Fashion meets Technology – what does the future hold
A few years ago, when Google Glass and then upcoming Apple Watch were newsmakers, journalists were sure that technology was the future of fashion. Both industries were excited; everyone talked about wearables that would replace familiar gadgets. However, the spectacles never made it to the market and the Cupertino’s first wrist accessory did not make a big difference. Yes, we have fitness trackers and watches — but do we really use them, know their names? We have startups crowdfunding their, for example, GPS-enabled gloves and even see Iris Van Herpen — one the first designers using technologies in her dreamy gowns — at Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week. But do we have major brands going for innovations? Can we buy dresses that wash itselves or make emergency calls? Not really.
However, technology has already met fashion. Eggs cannot be unscrambled — the industries think of new ways how to use each other without creating things (I am not sure but…) people don’t actually need.
The ways like creating new AI engines. Collaboration between IBM and the Fashion Institute of Technology brought a new neural network to life. The network is being trained to search for elements of style. Using this smart assistant designers will be able to look for prints, garments, fabrics, types of collars, buttons and other important details in order not to copy somebody else’s work. Also, the AI will be able to create unique prints based on uploaded references. No more copycats, guys. (Another example of using AI is Tommy Hilfiger’s attempts to create new collections with help of an engine following real-time fashion industry trends).
Those technologies are much more advanced but similar to the technologies already offered for customers. Using apps people can get suggestions of what clothes to buy (the neural networks analyze what a person have in a wardrobe and decide what would be a good match) or search for similar clothes feeding apps with reference photos.
Or the ways like merging fashion with sharing economy. The new online sharing services are becoming more and more popular. People wish to rent not only luxury dresses for special occasions but also basic everyday wear. Instead of cluttering up their closets in their rented apartments people prefer getting clothes for a couple of days and then getting something new. One of such “ubers” for fashionistas is Chinese YCloset.
There is also a way to use technologies to make clothes more eco-friendly. Instead of investing money in sewing dresses protecting women from harassment (such dress was actually made, though) companies use engineers to create biodegradable fabrics (fabric made from apple skins or lemons, for example) and alternative packaging materials.
And there will be many other ways of bonding fashion and tech. They will come to designers’ mind spontaneously with the flow of changing times (which if nothing catastrophic happens are tech-driven).