The Measure of All Things: Finding Out That Something Doesn't Work Is the First Step Toward Learning What Does Work

Duncan Watts

Yahoo! Research

Of all the prognosticators, forecasters, and fortune-tellers, few are, at once, more confident (and yet, less accountable) than those in the business of predicting fashion trends. Every year, the various industries in the business of designing, producing, selling, and commenting on shoes, clothing, and apparel are awash in predictions for what could be, might be, should be, and surely will be the next big thing.

That these predictions are almost never checked for accuracy—that so many trends arrive unforeseen—and that the explanations given for them are only possible in hindsight seem to have little effect on the breezy air of self-assurance that the arbiters of fashion so often exude. So it is encouraging that at least one successful fashion company pays no attention to any of it.