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In today's fast-paced world, companies continually need to revamp their products to appeal to consumers. Trend analysts lead this change by tapping into new ideas being embraced by society.
"I chose this profession as it was a natural evolution for me, having had a long career in fashion. Fashion is basically a social reflection and the columns I write are mostly social commentary, which is a good entry point for tapping into social trends," said Dion Chang, a trend analyst at Flux Trends.
"It's my responsibility to provide for my clients a better understanding of the state of things - whether it is assisting a brand to reposition itself, or launching new brands or projects into the marketplace. I scope the business landscape and advise on an appropriate strategy based on that information."
Due to the fact that he is well known in the industry, prospective clients usually approach him. His clients include Unilever, MTN, Sanlam, SA Fashion Week, Media 24 (True Love magazine), Vlisco and brands like Johnny Walker Black Label and Smirnoff.
To work in this profession, one needs to have good client skills.
"You need to understand that the corporate environment usually has a lot of red tape, so decisions will take longer. You have to expect that, so you need to think five steps ahead to keep things running smoothly," said Chang. "Basically you need an inquiring mind, and to read everything from fashion to sport to current affairs. You can't channel your interests because everything is interconnected."
Chang says no two days are similar. "Your work depends on the project you are working on and that is the joy of the job. You deal with different projects all the time - sometimes a few at the same time," he said.
There is no specific qualification for this kind of career but there are creation schools that provide courses in trend forecasting such as the London International School of Fashion.