✍Aenco Academy #34: Fashion Tech: This Is How Technology Changes the Fashion Game
The fashion industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the global economy. From AI algorithms predicting customers’ preferences to robots producing the actual garments, technology has speeded up every aspect of the industry in order to understand and engage with their customers better. The term ‘Fashion Tech’ refers to the use of technology in our digital age by the fashion industry. With the current pandemic pushing shoppers to e-commerce further, companies are forced to work on their online platforms and their digital strategies. This article looks into how innovative technology trends have transformed the industry and explores the potential of technology for the industry in the future.
Tech and Design
Brands have used technology and statistic to understand their customers better. AI (Artificial Intelligence) is now the strongest designer in the industry. By collecting data and patterns from mass samples of customers, AI prognosticates broader fashion trends to ensure brands’ latest designs can be accurately delivered to fit customers’ tastes. The technology aims to target customers precisely and predict the company’s production level accordingly. Project Muze (2016), created by fashion platforms Zalando and Google, uses algorithms to create designs with a predictive design engine, based on customers’ preferences that are recognized by its network. It showed pieces for fashion experts and collected users’ preferences and interests on colors, style, textures, and other aesthetic elements to create new designs. In addition, AI is also automating in online platforms, such as it allows brands to understand individuals’ styles so as to personalize fashion items for them. Solely by analyzing customers’ engagement with visual content and their browsing history, brands can engage with them closely by understanding their shopping habits and fashion preferences to customize fashion items that fit the particular style that the customers desired.
Tech and Manufacturing
The industry was long advanced by technologies such as 3D printing and synthetic fabrics. However, in recent years, socially conscious shoppers are more and more concerned with the negatives of fast fashion, and with the help of technology, sustainability is a crucial emerging trend across the industry.
Technology can reduce the carbon footprint of raw materials and so the manufacturing process can be environmentally friendly. CLO Virtual Fashion (CLO) is an example that communicates fashion by using technology. By using the 3D garment simulation technology, CLO allows users to create virtue prototypes to visualize their clothing designs. Not only can it decrease the number of samples wasted, but it can also provide scientific garments’ data for users as references. In addition, more and more brands are willing to design an entire line with sustainability materials. In 2019, Adidas has created sneakers with recycled ocean plastic, while Prada has also invested in their new sustainable line, Prada Re-Nylon, in which it produces its iconic Prada bags with regenerated nylon that was obtained through recycling discarded plastic from fishing nets, water bottles and textile wastes in the ocean.
Another example is Modern Meadow who aimed to take the lead and immediate climate actions to influence the industry. Integrated with a range of bio-fabrication technologies, they have successfully created lab-grown leather that is cruelty-free. They have also created ‘photochromic inks’ which can only change color when exposed to UV light but also environmentally friendly.
Tech and Merchandizing
The one technology that changes the fashion game is definitely blockchain technology which is mainly used to ensure the physical-digital link between the product and their identity. Such as by scanning a garment’s label, consumers can view every step of their clothing journey on the map, including the entire manufacturing and distribution process. In 2017, blockchain start-up Provenance has worked with London-based designer Martine Jarlagaar to traced the journey of raw materials in the supply chain, such as shearing wool, right up to the finishing of the garment.
AR technology is being widely used in the dressing room. By combining the real and the virtual world, shops allow customers to virtually try on clothes at home, to see life-size models with clothes in-store and to change the colour of the garment within the same collection without taking the garment off. The ability to visualize fashion in real-time and the interaction ensures the engagement of the consumers with the garments, which highly increases their chances of purchase as it allows them to have a more informed and confident decision-making opportunity.
Technology also helps with the actual merchandising process. Established in 2012, Intelligence Node offers retail business intelligence software to assist users to create competitive pricing policies. The platform provides real-time analysis of competitors’ pricing, retail strategies, promotions, and their targeted customers’ feedback automatically and thus allowing its users to keep up-to-date with the merchandising situation of the industry across the globe.
2021 stresses the importance of technology for the industry. It is going to be the year in which the fashion industry will have to rely on Fashion Tech to improve the quality of their product, their production process, distribution formats, and the engagement within sustainable practices. With physical stores being put on hold, the pandemic proves us the inevitable need of using technology to empower new fashion bu
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