fashion trend forecasting and fashion trend prediction. Understanding mood boards for clothing factories fashion brands and clothing lines
fashion trend prediction. Fashion trend forecast. Mood boards. Colour boards. Era specific fashion trends. How to read mood boards for fashion

When looking at mood boards for fashion trend prediction and trying to understand them, the first thing to know is that the themes can be based on the following things:

  • ERA

These things are quite broad, so let’s talk about the Era specific ones first and what that actually means

An era is a period of time. You know that already. But depending on where you are in the world, the 40’s, 60’s or 90’s, will mean something different to you. Each country had different clothes. Different rates of technology development. Different social movements. Different wars and so on…… Each country didn’t, and still doesn’t, in some places, experience the same things during each era.

Now, due to the internet, things are speeding up and as people chat across the world to others, people can, in fact, experience world events together regardless of location. However, most mood boards and fashion trends focus on past era’s where people’s experience were very different and yet, when we are talking about understanding the images on mood boards for fashion, similar images seem to be recognized by designers across the world, even if it didn’t represent that era, in that location.

So why is it that when we talk about an era for fashion or trend forecasting, that everyone seems to know what you are talking about?

Well that’s because when we try to understand a theme, in many cases, we are talking about two things.

  1. Stereotypes
  2. Western Influence

Let’s take the era of the 1970’s as an example. In general, it shaped our world considerably. In 1979 the first female Prime Minister was elected in the UK. There was a global recession due to the oil crisis across the decade, yet Japan seemed to escape the downturn. The Middle East declared war on Israel and there was an uprising in America demanding peace and the conclusion of the Vietnam War. Women were in the first throws of finding independence is some liberal countries and the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.

All in all there was a lot going on in the world and this is just a few events of the decade. If you or a member of your family remember the 70’s, that experience will be very specific, not only to the country they were in, but also the city too.

If you asked a few stylists or designers, regardless of where they are in the world or how old they are, what products, interiors or fashion they think of when you say the 70’s, I assume they would come back with a few of the same things. It was the birth of the Green Revolution. Yellow, orange and brown were a definite colour theme. Wallpaper, furniture and fashion loved large scale prints; with a tessellating all over repeat. Circles and curved lines were key and furniture loved both natural wood and brightly coloured plastic. Flares were worn by both men and women and Farrah Fawcett was the favourite pin up girl thanks to a little TV show in America called Charlie’s Angels in 1976.

Was that all happening in your country? Your city?


Probably not. but in terms of trend, the era specified really doesn’t refer to an era where you are in the world.  It usually refers to a period in America and sometimes England’s history. America hasn’t been around long, compared to the rest of the world and during the 19th and some of the 20th century, the ideas of fashion, products and interiors came to them from Europe. So it makes sense that if these large countries were experiencing world events and technology together [ which always influences fashion trends], then the many outweigh the few, so to speak.

The fact is that your history and indeed the social movements of interiors, fashion and products might also be the same, but unless there is a specific culture reference added on to the title, or pictures used in the trend or mood board, then always assume that the era is that of America.


You should expect that if the overall theme is based on a stereotype than the images used  in the mood board will be also. They will show the common ideas of the time. Nothing authentic, but what people typically think of when asked about that era.

It might also help, if you are trying to research or figure out a mood board, to add the terms “America” or “western”

Now go back to the 40’s glamour mood board above. . If you didn’t think of the Hollywood element, then you may have to do a little bit of work. I’m going to assume, maybe too much, but I am going to assume you are probably from a culture that has its own rich history, or hasn’t really had a lot of contact with American or English history. Maybe you are just so far away that these countries haven’t influenced your culture at all. Somewhere like Asia maybe? Well as specific and alien as it is, you might need to research some of these era’s when you are doing your next project or work assignment. For whatever reason, maybe economic sway, maybe news coverage, I honestly don’t know why, America is the one to reference and understand when it comes to era trends.

Now I’m not saying that your history isn’t important. No not at all. Trends are really a starting point and these are just buzzwords, created and used to give a title to a theme like any other and you will have to adapt trends to your own location and the location of your customers or clients. Your culture might have a completely different aesthetic to the trend buzzwords, but if someone says 40’s glamour or the swinging 60’s, now you’ll know what the reference is all about.

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