Monday, May 17

So you want to be a Trend Forecaster?


In the past year, I've become very interested in trend forecasting! I wanted to find out more about this career path and who better to speak to than a Trend Executive at one of South Africa's biggest fashion retailers? Please meet Joanne Coelho, Trend Exec for Mr Price, blogger and co-creator of the Lisa & Jo stationery line.


Hi Joanne, you’re a Trend Executive for one of South Africa’s biggest retailers. That sounds like a dream job! What led you towards trending? Is it something you studied or was it a natural evolution from other fashion related work?
It is my dream job & being where I am today was completely a natural evolution, it wasn’t planned at all. I studied fashion design & my 1st job was in retail, at Mr Price, back in the days when they were a real factory shop. I left after a couple of years to go into manufacturing, as to be a successful buyer, I really believe you need to have manufacturing experience behind you, did that for a couple of years & then returned to Mr Price as a buyer. The business was growing & evolving from a fashion perspective & I was lucky enough to be involved in the inception & creation of our design & trend department.

That's fantastic! Please can you walk us through a typical day?
Reading, researching & gathering of information takes up most of my time as well as meetings with our design, retail & marketing teams teams.

It sounds like trend forecasters get to do a lot of traveling. Lucky, lucky sods! Which cities do you visit to check out what’s happening abroad?
It sounds a whole lot more glamorous than it really is, it is an important part of enabling us to call things correctly, you need to be switched on at all times to ensure that you come back with the right merchandise for your market, or those trips won’t be happening any more! We travel to all the major fashion capitals internationally as well as local hot spots in South Africa.

I imagine you filling up empty suitcases along your travels! Do you get to shop up a storm?
The purpose of our trips is to bring back samples for our company, so space is an issue, I generally go with as little as I can so I can buy personally – I love to shop & seeing all the gorgeous things overseas is a problem! I always make sure to buy something special for our home, as I have learnt over the years that shoes & clothing aren’t a keeper for me, but special things for home have lasted & hold so many more memories.

Yes, you always post such special pieces on your blog. Which is your favourite city for fashion and why?

Without a doubt London. I love their creativity & innovation.

Agreed, the Brits are a seriously stylish bunch. What are your thoughts on South African style? How trend-driven are South Africans compared to other countries?

I think we have an amazing sense of style, I love the diversity of cultures & the way things are being mixed up at the moment is really exciting. There is a strong awareness of what is happening globally, we no longer lag behind the rest of the world.

How long does it take for elements of big-city runway looks to hit South Africa?

About 6 months if not sooner!

Wow, that's fast. What is the trick to incorporating trends into one’s personal style?

I think you need to have a strong sense of who you are & what suits you, then add a hint of a trend into the mix & all should be good.

How does one become a trend forecaster? Are there any study courses you could recommend?
There are no specific courses that I know of in SA & to be honest I would be sceptical of any such course! I think a degree / diploma in clothing design is a great starting point for a fashion trend forecaster, we also look at people that have studied graphic design or journalism – but there are no hard & fast rules, a person could have studied nothing but have “it”.

I see. Well, aside from a love for fashion, what other traits should a trend forecaster have?

A curious nature, enquiring mind, analytical, organised, great communication and people skills.

What do you love most about your job?

The research & creative freedom.

Please tell us who are your favourite local and international designers!

Shew that’s a hard one...I am no label girl! I have a long list of local designers I admire – a few of them are – David West, Sanche Frolich, Lunar, Amanda Laird Cherry, Leigh Schubert, the Holmes Brothers, Tiaan Nagal, Gideon, Anisa Mpungwe – seriously I could go on & on here. Internationally, to name a few, Paul Smith, Prada / Miu Miu, Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, Chloe, Rodarte, Isabel Marant – stopping myself now! 

Brilliant stuff, thanks Joanne!


Joanne is also the co-creator of the beautiful Lisa & Jo stationery line which you can purchase at I Heart Market in Durbs. Pop over to her charming blog to find out more! You can also keep up to date with the Mr Price team here. All pictures of the Mr Price office are courtesy of Samantha Maber. If you'd like to know more about a specific facet of the South African fashion industry, please let me know and we can do some investigating together!


Miss Molly said...

really cool to know a bit more about Jo! lovely post!

Caro said...

That's my talented and all-round-incredible sister! Great interview. I love your blog by the way. xx

Lauren said...

Thanks Molly:) Ah Caro, thank you so much! Are you the sister that is getting married? If so, I love the invite! x

dinkum design said...

such a lovely interview. Now I want a job like that!

PinkBow said...

that sounds liek such an amzing job...oh i would love to work in fashion!

Everyday Life of an Up and Coming Fashionista said...


I read your article. Is there any way I could email Joanne Coelho? I would love to pick her brain about transitioning into a trend forecaster position?

Everyday Life of an Up and Coming Fashionista said...


I read your article. Is there any way I could email Joanne Coelho? I would love to pick her brain about transitioning into a trend forecaster position?