Social media may help in predicting fashion trends, says report

Researchers unveiled hidden facts about fashion trend prediction by analysing real time data leading social media sites like Twitter and Instagram.
Social media may help in predicting fashion trends, says report

Predicting emerging fashion trends on vogue and identifying next celeb designers would be easy through data analysis.

Significantly, a research team led by Heng Xu, Associate Professor of Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State University has analysed 6,629 runway reviews of 816 designers from Style.com, formerly the online site for Vogue, a fashion magazine. The reviews covered 30 fashion seasons from 2000 to 2014.

By analysing words and phrases relevant to fashion reviews, researchers were able to identify a network of influence among major designers and could track the inflow of those style trends through the industry, said Xu.

She explained her team extracted keywords and phrases from these reviews that critically described silhouettes, colours, fabrics and other details from each designer's collections and added them to the dataset. The researchers then created an approach to rank the designers and map influences within the group.

To evaluate the accuracy of their analysis, the researchers have compared their network against three industry-recognised lists of influential designers and found that it closely matched these lists.

"There is no one gold standard for the most influential designers, but we believe these are a good place to start a comparison," said Xu.

Further, Yilu Zhou, associate professor of information systems, Fordham University, who worked with Xu explained while professionals in many industries are welcoming data analytics, this type of analysis may meet some scepticism from fashion designers, who view their work as a form of art and more difficult to quantify.

Zhou noted, "But, what we are finding from the data is that we can find footprints - there are clues - that can be traced back to individual designers."

The researchers also predicted that the data analysis technology may help industry professionals predict better fashion trends and identify upcoming designers.

"We all know the big designers now, but could we use this type of technology to find out who will be the next big fashion designer and what the next big design trend is going to be?" said Zhou.

Voicing the same, Xu said that the technology may also help consumers by helping them create wardrobes that are in their budget and are also in style.

Eventually, data scientists could analyse real-time data from social media sites, such as Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to predict fashion styles, added Xu.

Image: CorbiImages

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