The line between technology and fashion is beginning to blur as we see the rise of tech-focused fashion brands. Smart innovations are making their way into our clothes and our shopping habits.
While the fashion elite continues to focus on next season’s colours and looks, another group of trend makers are creating technologies that could change the future of fashion and ultimately change the way we shop for the things we wear. From those offering product life cycle management solutions to those involved in apparel e-commerce search and fitting room technologies, tech companies are helping fashion and apparel brands give us, the consumer, optimal shopping experiences.
Why is innovation in the fashion industry important?
Innovation is important not only to continually improve the consumer experience but also to ensure that the fashion industry is moving forward. At the moment, fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, after oil, and this isn’t sustainable in the slightest.
A lot of fashion technologies help to improve the sustainability of clothing items or the manufacturing process, so in this way, innovation and sustainability are closely linked. If fashion brands aim to be more innovative and sustainable, they can hope to draw in more customers and profit while lessening their social and environmental impact on the planet.
Fashion and Tech post Lockdown
The fashion industry certainly took a hit during the lockdown. A report by the Business of Fashion website and McKinsey & Company noted that 2020 was “the worst year on record for the fashion industry.” The tide may be turning, however, as the market is predicted to recover and hit $672.71 billion by 2023.
It seems that fashion technology is leading the way with exciting innovations that have been accelerated by the Covid-19 crisis.
Virtual Fit and Inclusivity-Focused Tech:
At a high level, virtual fit technology helps e-commerce shoppers make more informed decisions. This technology can provide data-driven style, size and fit recommendations for shoppers, as well as opportunities to “try on” outfits by uploading a photo of themselves. This is a great alternative for shoppers who aren’t ready to be back in the store. Its inclusivity-focused technologies allow shoppers to see more variety in the body size and skin colour of clothing models to more accurately reflect what shoppers themselves look like.
One of the latest trends worth exploring is zero-waste design. Fashion designers and technologists have invented a new technique called direct panel on the loom (DPOL), which combines weaving, fabric-cutting and patterning into one process. DPOL basically consists of a loom that is connected to a computer and produces made-to-fit garment sections. Instead of first making, and then cutting the fabric, the different pieces of a jacket, for example, are woven to exactly the right shape and size. This process generates no fabric waste since no fabric is cut in the process, and it conserves 70–80 per cent of water compared to standard methods.
Safety is important as danger can lurk in plain sight. For safety, there’s a new line of GPS-enabled jewellery that provides a stylish yet practical way to ensure that help is only a button push away. Much more attractive than similar smart devices, it allows you to build your own inner circle of contacts via an app. Simply press a button on your jewellery, and the piece will send out a distress signal and your location to your emergency contacts.
Power on the go:
Some U.S. fashion labels are fusing fashion and technology with the introduction of the Bag with Light, a handbag with an illuminated interior and an integrated USB port to charge your mobile phone. Tagged as an “epitome of functional glamour, combining modern technology innovation with the enduring artistry of the brand’s signature silhouette, many high-end fashion brands have worked to integrate technology into their apparel and accessories to stay relevant in an ever-evolving and mobile climate.
This has also been seen as the next complementary technology to allow fashion to work its best. Social networking technology allows business owners and designers to promote their products all over the world with just one click. In recent years, the revolution of fashion along with these enabling technologies has made clothing relatively cheaper.
From light-weight and wrinkle-free fabrics to non-woven textiles incorporated with sensors, fashion has no limits when it comes to the infusion of technology. Nanotechnology has helped revolutionise the concept of smart textiles. When combined, fashion and technology have jointly delivered an incredible range of performance benefits. This unique combination will continue to meet consumer expectations.
These three pillars—technology, fashion and consumers—would interchangeably shape the modern-day perspective toward textiles.
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