More than ever, technology is becoming intertwined with fashion. This has never been as evident as it has this past year, with the rise of online shopping, e-commerce, and the temporary closure of the retail sector. Technology can be a way to solve many of the issues within fashion. Whether we look for ways to make new fabrics, ways to improve our shopping experience, or simply look for a way to create more advanced pieces.
This article will explore four key ways technology is revolutionising fashion, in how we view, buy, create and wear clothing.
Technology in wearable clothing
A very common way we see technology’s influence in fashion is through wearable technology within fabrics. A brand which pioneered testing and implementing technology into everyday clothing has been Stone Island. Stone Island are a very experimental brand and constantly look for new techniques, materials, and styles. They have introduced new ways of dying garments so as to create an iridescence to the material, as well as thermochromic materials which react to temperature change by changing colour.
This is just one way in which innovative new technology has influenced the clothes we wear. There are more obvious ways technology has been implemented into garments, for example the brand Loomia who focus on producing ‘e-textiles’ which more directly make use of technology to create heating systems, lighting systems and sensors, all built into the material itself. The main takeaway, however, is that wearable technology does not necessarily mean a garment which has a built-in computer or phone; but rather a garment which has been crafted to the highest standard, thanks to innovation.
Technology in creation of fashion
As the world looks to more sustainable alternatives, technology offers a way to create clothing in new, unexpected ways. Technology can help to reduce waste in manufacturing, help test products more efficiently, but most importantly it can be greatly beneficial when it comes to creating more sustainable materials.
Recently Prada released their Re-Nylon collection, a collection which explored the idea of circular fashion and sustainability. This led me to read a lot about Econyl, the company they were working with. Econyl are a remarkable company who aim to regenerate the worlds existing materials, as a way to constantly recycle what is already within our planet. Through the use of technology, they rescue, regenerate, remake and re-imagine nylon which already exists from items such as fishing nets and fabric scraps, and turn it into high-quality material for the likes of Prada and Gucci. For every 10,000 tons of Econyl, they are able to save 70,000 barrels of crude oil and avoid 65,100 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Technology is helping us rethink ways we can produce clothing in a more sustainable, beneficial way.
Technology as an influence on fashion
The developments in computer-based technology are also a vital influence on fashion in the modern world. Due to the social-media era, the majority of our inspiration now comes from what we see online as oppose to what we read in magazines, or experience. Apps such as Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest are the new Vogue for the younger generations. The emergence of online influencers and celebrities means more than ever, children and young adults are buying clothes because of the people they see wearing them on social media. It has become commonplace to buy an outfit because you saw it on an influencer, who was being promoted and rewarded by the brand for helping sell their products.
Although not necessarily a positive or negative, technology has influenced and revolutionised the way we view and perceive fashion.
Technology within the shopping experience
Over the past year, many of us will have found how much the shopping experience has been revolutionised by the internet and emergence of e-commerce. We no longer have to take a trip to the high-street or city to shop our favourite brands, we can do so from our own homes. It is even becoming easier for customers to help find their size. By collecting information and use of AI, brands can recommend sizes based on your height, weight, and the size of other items in your closet.
New apps have even made it easier for us to find bargains. Apps such as Shoptagr track the pricing of a particular item across a variety of retailers, and can alert us when it drops in price, or if it drops below a particular percentage such as 40% off.
The biggest influence technology has had on fashion has definitely been the way we shop.
Overall, technology has influenced fashion in a variety of different ways. It has impacted the creation of what we wear, the influences behind what we wear and even how we buy our clothing. Technology has totally revolutionised the fashion industry and the way consumers engage with fashion as a whole.
To read more about the relationship between fashion and technology, click here.