NEWS / Fashion and Technology

Fashion and Technology: A Perfect Fit

August 19, 2019


The very essence of fashion is to be forward-thinking and new. This makes the use of technology in fashion a perfect fit. We are moving swiftly to an age of FashionTech where the clothes we wear have technology woven into the very fabric of the garment.

3 Areas Where Technology is Influencing Fashion

Although there are many areas where technology is being applied to the world of fashion, in this article we will concentrate on three key areas.

Smart Textiles
‘Smart’ describes technology that uses sensors and data to respond to conditions like heat or light or a heartbeat, etc. Smart textiles use these sensors along with specialist yarns to adjust to conditions. They are typically split into two categories, aesthetic and performance-enhancing. Smart fabric can be used to monitor bodily functions and environmental signs like health, temperature, etc.
Two examples are:

Textiles for deaf-blindness

Several EU projects are looking at the use of smart textiles to help people in the deaf-blindness community. The smart textiles will be used to create garments that have haptic sensors embedded in them. The smart garments will be able to press on points of the wearer’s body informing them of various things like what a room looks like.

Graphene Yarns

A university in the UK has created a method to generate scalable graphene yarn. Graphene has high conductivity but is also a very flexible material; because of these characteristics it is a perfect smart fabric allowing the sensors to be woven into the cloth, data being sent wirelessly to a mobile device. In the first instance, the team who have produced this method see the use of graphene in high-performance sports clothing.
Blockchain
A number of use cases for the distributed ledger technology, blockchain, have been identified in the fashion industry. Blockchain technology is a way to store transactions creating an immutable record.

Luxury Product Authenticity and Brand Protection

Fake fashion is big business. A recent report suggests that the global cost of counterfeit fashion will reach 1.82 Trillion USD by 2020. The use of Blockchain technology to manage supply chains in the fashion industry could help alleviate this. De Beers diamonds have proven the use of blockchain to track 100 high-value diamonds from miner to retailer.

Blockchain is also applicable to track royalties and manage the intellectual property of designers. French designer, Martine Jarlgaard, uses blockchain to ensure the provenance of a piece. The entire lifecycle of a garment, from raw material to finished garment, is registered on a blockchain to ensure traceability.
Wearables and IoT
Wearable fashion often comes in the guise of a watch or other accessory. But fashion that is based on the Internet of Things (IoT), is branching out into other items including garments and trainers. The use of the IoT within a fashion context allows us to add a new dimension to what we wear.
Some examples of wearables:

Levi and Google Project Jacquard

Jacquard™ is a conductive fabric. A collaboration between Levi and Google has created a smart jacket which can light up in different colors and also vibrate when you receive mobile notifications. The arm is touch-sensitive allowing you to control your mobile phone.

Nike Self-Lacing Trainers

Nike Adapt trainers let you use your mobile phone to change the shape of the trainer to best fit your foot; Nike call this “Electric adaptable reaction lacing”
Conclusion
Fashion has always been future-focused; designers creating collections for one or two seasons in the future. Technology is now adding new future dimensions and possibilities to the fashionista’s wardrobe. Fashion can now use our data, not just our bodies, to influence what we wear and how we look.