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Fashion students study the weather

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

6 Dec 2016


One of the biggest challenges facing fashion is unpredictable weather, according to a new course from The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

To keep its students from being caught off-guard with inconsistent weather with mild winters, wet summers and the blink-and-you-miss-them autumns, the FIT has launched a ‘Predictive Analytics for Planning and Forecasting: Case Studies with Weatherisation’ course aimed at helping designers forecast what the weather will be like when their collections hit stores.

The weather plays a huge part in fashion retailing, if designers and retailers get it wrong, like when we have a warm September yet most brands have moved onto selling winter attire, the result can mean a loss of revenue, as well as items sitting in shops until they end up being heavily discounted.

To combat this some designers and brands have resorted to creating “seasonless” collections as well as hiring climatologists to help them predict what the seasons might have in store.

“Because of the extreme weather changes, there’s no real separation between spring, fall, winter and summer,” designer Jason Wu told the Wall Street Journal.

In an attempt to combat this, FIT states that this course is geared towards students with an interest in retail and merchandising careers, and forms part of its broad overhaul of its curriculum to include more business issues, with impact of climate change being one of them.

As well as being asked to solve questions like “when should a LA store stock swimsuits?”, the students also need to get technical, with graphs, spreadsheets and equations featuring heavily in the course to predict climate and retail trends.

The 15-week course is divided into statistics, taught by maths professor Calvin Williamson, and merchandising and marketing, taught by Gary Wolf, who is assistant professor of fashion business management.

Image: The Fashion Institute of Technology Facebook

the fashion institute of technology in new york