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The future of fashion: how technology is reshaping the industry

Posted by Kiran Saini on 11th September 2019

Many will be flocking to the UK capital this week – all in the name of fashion. London Fashion Week is making a return on Friday, with fashionistas from all around the world gathering in celebration of fashion, community, diversity and creativity.    

In light of this, I wanted to take a look at the evolution of the fashion industry and how technology is transforming the sector at a pace faster than ever before.

Connected jewellery and apparel

Wearable tech has been on the market for some time now, from the earliest days of the Fitbit to the latest iterations of the Apple Watch and Google Glass. Today, fashion leaders are merging form and function to make wearables more stylish and, well, wearable.

We’ve seen Rebecca Minkoff collaborate with Case Mate on its leather Lightning Cable Bracelet, which converts into a USB connector to charge and sync an iPhone on the go, making it “just the thing for tech-savvy girls,” according to the website. The golden clasp hides the connectors so you can wear it along with your everyday jewellery.

Swarovski worked with Misfit Wearables to create its “activity crystal,” an app-connected jewel for tracking workouts and sleep patterns. The crystal can be worn on a necklace or wrist cuff.

Beyond jewellery, the latest fashion tech innovations embed app-connected hardware right into our clothing too. Levi’s and Google teamed up on a line of smart denim jackets that can recognise gestures and perform various acts such as playing the next song in a playlist or declining an incoming call. Users can customise their gesture controls in an app.

The jackets rely on a material Google developed called Jacquard Threads, the “first full-scale digital platform created for smart clothing.” The threads are made with hyper-thin conductive metal alloys, which can be woven into natural and synthetic fibres and integrated with embedded sensors. They’re even machine washable! Fashion and function at its finest.

Get personal with digital stylists

Another trend that’s really taking off in the fashion world is AI-based digital stylists that give feedback on outfit choices or suggest alternatives.

For example, Amazon’s Echo Look is a “personal style assistant” that features a hands-free, voice-controlled camera for taking shareable pictures of your outfits, or for creating a personal look book.

The Echo Look includes a Style Check function that can give you a second opinion on your outfit, based on insights from the best in machine learning, plus advice from fashion specialists. The smartphone app also suggests items that pair well with clothes you already own to help you get more out of your closet.

Digital style assistants aren’t new, but the Echo Look was the first voice-controlled innovation in the industry. A number of fashion brands are also putting chatbots to work as virtual stylists.

Even luxury brands are testing digital stylists in select markets: Prada introduced a “personalised concierge” chatbot for its Chinese website.

Digital assistants have lots of personalisation potential in fashion. As visual search and recommendation systems continue to improve with AI, users will be able to send bot-stylists photos of items they like, and get suggestions for similar items.

From all of these examples it’s clear to see that technology is changing the game for the fashion industry. Fashion has always been a hotbed for innovation, and it will only continue to get bigger and better. With that in mind, I’m looking forward to seeing the new styles and innovations that will be launched at London Fashion Week this Friday! Watch this space.

Kiran Saini

With a degree in Communication and Media Studies from Brunel University, Kiran has gained invaluable experience of the media industry following her internships with a magazine publishing company based in London and an entertainment PR agency in Richmond. Her most recent internship, however, was with Wildfire where she got a real taste for tech PR. Her passion for media coupled with her new found interest in tech helped her secure a permanent position at Wildfire in January 2016.