High-tech fashion: crypto models, AR shows and printed clothes

What can be considered fashion tech and which brands were the first

Today Fashion Tech is divided into three major

cluster.The first is Wearable: the production of smart clothes that can warm the wearer or keep the original look throughout the day (wrinkle-free fabrics). Wearable devices (watches, bracelets and even jewelry with displays) are also included.

Another cluster is sustainable fashion, or“Sustainable fashion”: these are technologies aimed at the most environmentally friendly production of clothing and footwear, the fight against excess consumption. Over the past 15 years, clothing production has doubled, while 20% of new items are never worn. In sustainable fashion, it is primarily about eco friendly at all stages - creation, processing, recycling of used things: so far 84% end up in landfills. For example, using fabrics made from lyocell (recycled eucalyptus) or hemp like Armani does, from recycled plastic like Calvin Klein and Lanvin dresses, creating eco-leather from woody mushrooms. Even polyester, thanks to Fashion Tech, is more environmentally friendly and allows five times more air to pass through.

The third cluster of Fashion Tech is High-techfashion, "high-tech fashion". The direction that has yet to develop. This includes the already mentioned 3D printing used for prints in haute couture models by Hollywood fashion designer Iris van Herpen. But it is unlikely that High-tech fashion will be put on stream in the near future due to too expensive and energy-intensive production. At the moment, such things are produced in limited editions: the British Emel + Aris sold a heated coat (powered by infrared radiation) by pre-order. However, Gen Z with a desire for individuality can increase the demand for highly functional items and make them more affordable.

Fashion Tech actually appeared in Russiarecently, and so far it lacks an integrated approach to process automation. However, some brands are trying to develop in this direction: the Russian company LavLan offers clothes that do not wrinkle during the day thanks to a special composition with mechanical stretch and special processing. And the Russian innovative solution from Sc-Tek (authored by scientists from Skolkovo) repels dirt, water and oil from the fabric.

Not much is said and written about Fashion Tech,therefore, it is still difficult to match technology and fashion. However, the industry has long been influenced by digital fashion, cyber fashion, artificial intelligence and AR / VR. Fashion designers are actively collaborating with developers: Levi’s collaborated with Google and released a smart jeans for cyclists. The left cuff uses innovative fiber to create a sensory zone. It is touch sensitive and allows you to turn on voice control, control calls, navigation and music.

Of the brands better known to consumersUniqlo (mass market) is known for using technology in combination with fashion. The company has long been offering consumers high-tech products. For example, ultra-thin, but really warm down jackets with fibers from the Japanese brand Toray, which creates carbon fibers for the components of the Boeing 787.

How cultural changes led to new technologies

Collections of popular fashion houses becometechnological and futuristic. Some of the first were Vetements, Balenciaga and Gucci. At the same time, everything was and is based not on the need to use innovative technologies, but on the interest in the idea itself. People and creativity remain the main ones: they stimulate the search for ways to implement unusual projects. And the fashion trends themselves do not appear out of thin air, but from the surrounding reality: it is the people on the streets (and today in social networks) who set trends and influence the future collections of designers.

Things new in cut and materials have led tothe penetration of technologies into fashion that few would have thought about ten years ago. For example, about creating a wardrobe using a 3D printer. The first was Gabi Asfor, who was interested in unusual printing back in 2009, but only by 2016 he managed to create dresses that would not break in motion. With jewelry, things are better: the Spanish brand Mango has released a collection of jewelry made using 3D printing. True, they are not available for purchase in all stores.

Sports brands are also experimenting with 3D printing.So, Adidas began testing the technology in 2014, and in 2015 released the first model of Futurecraft 3D, unusual in shape. The result was not only an unusual design, but also time savings in production - the sole can be made in two hours (and at the push of a button) instead of a month of continuous work. In addition, only 150 people work at the 3D-printed plant, and more than 4 thousand at the standard one.In Russia, innovative sneakers from Adidas first appeared in 2019.

However, the brand did not stop there:robotization has been added to 3D printing - another trend in digital reality. Now in the production of the company are sneakers, in which the sole will be made through the familiar 3D printer, and the upper will be weaved by a special robot.

Uniqlo, on the other hand, uses 3D knitting technology.This has nothing to do with the printing described above: we are talking about special knitting machines that allow you to rebuild the process of creating a thing. If, for example, for a dress with a standard technology, parts need to be made separately and then combined, then the 3D technology of the MACH2XS WHOLEGARMENT machine allows you to immediately knit a thing in a spiral into a single piece. In addition, such things are able to adapt to the shape of the body, thanks to which an excellent fit is achieved. The upper part of the sneakers can be made on the same machine.

Fashionable image of the future

Fashion is cyclical, and all we see now isrethinking past ideas. In the 1960s, designers reflected on the fashion of the future and were inspired by space. It was the Space Age: André Courrej in 1964 proposed synthetic materials that resemble plasticine and knee-high boots. Things quickly became massive. Following Courrez, fashion designer Paco Rabanne proposed chain mail dresses made of metal plates, and Pierre Cardin - patent leather knee-high boots, using the latest developments of scientists. A new wave of interest in technology surged in 1995, when Thierry Mugler showed a robotic shiny shape.

There is an opinion that there is nothing to surprise with fashion,she only tends to repeat the past, and in the last 10 years fashion design has not seen significant upheavals. Everything that could be amazed appeared in the 1990s. However, fashion has simply moved to another level: the progress of the textile industry in the 21st century has made it possible to move away from impractical futurism to efficient and use technology to its advantage. For example, using robots in the manufacture of clothing - developed by SoftWear Automation, LOWRY, can reduce the workload on seamstresses. Machine vision allows you to control the movement of the needle, tissue movement. At first, the robot worked only with towels and rugs, but today it is already able to sew jeans patterns. However, the active introduction of robots is hampered by the fact that tailoring is work with fragile and capricious materials, far from a clear and simple algorithm. Another direction is virtual images that rethink the ratio of the real body and its digital continuation. So, in the summer, AliExpress, together with the Russian company Malivar, launched a collection made on the basis of neural networks and computer graphics. Arranged clothing such as digital skins for computer game characters. And such a character is a photograph of the customer, for which the technology and the designer creates a digital outfit for the figure.

AR and fashion shows

The first online screening is credited to Yves Saint Laurentand Pierre Berger in 1996, the Austrian Helmut Lang, who in 1998 posted photographs of his collection on the Internet. He talked about the need to try in a new way to convey your work to the masses. But in any case, the impetus for the fashion industry was the online show of Alexander McQueen - a live broadcast from Plato's Atlantis. After him, New York Fashion Week in 2011 began to be broadcast annually on the network, followed by other fashion shows.

In 2017, VR shows appeared:Lumier Garson offered a VR option in parallel with the regular show, but it was more of a PR move. There were not enough virtual reality devices on the market, their cost was hardly affordable, and most people still preferred a regular show via YouTube. But in 2019, the idea of ​​VR took a new birth: the world's first virtual show was held, where crypto models participated. The idea came from Trashy Muse, which hosted a show in Paris at Spring / Summer 2020. EP7 gallery featured digital models and influencer virtual counterparts, presenting the collection in short videos. A team of 100 people was involved in the show, the costs were not reported.

Coronavirus reality has become a powerful pushfor organizing virtual shows using AR technologies. In March, Shanghai Fashion Week went online and attracted over 150 designers and 6 million viewers on its first day. It was even possible to organize sales from the virtual podium. And in April, Global Digital Talents in Russia had to be held online for the first time. The designers have prepared virtual presentations, lookbooks and even short films. The broadcasts lasted two days, and in between shows offered DJ sets and lectures from media directors and illustrators on TikTok. Experts do not exclude that the idea of ​​virtual screenings will take root and develop. It could give serious savings in production - only those things that will definitely buy would be sewn.

However, there are also disadvantages.Firstly, fashion shows are also a get-together, which they visit for the sake of communicating with like-minded people. Secondly, according to the designers themselves, not everything can be conveyed through the screen - for example, cashmere requires a "live" acquaintance, tactile study. But there is a trade-off between the advantages of the tactile world and the digital space. For example, the first AliExpress show used digital and AR as a continuation of the real world. Holograms and virtual bows became an addition to the catwalk and model passing, and QR codes and screen panels helped to connect to the application with details about each of the bows and the ability to immediately buy your favorite things from the catwalk.

In addition, technologies like AR allow bothattract the consumer. At first, it could be found only in certain applications - for example, at Lamoda or ZARA for virtual trying on things you liked. After that, the industry stepped forward and suggested using AR in fashion shows to add effects and also sell digital clothing to the consumer. They will never be able to be put on live, but you can “wear” as much as you like in social networks. Some brands have come up with more practical ideas: for example, Carlings used Instagram filters to add up to 20 prints to a regular white T-shirt.

High technologies are actively becoming fashionable andare firmly entrenched in it, because the consumer, especially Gen Z, is ready. And despite the fact that most of them start with leading houses and the luxury segment, middle and mass markets are quickly adopting experience, gradually making high-tech clothes and shoes available to a wider circle of people.

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