The fashion industry is set to undergo a radical reshaping as designers, retailers and manufacturers embrace the new possibilities and capabilities offered by the latest technological advancements. Artificial Intelligence, digital design and Virtual Reality, already popular tools within a variety of industrial and creative sectors, are now making their mark across fashion, from streamlining production and reducing environmental footprints, developing smart-tech products for the ultimate in functionality or creating engaging other-worldly retail experience for the digital consumer generation.
Today, we invite Trendstop’s team of experts to introduce the latest cutting-edge advancements that are revolutionizing the fashion industry. Be inspired by four key technological developments informing the collections of the future.
The influence of Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality on fashion design is coming to fruition via a host of futuristic couture concepts. Building on the success of innovations such as 3D printing, now digital couture is becoming the next step in the process. Applying the trading ethos of physical product to virtual merchandise for the first time, the world’s first digital couture design was auctioned by Dapper Labs at the Ethereal Summit in New York, selling for $9500. Existing only in the virtual world, the dress, designed by Amsterdam-based digital fashion house The Fabricant, will be custom fitted from a high quality photo of the winning bidder. 3D virtualisation and the creation of digital prototypes is being pioneered by brands such as Nike, Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger, allowing for realistic simulations to be sent to suppliers rather than traditional physical samples while collections presented via touchscreen tabletops omit the need for rolling racks of garments.
AI advances are also making their mark on the fashion media from Balmain’s campaign ‘face’ Shudu, the world’s first digital supermodel, to ‘Sophia the Robot’ gracing the cover of Stylist magazine. For their AW19 creative campaign, Selfridges department store in London have invited digital-first creatives and image makers to rethink the concept of retail. The New Order reflects on the changing market, applying digital technology to the core elements of fashion business and key categories such as denim and swim. The atrium and windows display 3D scanned compositions, animation and audio-visual projects from artists such as Jon Emmony, Digi Gals and Ines Alpha. Emmony will also be taking over the atrium space in September with an augmented reality artwork titled ‘Digital Falls.’ Activated and viewable via a smartphone or tablet device, the five-story high piece will feature a column of water filled with bioluminescent sea creatures.
Trend takeaway: Digitally rendered collections reduce the need for costly sample production while avant-garde concepts offer an exciting insight into the industry’s future.
An increasing number of online retailers are introducing AI and VR technology into the everyday lives of shoppers via a new breed of interactive apps. With high return rates a particular issue for e-commerce platforms, utilising these developments to help customers find the perfect fit first time, is vital in reducing waste. ASOS is leading the field with a number of initiatives, from their Virtual Catwalk that showcases products on-screen worn by models of varying sizes, to an AI Fit Assistant to ensure a correct fit prior to purchasing. A recently launched ‘Action’ facility also enables customers to shop using their voice.
Apps such as Screenshop and the VR-based DressingRoom allow users to photograph an outfit they like before using their device to find similar products and compare prices or utilise customised avatars so garments can be virtually ‘tried on’. Menswear etailer, Thread, combine advanced AI with the personal touch of human stylists to create a customised product selection tailored to budget, size and taste with the option to ‘like’ or dislike’ recommendations to further refine future garment picks.
Trend takeaway: Applying AI and VR technology to the online retail experience lowers return rates and increases consumer confidence in the purchasing process.
As the fashion cycle speeds up exponentially and consumer desire for continuously updated or new product lines increases, manufacturers are looking to streamline their processes. The Adidas Speedfactory is reinventing sneaker manufacturing with a pioneering concept that brings the entire process in-house and all under one roof. This groundbreaking method reduces production time down to a matter of days while robot engineers take on the bulk of the work. Adidas’ aim is to incorporate further aspects such as the 3D printing of midsoles and knitting of upper textiles into the Speedfactory operation. Collecting and analysing sports-science data from urban runners around the globe, is also helping the company to create more accurately designed shoes with digital technology allowing the latest incarnations to accommodate different terrains and climates in cities worldwide.
To enable the next generation of designers to harness these new technological capabilities, Microsoft have teamed up with London College of Fashion for their Accelerating the Future of Fashion project. Ashwini Deshpande’s ArtZ Concept utilises AI and Machine Learning to reduce fabric waste during the pattern cutting stage of the garment creation process. The software analyses existing patterns and suggests amended versions with additional seaming to minimise offcut material. Designers can accept or reject the new designs and the system will use this feedback to learn and improve the aesthetics of the final piece.
Trend takeaway: Single space concepts and digital design tools with ‘learning’ capabilities allow manufacturers to accelerate production times, reduces waste over time.
Louis Vuitton’s 2020 Cruise collection in New York embodied the growth in the unification between advanced technology and fashion design. Collaborating with flexible display and smart device manufacturers, Royole Corporation, the French house’s iconic bags were re-imagined via the incorporation of flexible touchscreen interfaces. Titled “Canvas of the Future”, the range utilises displays and sensors to show images and videos for the ultimate in instant accessory customisation. Helga Matos is a woven textile designer and Technical Specialist in the Electronic and Computer Science research department at the University of Southampton, UK. Matos’ current work explores the integration of electronics into woven fabrics. At the 2019 edition of Paris knitwear show Spinexpo, the Seeking Functionalities forum showcased Matos’ magnetic clip systems and pocketed samples designed to hold electronic devices, in an exploration into the future of smart fabric technology. As performance and comfort qualities become increasingly important, integrated technology and progressive materials development can provide innovative yet practical fashion solutions for the consumers of today and the future.
Trend takeaway: Integrated technology can offer progressive customization options or be used to gather biometric data, to enhance fit and comfort levels for the end user.
Trendstop is a trend forecasting agency and consultancy with the finger on the pulse and an eye firmly to the future. With Trendstop’s trend forecasts, designers have the fundamental tools to build a collection that is not just conceptual, but carries the right elements to attract buyers’ attention and make a new label commercially viable.
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