After a hectic fashion month with the most prestigious brands innovating how to present their own collections, we are able to talk about fashion and technology as a whole. Why? These two sections are completely interconnected and in this article, we explore how these innovations are transforming the fashion industry today. From a brand standpoint, this represents a great opportunity to further engage with customers and reach out to new markets.
“Meanwhile, technology is getting faster and smaller, speaking to those same consumers seeking minimalist and seamless, but well-designed options.”
– Briony Richter, Future of fashion tech: bridging the gap for innovation
Let’s look at how the future and already present technology can reshape the fashion landscape.
Technology is allowing the fashion industry to become more sustainable rather than an energy exhausting fashion market.
The carbon foot-print generated due to the massive use of raw materials, textile manufacturing, clothing construction, shipping, and then retailing is huge. However, we have noticed a shift in consumer that is forcing fashion to become more sustainable by being slower. An example of this awareness is the company CLO Virtual Fashion who creates virtual prototypes in order to decrease the number of samples and reduce the footprint on the planet.
“Commercialising a completely new generation of textiles as well as bioengineered clothing solutions that are less demanding on the environment is creating more value, while reducing the damage caused by the fashion industry and consumers.”
– DHL, Fashion Technology and Innovation Shape the Future of Fashion
In addition, we are seeing a good reaction from the biggest players in the high-street who are now designing entire new lines with sustainability at its core
- H&M collection using Piñatex, a leather-like material made from pineapple leaves.
- Levi’s is using hemp in their new line of sustainable clothing to make them more easily recyclable.
- Adidas has challenged themselves to produce 11 million pairs of sneakers with recycled ocean plastic in 2019.
This is definitely not enough but necessary wake up call for the rest of brands in fashion.
The influence of AI
Artificial Intelligence helps the retail industry to predict, plan and promote clothes while improving product availability and accurate deliveries.
The dream of every designer and brand is to know what’s the next trend coming to avoid overproduction. Today AI is allowing to prognosticate trends and sales, allowing brands to understand consumer patterns and predict their production levels.
- Google and Project Muze are a good example of how machine learning can be applied to fashion. Through the use of neurotechnology, Project Muze allows to make creative decisions on behalf of the consumer through their personality and interests.
- Amazon managed by Israel-based researchers would use AI to know if an item is stylish or dowdy.
AR/VR restudy the online and in-store experience
We have seen the use of Augmented reality and Virtual reality technology to improve the overall experience in-store and online.
“What we’re trying to show here is that shopping in the future will be a combination of some elements of what physical stores have today, like visual merchandising and curated pieces, but then they have all of these other things that are not possible in physical stores,”
– Neha Singh, Founder and CEO of Obsess.
Several startups are supporting brands to use these technologies. Virtual reality platform for experiential shopping Obsess uses AR or VR in three key areas:
- Marketing; AR pop-up, interactive catalogue, or VR version of a store or boutique.
- E-commerce; online/mobile shoppers can see products in 3D reality on their screens.
- Physical retail; Use AR in-store to let shoppers access digital media on in-stock merchandise.
Amazon has another great example of how AR can be used in fashion. The retailer has been patenting a virtual mirror where a user can try products on at home. Soon will be possible to stand in front of a mirror and realistically try on clothing without all the deliveries and returns.
3D scanning can give customers a positive virtual try-on shopping experience. 3D body scanning solution also reduces the cost of production in the short- and long-term to have an accurate estimate of the production needed.
Opening the new era of fashion, tech created hyper-rapid manufacturing systems to track and distribute orders using next-gen inventory management tools.
However, even though consumers are now wanting the benefits of online shopping, the in-store experience for luxury brands still remains relevant. That’s how fast delivery can help here.
Artificial Intelligence has also allowed to merge deliveries through an app called “Flex” that uses AI to count how many drivers are needed at any given time so that all deliveries can be centralised.
Blockchain in fashion
Yes, even the fashion industry has found a way to use blockchain for their own purposes. Blockchain helps brands to have transparent supply chains by giving every product a unique digital ID. This will allow both brands and consumers to create end-to-end digital track record for all items in their inventories.
“Blockchain startup VeChain worked with Chinese-New York fashion label Babyghost on a similar initiative for the brand’s Summer 2017 collection. In Fall 2018, H&M … was launching a pilot program with VeChain, using one wool beanie from the company’s Arket clothing line to test blockchain technology’s ability to improve product data traceability in its supply chain.”
– CbInsights, The Future Of Fashion: From Design To Merchandising, How Tech Is Reshaping The Industry
Moncler outfits have RFID chips inserted which allow customers to verify the product via an app or website — creating a real way to discover Moncler good and the authenticity of the products. Brands like Benetton and Salvatore Ferragamo have also tried similar programs.
To sum up, fashion-tech has become a single word for many and 2020 will be the year that will streamline this union by making tech less and less noticeable for the consumer, still allowing for all the benefits that it’s creating in this industry.
In March 2020 we will be hosting the upcoming TREND on Luxury Fashion and retail. Get in touch with us to find out more!
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