Ambitious innovations in fashion have put technology firmly in the consciousness of the industry. Brands and retailers embracing innovation and the state of the art will better be equipped to compete in an age in which technology has a profound impact on the way we manufacture, retail, and consume fashion and apparels.
Fashion has been on a fast train through several centuries. From proximity marketing, to contact-less checkout, to online stores and everything in between, fashion is being revolutionized through innovations that are both creative and functional. By adding technological elements and capabilities to production, a more satisfying experience that meets the heightened expectations of modern shoppers will be cultivated.
Here, we have put together the top 10 tech-fashion changes that will get you on the edge of your seat:
Smart watches have created a lot of hype around the wearable-tech movement. The release of the interactive watches has already begun to phase out previous innovations in wearable tech like fitness trackers. Styles like the Apple watch offer added functionality, such as receiving phone calls and messages, accessing apps and using Apple Pay, as well as recording the users bio-metrics.
Recycling Food Waste into Yarn
Orange juice manufacturing results in piles of wasted peels and seeds–maybe as much as 25 million tons of waste a year. One startup pushing for ambitious innovations in fashion has developed a process that turns citrus byproducts into raw material that can be spun into yarn. With a working prototype, the team is ready to start testing the process in other orange-growing regions around the world.
The production of pineapples is another area where waste is becoming a resource. Piñatex uses the fiber of pineapple leaves and turns it into a soft, yet flexible material, which can be used as an alternative to PVC and leather.
Clothes That Make Payments
MasterCard announced the launch of a new program that will bring the company’s payments to a variety of new products: cars, clothes, wearables – and other things they haven’t even thought of yet. The company says the program brings to fruition the vision that every device will one day be a commerce device.
“As more and more ‘things’ become connected, consumers will have endless possibilities when it comes to how they pay, and will need all of their devices to work seamlessly together,” Ed McLaughlin, Chief Emerging Payments Officer at MasterCard, said in a statement.
So far, the program includes partnerships with fashion designer Adam Selman, General Motors, wearable technology company Nymi, smart jewelry designer Ringly, and Bluetooth locator TrackR.
“This program eliminates the boundaries of how we pay by delivering a secure digital payment experience to virtually anything – rings, fitness and smart bands, car key fobs, apparel, and whatever comes along next,” McLaughlin said.
Bluetooth Enabled Clothing
From gloves to hoodies, a series of styles have been developed that incorporate Bluetooth technology. Designer Asher Levine designed a whole collection of pieces that featured microchips, allowing the pieces to be tracked in case they were lost or stolen. When the chip was paired with a phone, it could display the location using Google Maps. BearTek developed a pair of Bluetooth-enabled gloves that sync to your mobile device or GoPro camera. You can perform commands like answer calls, play music, and lock functionality, just with the touch of a finger. See also Levi’s Bluetooth-connected jacket.
Fabric Out of Milk, Tea, and Coffee Beans
One of the ambitious innovations in fashion is built around your everyday beverages – milk, tea and coffee. As the high-tech sector is taking off in making fashion more sustainable, other, more-humble, technologies are just as innovative and really, really cool. Food products being turned into wearable commodities. German microbiology-student-turned-designer Anke Domaske uses milk to make an “Eco Milk Fiber” called QMilch. High-tech sports clothing company Virus uses recycled coffee beans for their Stay Warm line of cold-weather performance apparel.
Plastic Bags and Beer Bottles Finding New Life
Recycled synthetics, made with everything from plastic bags to beer bottles continue to make a splash. In much the same way that other materials and bamboo are transformed into thread, the upcycled synthetics are broken down into a fine particulate, melted, and extruded into fiber. The I Am Not A Virgin jeans pictured above use a mix of 25 percent bottle fiber and 75 percent cotton, the resulting material is soft to the hand, yet is durable and performs as denim should.
Phone Charging Pants
Adrien Sauvage and Microsoft teamed up to design the world’s first pair of phone-charging pants. The wearable chinos, took six months to create, and featured a wireless Nokia charging plate in the front pocket that uses an electromagnetic field to recharge your battery. Since then, other brands like Joe’s Jeans have released denim styles that can also charge your mobile phone simply by slipping the device in your pocket.
With so much data at our fingertips, retailers have the opportunity to create an opportunity tailored specifically for a person, bringing a level of exclusivity into your weekend trip to the mall. Neiman Marcus has already started experimenting with our perception of ‘the changing room experience’ using interactive memory mirrors. Get a 360 degree – “does my butt look big in this”– view, send with friends or share on social media. Even the in-store retail experience is evolving for the social era. See also Hi Mirror the award winning personal interactive mirror.
Temperature Regulating Materials
Whether you’re working out, or just a victim of hot or cold climates, there is nothing better than something that can regulate your body temperature. Brands like Under Amour and Nike have introduced these special materials that can respond and control temperature to keep people comfortable, especially while being active. Japanese retailer Uniqlo has developed a whole line of fashionable basics called Heat-tech that can retain heat and fight odor during those cold weather months.
3D printing is one of the biggest and coolest innovations for fashion. Many designers like Iris van Herpen and brands like Nike have showed us the amazing capabilities of the new technology, from designing intricate dresses to football cleats. 3D printing is set to become the future of the fashion industry.
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