Future Of Fashion – From Sustainable Fashion To Digital Self Identity And AI Personhood.
The apparel industry has always made great effort to improve our garments, and the latest advancements in apparel and wearable technology have gone as far as altering how we interact with others and our bodies, experience our surroundings, thus giving the world of fashion a whole new meaning.
“Technology is really sexy!”, said Stella McCartney at last year’s Vogue Forces of Fashion Conference.
Speaking about sustainable fashion, Stella was pointing to the need of updating the industry’s wasteful, toxic and polluting manufacturing methods. To her, the use of innovative technology in fashion has become more than just a choice but an imperative.
“The younger generations have different expectations. We must approach it in a different way if we want to have a business tomorrow,” she added.
From the use of biology and wearable technology to create innovative garments to the use of AI and mixed reality, here is a selection of ten tech advancements in the fashion landscape.
The innovations are set to either push the scene on a more sustainable route, to bestow the consumers with a new digital self adorned with digital fashion garments or, the see the AI as the next fashion designer.
1. Future Of Fashion – ‘One Size Fits All’ To Reduce Consumption
Called adaptive clothing, Ryan Jasin’s fashion creation ‘grows’ at the same time with the wearer, up to seven sizes.
Ryan’s innovative pattern consists of lightweight pleated fabric, making the garments are ‘play-proof’, machine-washable and most important, fully recyclable.
2. Future Of Fashion – Shape/Functionality Changing Apparel
A creation of Royal College of Fashion, this shape-changing apparel can be used as a shelter. The original idea targeted refugees given their inability to carry around their belongings while travelling thousands of miles.
However, the concept of ‘shape and functionality changing’ fashion garments has begun to gain traction with minimalist fashion designers and sustainable fashion brands looking to minimise manufacturing waste.
3. Future Of Fashion – From Orange Peel To Fashion Fibres
A new type of sustainable fibres extracted from orange peels has become the norm for sustainable fashion designers.
Initially used by Salvatore Ferragamo already in the making of his capsule collection of t-shirts and scarves, the orange peel fibre has gained increased adoption and use amongst the conscious fashion designers.
4. Future Of Fashion – Algae Made Fashion With Nutrients For The Wearer
Algae Apparel is the finalist of the 2018 H&M Global Innovation Awards.
The company has created biodegradable fibres from Algaes and eco-friendly dyes used in the making of innovative fashion apparel.
Moreover, these garments can release nutrients to the wearer’s body, such as vitamins and minerals, during the day.
5. Future Of Fashion – From ‘Power Suits’ to Smart Fashion
Yves Béhar, the founder of ‘Fuseproject’, came up with an original idea of power-clothes devised to enable people suffering from muscle dystrophia not only to function – walk, stand and stay active for more extended periods – but also look good.
The concept has now attracted innovative fashion designers interested seeking to augment human capacities with superhuman abilities.
6. Future Of Fashion – Data Collection Fashion
A similar prototype, in the shape of a cardigan, was ignited by the Dutch designer Pauline van Dongen.
Pauline’s ‘Vigour Cardigan’ is embedded with flexible sensors made out of conductive yarns, designed to collect and analyse the wearer’s data and identify the most efficient exercises and postures of the body.
7. Future Of Fashion – Biomaterials And Lab-grown Leather
The use of leather in fashion is tainted not only by the blood of the animals killed to supply it but also by the significant emissions of greenhouse gases and toxic chemicals involved in the tanning and manufacturing processes.
That should not be the case anymore as thanks to Modern Meadow, fashion designers and labels can use ‘lab-grown leather’.
8. Future Of Fashion – 3D Printing Innovation
Technological adoption in fashion has led to many fashion designers adopting and showcasing innovative techniques in their creations.
3D design and printing are two of the most popular ‘tools’ at the moment, and Iris Van Herpen is considered a leader of the trend. The designer’s work with laser cutting and 3D printing allows her to create otherworldly dresses.
Moreover, the use of 3D printing enables fashion designers to use bio-inks to print fully sustainable garments, for a cleaner fashion landscape.
9. Future Of Fashion – Predicting Digital Self With AR?
The use of augmented reality in fashion has found a lot of traction in the retail side of the landscape. Shaped by Gucci’s demo version of a shop for luxury garments, the brand’s platform was launched to show the power of experiential e-commerce.
Styled as a dark garden filled with diamonds, attractive models, and interesting pictures on the walls. Similarly, Zara has rolled out its own AR experience across 120 stores all over the world.
Zara’s shoppers can now hold up their smartphones to store windows to see AR models come to life on the screens of their devices, walking around and showing garments to clients.
While the manifestation of AR in fashion design looks quite unusual at this moment in time, the field is gaining rapid interest. Driven by the endeavours of Mathew Drinkwater, Head of Fashion Innovation Agency at London College of Fashion, the landscape is developing at an accelerated rate.
AR is perfectly suited for fashion. The whole point of fashion in general and luxury fashion, in particular, is to make us dream. To create elusive aspirations through unique attires, ceremonious runway shows, photoshopped models in glossy magazines, meant to design an unattainable world compared to the one we live in.
That is why AR has the most fitting for the fashion world. We are becoming increasingly ‘digitised’ by mixing our ‘tangible reality’ with the intangible nature of social media, and more recently, with the adoption of augmented reality.
For that, it is inevitable that a new generation of AR-based fashion garments will become tomorrow’s norm.
And yet, I wonder if AR-based fashion will do more than just pushing the boundaries of what we understand fashion to be, by computing to the nature of who we are, by affecting one’s self-identity, namely the creation of one’s digital self.
A new self-identity that will bridge the gap between the actual and ideal selves, however with unknown consequences for the fashion landscape.
10. Future Of Fashion – The Next Alexander McQueen Is AI
The use of AI in the fashion industry has already found a home in customer service and experience, in demand forecasting, planning and buying, in operations automation and supply chain inventory management, and more recently in trend spotting, product design and customisation.
However, the case of YOOX and their latest endeavour with 8, an AI-designed fashion label where the AI takes the role of co-designer it is beyond the traditional areas of machine tasks.
It is a role that touches the creativity realm, blurring the line between technology, human, and creativity. The first question that comes to mind is, will consumers prefer AI-made or human-made haute couture? A human-made garment encapsulates the craftsmanship, the heritage, the experience, the past, the history, the memories, the choices, preferences and even the emotions of its creator.
But equally, an omnipotent, salient AI will have access to the history of not just a human being, but the entire humanity. The AI designer will select the most suitable materials for its intended creations, according to the most relevant manufacturing technologies, as dictated by the inspiration the AI designer draws from humanity’spast. Inspiration from our evolutionary ‘pain and struggles’, as depicted in art, music, and science.
So which one would you choose? And to complicate things a bit further, what about granting personhood to the AI?
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