movements and lifestyles associated with them. I developed an obsession with patterns and collective clothing choice and my degree at Leeds College of Art allowed me to explore my passion and creativity further. It taught me all about idea generation for clothing design and lifestyle trends.
What inspires you? Where do you find inspiration?
I travel as often as I can for work. South Korea is my favourite for kids inspiration. There’s so much influence coming from that side of the world. Paris also has such a lovely culture for inspiring kids projects. For me personally, I love Scandinavian design and for a long time, I’ve been buying products which are made from vintage inspired fabrics and denims which have been made the traditional way.
How did you get involved as a Trend Bible Panel Expert?
I contacted Trend Bible when I returned from my role at H&M in Sweden. I had worked with your trend books previously which are beautiful and always very inspiring. As I focused a lot on trends in the past four years of my working life, I was really interested to see how you do things.
I had this idea of a really creative studio full of people talking big ideas which is another reason why I got in touch as I knew it would be a very directional experience. I must say as soon as you walk through the door, there’s a real welcoming family feeling and creative atmosphere.
What did you enjoy most about participating in the Trend Panel?
For me, the most fascinating thing is observing everyone’s ideas and understanding the thinking behind them and how they reached them. It’s a really inspiring and helpful process to have different sets of eyes all looking at the same information and then coming up with trends which originate from similar drivers.
It’s also such a rewarding opportunity to present your ideas and get confirmation on your thinking. For example, I had some thoughts on some new cultural influences but hadn’t quite figured out how they would translate. By sharing these ideas at the panel and collaborating with the team I was able to fill those gaps in order to get the full picture which is really valuable.
Having had over 10 years of experience in the industry, what tip would you give for forward thinking?
It’s essential to look beyond your own design specialism. As a designer and trend forecaster, connecting with other people across different industries is so important. For me, that’s how I design better and create newer, more relevant projects.
Would you like to take part in our next trend panel? For more information on how to get involved contact us at email@example.com.
Overall a great day which involved getting everyone's thoughts, ideas and reservations down on paper. I am looking forward to seeing how this information will be overlaid with the vital trend insights we need to drive new product development and long-term business growth.
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