Is Technology Taking Over The Fashion Industry?

June 19, 2017

For my next few blog posts, I wanted to share some pieces of written work that I had done for my collective writing assignment in my Fashion Writing and The Media module. The reason for this is because I was rather proud of them after I had written them and then even received a fantastic grade. The content is still focused on current fashion media and is still very much relevant.
Technology has had a crazy impact on modern society, and even more so in the fashion industry. Is it too naive to believe that technology will take over the industry one day? With the way things are progressing, I wouldn't be too hasty to say no. A few examples of some recent developments include the jogging suit with an embedded mp3 player that runs off kinetic energy when you run, which was designed by industrial designer Rafael Rozenkranz. The Diffus Climate Dress was also created to signal heavy polluted areas. 3D printing has also started to influence the fashion world with Andreia Chaves introducing the first ever 'invisible shoe' to the market. American designer Francis Bitonti is another who sees the revolution of technology as he believes that "Fashion brands are going to have to adapt to this, which is going to mean a shift in core values for many brands."

Fashion shows have also had an upgrade with them now being exclusive for everyone with the introduction of live streaming. You don't have to have a big name in the industry or be an A-list celebrity to watch Burberry's new Spring collection as you can now watch the show in the comfort of your own home. Brands have also begun to adopt the new 'See-Now, Buy-Now' concept where customers are able to buy garments they saw on the runway immediately after the show. Some of the biggest names that are on board include Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and Tom Ford.

Lets not forget about inside the stores, which are becoming just as influenced by technology as the runway, especially London based designer store, Farfetch. Farfetch have worked on installing customer logins which recognises them each time they check into the store. They also have a radio-frequency identification clothing rack that detects which garments they are picking up and then uses this to add similar clothes to their wish list. This wish list becomes available on their digital mirror which they can then use to order garments of their liking in different sizes. In an interview with Business of Fashion, Farfetch founder and CEO José Neves states "three key facts: number one, digital is completely influencing consumer behaviour and the creation of desire; number two, online is growing much faster than offline; but three, offline is still - and will be - where the vast majority of transactions take place."
A retailer that has been notably ahead of its time in terms of technological advances is Marks and Spencer. They established their own in-house textile laboratory back in the 1920s so that they could try lines in selected stores to receive customers reaction before investing large scale. In 1935, they also opened up the Baker Street Textile Design Department which was soon to be used as the head office. Print technology took the brand in a different direction and this development of the thirties was carried forwards after the war. New post optimism meant that people wanted to make use of new technology as customers wanted items they could care for easily that wouldn't need as much ironing and wouldn't wear out. M&S clothing became popular and in demand as they offered the best design and manufacturing of the time. They also began experimenting with colour match technology after the introduction of suits, which although initially did not take off, made it possible to match the colour of the jacket and trousers whilst being able to have different sizes.
It's fascinating to question whats next in store for the fashion industry with the ever increasing development of technology. Will this growing branch of knowledge one day dominate not only the industry, but society as a whole, or will we finally reach a stopping point?

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