Fashion meets Tech
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. Read More
Whether it is wearable tech or the optimisation of production processes – the fashion industry is profiting immensely from technical advances – as is the consumer.
Fashion companies are by necessity quick to pick up on the latest trends. This extends to everything from clothes and business models to new innovations in design and production. Clothing is meant to work with our bodies and not just cover them. The future of clothing will therefore be about more than just conveying our sense of style and providing us with essential coverage. The way we use clothing will change immensely and smart innovations are paving the way. Here’s a compilation of eye-catching fashion brands that are changing the game using technology that could be applied well beyond this industry alone.
One of the latest trends worth exploring is zero waste design. Siddhartha Upadhyaya is an Indian fashion designer and technologist who invented a new technique called direct panel on 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, 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% of water compared to standard methods.
“Zero waste is a goal, a process, a way of thinking that profoundly changes our approach to resources and production,” explains the English Wikipedia page. “Zero waste is not about recycling and diversion from landfills, but about restructuring production and distribution systems to prevent waste from being manufactured in the first place.”
Wouldn’t we optimally want to see more of such technology-generated fashion in the future aligned with DPOL and that can save time, money, and resources?
Finally: sizes that fit
We all have been there: we have finally found that gorgeous-looking outfit we are dying to wear after scrolling through the thousands of options while shopping online, yet we know we cannot count on the size given on the label at all! This frustrating scenario, which can lead you to curse the curves you’ve been blessed with, might be totally avoidable.
A high percentage of the returns retailers have to deal with are due to poor fit or material quality. Retailers and customers alike are dissatisfied. Smart online shopping tools are being developed worldwide to rectify this situation. They have the potential to dramatically reduce returns and minimize shipping energy and waste in the process. MyShape, for example, has developed a patented technology that matches shoppers with items that correspond to their personal measurements and preferences. Their sizeless dressing allows shoppers to skip the size labels with the assurance that each piece of clothing they purchase will fit and flatter them.
In the same vein, the virtual fitting room Fits.me was launched by retailer Hawes & Curtis. A shape-shifting robotic mannequin takes body measurements and mimics a body’s shape so shopper can see how a garment would fit.
Even as we think about gorgeous dresses and shopping, fashion should not fall behind in regard to women’s safety. Safety is important as danger can lurk in plain sight. This is not to say we should live in fear, but we should definitely be prepared.
For those nervous about walking home alone at night, Cuff’s new line of GPS-enabled jewellery provides a stylish yet practical way to ensure that help is only a button push away. Much more attractive than similar smart devices, Cuff allows you to build your own inner circle of contacts via an app. Simply press a button on your jewellery, like this prototype from Cuff, and the piece will send out a distress signal and your location to your emergency contacts.
I personally love the jewellery because it is fashion forward, and no one will ever know it is GPS enabled.
Got a light?
U.S. fashion label Ralph Lauren is fusing fashion and technology with the introduction of the Ricky Bag with Light, a handbag with illuminated interior and an integrated USB port to charge your mobile phone. Ralph Lauren describes the handbag as the “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.
On-the-go power for smart phones and other devices fulfils a real need and the updated Ricky Bag with Light offers a solution, albeit a pricy one. A portable USB charger and a discrete rechargeable battery have been integrated into the purse, as well as four LED lights that turn on when the bag is opened.