The above famous quote by American computer scientist Alan Kay is truer than ever for the fashion industry of India today.
A growing need for more functional and performance-based garments is driving innovation as fashion is evolving slowly but surely.
Long-term fashion trends are being driven by technological advancements
Technology offers an easy way to access recommended information or articles regarding any design or methodology, reducing the time and pressure to print collection or media.
- It makes it easier for new generations to access things and enhances learning abilities with the growing time
- Technology is majorly taking its rapid pace through digitalization
Impact of technology on distance learning
- Through digitalizing and technology growth, the most beneficial effect is growth of distance learning
- It is gaining prominence among youth nowadays and can help to upgrade them to better career prospects
Distance degree courses serve as a great alternative for students looking for further education anywhere, and through techno-friendly apps and websites, the youth can connect across the globe without having to spend on shifting at a different place.
Online courses, no doubt, offer much more freedom and flexibility and also help the students to learn at their own pace.
We are living in a very exciting era which is now being referred to as the industry 4.0.
Now, what is the essential meaning of this fourth industrial revolution in terms of fashion?
Once a home-based industry, textile has now become a highly specialized, sophisticated and skilled chain of activities involving new types of fibres and technologies.
A wave of innovative advancements have hit the textile industry — like automation and use of artificial intelligence — that have made production faster, better and smarter.
Remote monitoring, controlling and robotic production are now a reality.
Designers can now create structures and designs that never existed before, using computer technology. Like:
- 3D printing technology again, is one such innovation that is all set to change the face of fashion
- Laser-etched products are also increasingly being used by mainstream designers and retailers
- Fashion e-commerce, often touted as the hidden unicorn of the start-up industry, has attracted and repelled many investors
The word, “smart textiles”, is coming up rapidly.
Researchers at IITs and NITRA (Northern India Textile Research Association) are working on smart textiles that have anti-odour, self-cleaning and self-cooling properties.
Protective work-wear is being developed to combat occupational hazards in the field of fire-fighting, masonry, mining etc.
High-tech devices are finding their way into the wardrobes, providing solutions for energy generation, protection and information within the garments we wear.
Clothes that have solar panelled parts or technology that harvests energy from motion are paving the way for garments that can provide their own source of energy to power devices such as smart phones, GPS or fitness trackers.
There is also a thrust towards developing interactive textiles
The day is not far when our clothes will alert us if the weather is going to change or if air pollution levels are higher than normal by way of vibrations, LED lights pulsations or colour changing.
Nano-technology is being developed to clean the air that surrounds us.
Some of the biggest names in tech are entering the fashion space, for instance, Google has collaborated with Levi’s to develop a smart jacket using conductive fabric technology.
Or, we can take into account Apple’s fashionable smart watch as another example of the same.
We are truly in the digital age, surrounded by smart technologies and permanent online solutions.
Fashion is “big business.”
From a quantitative standpoint it dominates changes in consumer tastes and affects business accordingly.
Another example of the same is e-commerce which has been the biggest disruptive innovation that has changed the way we shop forever.
As author Dwight E Robinson said: “Fashion has, over the course of many centuries, made or broken an incalculable number of firms and entire industries as well. It has been a determining factor in industrial organization — in some directions inhibiting, but in others facilitating standardized production methods.”
Brands are also using rich data from transactional systems and non-traditional sources to take informed decisions about planning their merchandise to provide the right product at the right time and with the right pricing.
Designers, influencers and bloggers
- Technology is also changing popular fashion choices
- Influencers and bloggers on social media are now making an impact
- Designers can now use artificial intelligence to collect data from social media to understand customers’ inclination
This also means that there will be increase in job titles like chief innovation officer, digital supervisor or analytics manager.
The practicality part of it
While the list of these stupendous innovations is endless, many of the technological innovations may remain a wonder on paper till mass production levels are reached.
It is a challenge for the designers to keep the garments flexible, breathable, lightweight and suitable to a range of uses while incorporating new technologies.
The high costs involved in production also need to be balanced by economies of scale.
Thus, it is of utter importance to create smart, aesthetically pleasant products that seamlessly integrate innovative technology and blend functionality that will take fashion to the next level.
For the future designers, I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.