Could you have ever imagined to wear a dress that would change its color based on your surrounds, or a handbag printed out of a 3D printer a couple of years ago? Well, now you can!
Today’s fashion industry isn’t quite what one would’ve ever imagined it to be in the past. Be it what we wear, how we wear it, and where we get it from, technology is pretty much reshaping the fashion industry in more than one ways; and that too for the better. Fashion designers and retailers are now experimenting with their creativity and also with ways to sell their creativity. And here’s how they’re doing that!
The most obvious forms of wearable – and fashionable – tech include the Apple watch along with a host of other smartwatches that are rapidly gaining popularity. And of course there are the Google Glass too. But that’s not all. The very basics too have become smart – yes, fabric! A number of designers have in already incorporated tech-based fabrics into their garments in the past. Not only do these fabrics respond to biofeedback, but also interact with the environment to change textures and colors and display unique visual effects. Not only that, some designers have even gone to the length of equipping cutting edge fashion with solar panels to serve the purpose of charging cellphones on the go. If you thought fabric is still only about warp, weft, weaves, knits, silky, and wrinkly correct yourself; it’s time to embrace a more interactive definition of the word.
Digital fashion weeks
We’ve already come to the point where a mere 2 or 3 fashion shows in a year have quite literally blown up into dozens in each season of the year. And given how the internet and social media are laying to waste newspapers and magazines, digital fashion weeks have already become a reality. Audiences now engage in livestreams of runway shows across oceans, and fashion trends spread faster than wild forest fires. The implications for global brands are quite profound. Understanding the global response to a livestream viewed by thousands of people in separate markets at the same time from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective could either make or break the brand. Moreover if the mode of viewership is digital, then how creative can designers get with ramp design, choreography, and visual effects? Food for thought.
While conventional screen and rotary printing have largely been taken over by digital printing, which too has become pretty run of the mill nowadays, 3D printing is another hot piece of technological innovation that is rapidly transforming the world of fashion. From accessories to garments, fashionable gear is now being produced via 3D printing at home. People aren’t just touting about its cost-effectiveness, it’s the liberty of designing and creating merchandise without the presence of a middleman that’s appealing to a number of budding fashion entrepreneurs venturing into the business with limited resources. Not to mention, the freedom to design is indeed limitless. From using manmade materials and textures to fascinating shapes and sizes, designers are now able to print exactly what they think.
Going back to smartwatches and smartphones, the average user is now a lot more tech savvy and prefers to shop via his or her phone. Yes, E-tailing is taking over conventional brick and mortar shops really fast. Be it high end couture or affordable fashion, online boutiques offering the latest seasonal trends with just a few finger taps are the new medium to shop. The e-commerce business model not only offers huge savings on operational and real estate costs, but also favors the just-in-time production model that a number of retailers are opting for to cut back on overburdening inventory costs. In the long run, clothing is looking to become highly customized based on specific customer requirements creating a higher degree of individualism amongst a highly self- and fashion-conscious consumer base.
Well, one would argue and call it digital marketing, but when it comes to promoting fashion through e-tailing and online platforms, conventional SEO seems to take a back seat. It’s social marketing that’s the way to go. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are becoming increasingly popular amongst both fashion designers and retail brands to showcase their work, and consumers to view, review, and assess options. Coupled with a huge population of lifestyle and fashion bloggers, the internet has just become a big fat giant portal to shamelessly publicize creative work both through ethical and unethical means. While the ethics may still be subjective, there’s no denying the fact that a smart-user will be influenced by reviews and opinions dished out on social platforms across the internet. With so much information at their disposal, not only are the users of fashion smart, but the creators of fashion too have to play smart in order to beat the increasing competition on a global platform.
So where do you see technology taking the world of fashion in the years to come?