How are fashion and technology combined together? And how will innovative technology and artificial intelligence (AI) impact the fashion industry in the future? Read about current examples and discover our predictions!
Hey! Fashion has been as traditional a career as any. When one thinks of fashion in general, the images of dresses, jewelry, models walking on runways and luxury outlets pop up. Technology is still a new concept here – its use in fashion industry isn’t so well-understood. But there’s no doubt that interest in the use of technology in fashion is at its peak right now. So today I’m answering a question I get asked a lot – what are some examples of technology in fashion industry.
As a futurist and the founder and Editor-in-Chief of a digital fashion magazine, my work in itself combines fashion and technology, particularly fashion media. Since without innovation, you wouldn’t even be reading this article right now! Especially as the Editor of a magazine whose tagline says “The Future of Fashion is Here,” I guess I should be the one to take the responsibility to show what that future really will be like…
How Fashion and Technology Will Be Combined in the Future?
Fashion is such a vast industry, majorly involving fashion designing, commerce and media. So let’s take these three industries one by one to see examples of the impact of technology on fashion industry now and in the future.
1. Technology in Fashion Design
The work of some of the designers in fashion industry is already adopting cutting-edge technology. Wearable tech, high-tech fabrics and garment construction techniques are becoming common.
1.a. Wearable Technology Fashion
Regarding fashion designing, some of the ideas combining fashion and technology include fashion tech. For example a jacket that predicts when to open or close its zipper based on the temperature outside. Or a bracelet that helps you charge your phone by harnessing energy from your arm (sounds weird, I know!). It’s also called body-response technology.
1.b. High-Tech Fabrics & Garment Construction Techniques
Not just wearable technology, but fashion that uses new technologies is also an example of this. Like laser-cut clothes, or new materials and fabrics that are more stretchable or comfortable, shiny, etc. or 3D-printed fabrics and jewelry – all are becoming common these days.
And how will this evolve in the future? Well, the future will use some of the then common innovation in fashion technology. Perhaps future clothing will be able to showcase a quote or graphic of the day via a fabric-screen. I hope fashion technologist are working on this! Maybe earrings would be able to play music for you instead of requiring headphones.
Perhaps a dress will be able to change not only its pattern, but also its properties, becoming warmer or cooler depending on the temperature.
1.c. Bots for Fashion Designers
Bots are another use of technology in fashion. In the near future, bots will merge fashion and technology by taking over the role of models. Digital models can be, in raw terms, walking, talking mannequins. Perhaps future fashion designers will be able to recreate their clients’ bodies exactly as three-dimensional digital mannequins. These android models will be able to assist fashion designers drape and fit, and see how an outfit will look on real people of different body measurements.
Bots will, of course, also be able to walk in fashion shows, or pose for digital marketing campaigns.
This may help designers create a signature bot-aesthetic! Wonder how that’ll be to behold!
2. Impact of Technology on Fashion Industry
If you wanna know how has technology changed fashion industry, e-commerce is your first answer. Online shopping is one of the most common examples of fashion combined with technology today, where apps and shopping websites these days commonly suggest items a shopper would like.
2.a. Artificial Intelligence in Shopping
In fashion commerce, I see the near future holding some more examples of using technology such as a personal shopping assistant that keeps track of your closet, lets you know when you need new shoes, when you need a new dress for an upcoming wedding, etc.
Bots are still an emerging technology in the fashion industry, but I predict that in the future, nearly every brand will have a bot assistant, mostly as a chatbot. Perhaps, the next stage will be to build branded Sophia-like mascots who can meet and greet you at stores or assist you in shopping.
2.b. Artificial Intelligence in Marketing
Fashion websites are already able to keep track of shoppers’ data – how much you spend, how frequently you shop, where you ship to, etc. However, in the future, big data will be used even more smartly, when AI bots will be able to assist brands in marketing. Perhaps we’ll be able to find exact replacement of beloved ripped clothes. Or brands may create marketing campaigns targeted to each shopper individually, based on their neural network, so that our gut instinct tells us to purchase the item.
3. Technology in Fashion Media
Finally, fashion media and technology is my favorite topic, since that’s what our work at ShilpaAhuja.com is about. Here are a few of the things we do where fashion media and technology are combined:
3.a. Fashion Analytics
We call it SlubAnalytics, where I combine big data-analysis of decades’ worth of fashion week looks to forecast upcoming trends. My team is working on data science that can use fashion show images to detect trends, analyse them and create curves on how popular they’ve been, and will be in the future.
3.b. Chatbot as Your Best Friend
Shilbot, my chatbot is based on my personality and I’m creating her to become a style best friend to our readers. She can already do small talk about fashion and tell you the upcoming fashion trends. However, in the future, I envision her to advise on style ideas based on a reader’s individual body type, personality, lifestyle. Instead of a shopping assistant, Shilbot aims to be a best friend, who can give you unbiased, honest advice, she may even tell you a dress doesn’t suit you, once she has higher forms of artificial intelligence.
Ultimately, Shilbot will be a digital avatar, who can talk to you, have 30-minute long conversations and keep each user’s data private, so they feel comfortable talking to her, just like we do with a friend.
3.c. Keyword Data Analytics
Just like brands capture and analyze shoppers’ data to understand their preferences and improve their marketing techniques, media companies do it to understand readers’ preferences. Cookies are commonly used in websites to analyze user flow. Keyword mining is another technique used to determine what topics the readers are searching for and would like to read. We at ShilpaAhuja.com, have even developed our own algorithm to analyze new topics that we cover here on our magazine.
3.d. Digital Influencer
Digital influencers are nothing new, Instagram has many that are animated or digitally created.
Even we have one. Audrey O. may be a cartoon character, but with her fashion style and Coco’s wisdom, she already gives outfit ideas on Instagram and sets trends. Audrey O. is not created digitally, she’s all hand-drawn and illustrated. However, the fact that we meet her on social media and on our website, digitally, makes Audrey O. a digital influencer.
So I hope that was insightful, and thank you for letting me take you on a sci-fi realm for fashion. It’s not a subject I write about often, but I do talk about it a lot with people I meet. Are you, too, a futurist? If so, tweet me @shilpa1ahuja your own ideas on how fashion and technology will be combined in the future. And about my own ideas, if you have any comments, lemme know below!
Shilpa Ahuja a designer and entrepreneur. She is the editor-in-chief of ShilpaAhuja.com, which she founded with the goal of inspiring confidence in the modern working woman through fashion.
Fashion has traditionally been for the rich, white, thin woman. That’s how it evolved over centuries and that’s how it’s been represented in fashion media. But Shilpa believes that with the changing role of women in the society, fashion has changed, too. She believes that fashion is for everyone, regardless of their age, gender, color, body type and background. So she translates runway fashion into easy style advice that one can incorporate into their daily lives.
Shilpa’s work has been published in the University of Fashion blog and Jet Airways magazine. She is also an artist, illustrator and cartoonist. She is also the creator of Audrey O., a comic series that represents the lifestyle of millennial women. She enjoys creative writing and world travel. Her art has been exhibited at Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Aroma Hotel, Chandigarh and been published in Chandigarh Times.
Originally from Chandigarh, Shilpa also has a professional degree in architecture and has worked in interior project management. She is also the author of the book “Designing a Chinese Cultural Center in India”. Shilpa has a Masters in Design Studies degree from Harvard University. For feedback and questions, please email [email protected]