From Fashion Forecasting to Coolhunting: Previsional Models in Fashion and in Cultural Production

Marco Luca Pedroni

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The transition from haute couture to prêt-à-porter in the 60’s has created in the fashion industry a great revolution both on the sides of production and consumption. One of the most relevant aspects in this process is the emergent demand of predicting future trends, in order to acquire a higher level of competitiveness compared to rivals. It is the birth of a structured activity known as fashion forecasting, managed by bureaux de style and embodied in trendbooks. Nowadays, this activity is often referred to as coolhunting, a striking term that implies an idea of research as intuitive ‘hunt’ of incipient signals in fashion and in consumers’ lifestyles. The chapter discusses coolhunting, a developing professional activity, as an emblematic place of symbolic mechanisms that are crucial in order to explain not only the fashion system but also many cultural processes of production and consumption of material goods rich in immaterial contents. The aim suggests that coolhunting is historically rooted in fashion forecasting, but it is also characterised by a relevant set of novelties, above all the shifting of research from a monolithic interest in fashion fads to socio-cultural trends that involve the whole symbolic imagination of the customer. A second important point is the extension of the fashion forecasting model to many branches of cultural production, more and more involved in a trend-oriented logic. Coolhunters emerge also as ‘messengers of distinction,’ the matching point between the consumers’ need of distinction and the producers’ attempt of creating distinctive goods.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFashion-Wise
EditorsMaria Vaccarella, Jacque Lynn Foltyn
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Coolhunting
  • Cultural Production
  • Fashion professions


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