Have you ever heard the term “Fashion Tech” ? These two simple words actually cover the entirety of fashion digital evolutions. From design to retail and in many sectors — health or sports to name a few — Fashion Tech is more and more present and extremely useful. Indeed, it groups the best of both worlds : fashion’s creativity and tech’s rationality !
Exciting right ? In this article you will find the very best of Fashion Tech innovations organized in various sections. Sit back and discover the latest innovations…
The earliest stage of garment creation is spotting emerging trends. And the French company Heuritech has found a way to revolutionize the practice. With AI algorithms spotting behaviors on social media, they can advise the biggest fashion companies as to what to design for the seasons to come. They help reduce overproduction and contribute to a more sustainable fashion industry.
Once the trends are clear, designers can start sketching and imagining new clothes. They mostly use design software such as CLO to create 3D views of the future garments. Early 2020, Eva Engines built an innovative platform to be even more effective : Eva Generate is a tool that enables designers to get product views by simply uploading sketches onto our platform. We aim to reduce prototype production and lead time for fashion brands.
Then comes the time to choose fabrics for the collection. With the goal of reducing fashion’s environmental footprint, students from the New York Fashion Institute of Technology created a textile called Werewool. Inspired by nature, they designed revolutionary biodegradable fibers from natural proteins. Indeed, almost all colors are available in nature and building fibers with colors already built in could limit toxic chemical dyeing. Plus, some milk proteins are water-resistant and elastin, found in human connective tissues, is stretchy. Werewool extracts those natural proteins and thus replaces the polluting process of making petroleum-based textiles.
Another type of innovative textile is the connected fabric. One of the first innovations regarding smart textiles is a collaboration between Levi’s and Google from 2017. Using Google’s Jacquard technology, implemented in Levi’s jacket sleeves, customers can access various digital services from their phones, such as taking pictures, listening to music or answering calls without even looking at the screen.
The French company Senfa created a textile that acts as a Faraday cage — an enclosure to block electromagnetic fields. The idea is to block electromagnetic waves from all of our connected devices with silver threads within the fabric.
The next step is to actually produce the clothes. More and more innovative processes are seeing the light of day. For example, French company Lectra — and leader in integrated fashion designing solutions — has created a program that helps fashion manufacturers place patterns optimally to reduce waste and cost.
Provenance, an English company uses blockchain technology to provide brands with the ability to track and communicate on every step of their supply chain. Additionally, Evo Pricing is a firm that offers autonomous pricing and supply chain management using Artificial Intelligence.
Nowadays, competition is tough regarding innovation. Companies need to always be more imaginative. Nike, for example, has created self-tying sneakers, inspired from Marty McFly’s shoes in Back to the Future. They are linked to an app controlled by the user. Another sportswear invention is the “Polo Tech” by Ralph Lauren. It is a connected polo shirt, measuring athletes’ performances and first by professional tennis players at the 2016 US Open.
Health wise, Cyrcadia has designed a smart bra — iTBra — which goal is to detect breast cancers, by perceiving circadian temperature changes and unusual lumps.
With no other intent than being extra fashionable, German brand ElektroCouture has found a way to “make light wearable” : they offer innovative LED clothing.
To sell clothing, retailers have conceptualized various new platforms. Fashion giants such as Farfetch, Net-A-Porter or VestiaireCollective have entered the norm but were revolutionary Fashion Tech websites when first launched. To go even further in the personalization process, Shop It To Me manages to find customers’ favorite items, on sale and in their size. Plus, to ensure perfect customer experience, more and more platforms offer the possibility to virtually try on clothes : this is the case of Virtusize or ELSE Corp for example.
New shopping experiences were also born in the last few years. With Girl Meets Dress, you can now rent a dress for one night in the UK — but similar concepts exist in neighboring countries and in the US. ChicTypes, a French company took the idea that men usually dislike shopping for clothes as a starting point and then created a personal shopping platform sending personalized clothing selections to the customers’ houses.
Catwalks were and still are a way for designers to showcase the entirety of their creativity. Using digital solutions is a way to enhance their imagination. As early as 1999, visionary designer Alexander McQueen organized a live display of robots spreading paint on a model’s dress. More recently, in 2016, Chanel used robots instead of models to walk down the runway. In terms of design, Iris Van Herpen always provides show stopping garments with 3D printed clothes such as her super famous water dress in 2011.
Mixing retail with fashion shows, Burberry was one of the pioneers of the “See Now Buy Now” technology allowing customers to get their hands on an item without having to wait for it to drop in stores next season.
Instagram — the most visual social media — always showcases latest fashion trends and news. This is why Lil Miquela — a computer-generated model — has reached the incredible number of 2.9 million followers. She even has influencer deals with enormous brands such as Calvin Klein or Ambush.
To complete Instagram, new fashion apps are flourishing on our phones, the most promising ones being 21buttons — a social media where you can share your looks which instantly become shoppable — and Plaiz — a French “anti social media” where users can share their outfits to an edgy community, with no likes & followers system.
I hope you have enjoyed discovering the crème de la crème of Fashion Tech innovations. We are only witnessing the beginnings of this bright sector. Stay tuned on our social media to follow along with our progress !