How Tech is Shaping the Future of Fashion
The fashion industry is undergoing a critical transformation. Clothes manufacturers and designers are responding to customer demands for sustainability and ethics in new and exciting ways, and tech is at the forefront of the agenda.
The sustainable fashion market is expected to be worth $9.81 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 9.1%. It is no surprise, then, that many tech companies are investing their resources into improving this industry for the better. Read on to learn about the weird and wonderful products that will shape your future fashion experiences.
With online shopping as the new normal, it seems that personalised shopping experiences are a thing of the past – or are they? Move beyond the endless scrolling and size inconsistencies with AI-driven stylists. True Fit is a platform for footwear and apparel that deduces the personal style, fit, and size of every consumer and matches it with data-driven insights from thousands of fashion brands, making your shopping experience easier, and more accurate than ever. Not only does this make online shopping more enjoyable, but it ensures that you will only buy clothes that you love and fit you perfectly, reducing waste and extending the product’s lifecycle.
The actual material your clothes are made from is changing in response to the climate crisis. Say goodbye to artificial, non-biodegradable fabric and hello to materials made from plants! Stella McCartney, Adidas, and lululemon are all creating products from the biomaterials produced by Bolt Threads. McCartney has just launched a new range of garments made from the faux leather Mylo, a material made from the infinitely renewable mycelium, which consists of underground fibres, including fungi. Bolt Threads have also produced Microsilk, a sustainable and ethical alternative to spider silk, which is fully biodegradable and has a low production environmental impact.
IoT integrated clothing
If you think that smartwatches were revolutionary, think further. The capacity of a smartwatch to track your body’s data and connect to your phone can be integrated seamlessly into more subtle items of clothing using IoT technology. Google has partnered with Jacquard to produce items such as Levi jackets, Saint Laurent backpacks, and Adidas shoes that respond to your movements based on sensory detecting threads. With a brush of your cuff or bag strap, you can skip a song or get the next direction for your journey. Your clothes can also light up when you get a message or alert.
Looking further into the future, the team behind Jacquard are also working on colour changing clothes with Ebb, which integrate data from the internet with our garments. Stripes on your scarf could correspond to the minutes you have left to catch your bus, and your shirt, connected to Tinder, could subtly change colour when you’re near someone you’ve swiped right on. This all seems incredibly dystopian, and potentially unnecessary. The practical elements of IoT integrated clothing seem useful but it seems unlikely that anyone wants to become a walking social media profile.
3D printed clothes
Printing clothes seems like an odd phenomenon, but it is actually a game-changer for the fashion industry. The labour-intensive human element of creating clothes, which often results in sweatshops, exploitation, and poor work conditions, is avoided with 3D printing. Printing clothes on demand is also an excellent method to prevent overproduction – it reduces fabric waste by approximately 35%. At the moment, though, 3D printing takes hours, and so is only being utilised in high fashion. The Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen has been a pioneer in introducing 3D printed garments into the world of fashion. She has utilised 3D printing in notable outfits for clients including Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Bjork.