4 Tech trends that are transforming the fashion world

Undoubtedly, technology is changing the way people shop - be it through social media apps, retail shops or augmented reality (AR). Brands are adapting to these changes for customers to have a better shopping experience. 

Innovation and Technology
 Min read
April 29, 2022

From the invention of sewing machines to absorbing the rise of technology and e-commerce, the fashion industry has always been at the forefront of innovation. As one of the biggest industries in the world, it is projected to rack up to $3.3 trillion by 2030. And today, fashion technology is growing at a faster pace than ever. 

Undoubtedly, technology is changing the way people shop - be it through social media apps, retail shops or augmented reality (AR). Brands are adapting to these changes for customers to have a better shopping experience.  Technological changes have covered everything in the industry, from trend forecast and design to production and sales. While artificial technology has taken over the production process with machines sewing and cutting fabric, clothes are being worn in virtual reality as well.

Here's how technology has transformed, automated and personalised the fashion space.

Digital experience

Amid the pandemic, most of us have forgotten how to shop offline. Online shopping has made it simple for customers to shop, compare products and receive advice from fashion experts available on a plethora of shopping websites. As a result, retailers are now developing more immersive in-store experience to entice customers. Fast fashion giant like H&M has already stepped into this changing world by bringing in the first Metaverse store. 

By 2025, the online fashion industry will be worth $1 trillion, with an annual compound growth rate of 7.18%. Now the customers have shifted from passive observance to enabled dominance. They want to interact, belong, influence and be the brands from which they buy. Customers also care about the perception of the goods they buy and own, that’s why a vast majority of them use digital channels before, during or after making their purchases.

To cater this audience, digital fashion now allows users to choose samples, try-outs and digital showcases which means reduced manufacturing costs and lower carbon footprints. And with the pandemic altering the scenario, brands are now reinventing themselves with offers of pluralism and variety. 

Artificial intelligence

For the past few years, artificial intelligence is being used to enhance customers' shopping experience, analyze data, boost sales, forecast trends and offer inventory-related guidance. Features like chatbots are being used by every fashion website to enhance customer experience. The technology behind AI includes algorithms that track customers' journeys to match them with the right products.

Some other profitable avenues for AI are supply chain management, trend forecasting, and customer service tools. For example, with AI-based real-time inventory tracking systems, business houses have been able to save time and streamline warehouse management and operations.

AI-enabled technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are also trying to bridge the gap between online and in-store purchase experiences. Experts say that the pandemic will hasten the shift to online shopping by five years. AI is also enabling visual search, like text-based search, scans and recognizes user-input photographs and delivers the most relevant search results. Customers can search for what they want without explaining it, making purchasing online more straightforward. 

Novel Fabrics

Novel fabrics are arguably the future of fashion. Designers are now trying to adapt this fabric to set themselves apart and appeal as a sustainable option to the customers. 

The base yarn for the novel fabrics is created with fibres made of two different synthetic materials- one absorbs water and the other repels it. The strands are coated with carbon nanotubes, a special class of lightweight, carbon-based, conductive metal. The fabric can automatically regulate the amount of heat that passes through it, helping a person stay cool or warm depending on the weather conditions. 

The fabric was created by researchers from the University of Maryland, US. Scientists discussed the research in the journal Science, in a paper titled Dynamic gating of infrared radiation in a textile.  The fabric constitutes a new type of active or smart material — a class of materials that change their colour, stiffness or other property in response to some prompt. “This effect opens a pathway for developing wearable localized thermal management systems that are autonomous and self-powered, as well as expanding our ability to adapt to demanding environments.,” the research paper read. 

Under different weather conditions, strands of the yarn compact and activate the coating, which changes the way the fabric interacts with infrared radiation. They refer to the action as ‘gating’ of infrared radiation, which acts as a tunable blind to transmit or block heat. An example of a smart material already in use in sportswear is Reebok's PureMove sports bra. It incorporates a texture-changing gel that adapts its firmness in response to different levels of movement.

3D Printing

Imagine, printing high-fashion dresses using 3D printers in your living room. Currently, 3D printed clothes are exclusive to haute couture but as technology is being adopted by the masses, it will soon take over fashion trends. 

The technology will give freedom to the designers in terms of geometry as it will become possible to create intricate designs without much hassle. From accessories and shoes to dresses, 3D printers can develop all. It is also well-known for being a sustainable option as there is no waste as opposed to textiles. 

What are the benefits of 3D printing?

-Can reduce negative environmental impacts of the fashion industry. 

-Allows easier customisation, such as tailored sizes.

-Brands can produce smaller batch sizes and it will eliminate the need to wait for weeks for inventory shipments. 

-Promotes innovation as tech brands are creating prototype smart clothing using 3D printing. They are incorporating technologies like mood sensors, colour-changing features and attention span trackers.

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