Future of Fashion: Tech and Sustainability
Updated: Jun 3
How will the future of Fashion look like? Will fast fashion disappear? Will the manufacturing process be changed? Will physical stores still exist?
I have recently been reading different articles about the future of fashion, and how it will evolve in the following years. As with other industries, the impact of technology on fashion is already present and there are already many designers who are implementing a more futuristic approach to their collections. What follows are some fashion trends I believe are the most relevant and interesting to every fashion blogger! Let’s go!
Hey 3D, welcome!
What actually is 3D fashion? It includes everything that is wearable and 3D printed; from dresses and shoes, to accessorizes. Because 3D printing is still a challenging process, we won’t see such items in our local stores soon, however, the number of fashion designers experimenting with this technique is growing. Besides being super cool, 3D clothes production has a lot of benefits: it is estimated that $6-8 billion is spent on physical samples in the fashion industry every year, and 3D would greatly reduce the number of samples you need. A mere example of a company using 3D is Adidas, who partnered with Carbon to create 3D-printed sneakers and shoe parts. Meanwhile, they managed to cut the number of physical samples by 1.5 million between 2010 and 2013!
3D technology is so popular because it greatly shortens the production period, as there is no need to wait for producers’ approval on the other side of the world. Using improved software, body scanning and 3D artists, there is also no need for live models, multiple size sets and fit samples. All this greatly helps create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly industry, which is why I am a big supporter of this technique. When first hearing the term 3D fashion, I reckoned these garments must look completely futuristic. However, that is far from the truth!
Take a look at these beautiful 3D dresses from the 2019 Met Gala, designed by Zac Posen:
Judging by these 3D face accessorizes by Dutch designer Iris van Herpen, the technology indeed is changing the look and feel of fashion!
PS: Iris van Herpen is definitely one of my favorite designers at the moment, who implements innovative technology and fashion in such a beautiful way. Check her work here!
Bye to keywords, hello to visuals!
In the future, it will be easier than ever to discover and buy fashion items you love! We often face the struggle of having an amazing item in mind, however, we don’t know how to translate exactly what we are looking for into words. Luckily, in the future, visual search will substitute keyword search, which is particularly useful for the fashion industry. You will be able to simply snap and upload a photograph of the product you want, with AI identifying the pictured product, or a similar one, across multiple sites and retailers. An already present service Google Lens, which allows mobile users to snap a photo of a product, then find (and buy!) similar styles through Google Shopping, right from their smartphone. Easier product discovery is already available to users through different apps, such as the popular LIKEtoKNOW.it, which shows which fashion items your favorite Instagram influencers are wearing on a specific photo.
AI is influencing fashion trends!
What would happen if fashion forecasters would combine their knowledge with AI? In the future, we will use AI to track real-time fashion industry trends, customer views on products and runway images, and identify resurfacing themes in trending patterns, silhouettes, colors, and styles. This will give designers more information and will help them make informed design decisions for their next collections. Scientists are also working on using AI to learn an individual’s style and create customized computer-generated images of new items that fit that style, so personalization is definitely here to stay.
An online personal styling service pioneering this is Stich Fix. The company uses algorithms to identify trends and styles missing from the Stich Fix inventory, and suggests new designs based on combinations of favorite colors, patterns, and textile. Talking about creativity ;)
No more Fashion Seasons!
For the last 50 years, spring/summer lines would debut on runways in early fall, and autumn/winter lines would debut in February. This strict timeline would give brands enough time to take clothes to the shelves, get the interest of the customers, and manufacture the right number of garments based on it. However, the biannual fashion calendar has gone through major changes, designers showing their clothes between seasons, on men and women simultaneously, and in weeks traditionally reserved for one or the other.
The blend of fashion seasons is mainly due to the ‘see now, buy now’ attitude which arose from the fast fashion industry, social media, and influencer marketing.
With fast fashion, garments are moving quickly from catwalks to store shelves. Using low quality and cheap labor, brands as Zara and Primark are able to replicate looks from designer catwalks before these even hit the stores, further shortening the seasons. For instance, Top Shop introduces about 400 styles per week on its website, making it impossible to keep up with this in a sustainable way.
Although it is impossible to predict the future of fast fashion, a shift towards a more sustainable fashion and socially conscious shopping are present. More consumers will embrace slow fashion, sustainable materials, and transparent, ethical labor and manufacturing. Good news: last year, the fashion search engine Lyst reported a 47 percent increase in search for ethical and style garments qualifications!
The future of fashion and the way it will further be shaped by technology is fascinating! If you want to learn more about the topic, visit these sites: