When we imagine the future, we think instantly of flying cars and living on Mars, among other things. But, imagine what the fashion industry will evolve into as technology advancements keep reshaping the world!
The commonality between the fashion and technology industries is that they are both a breeding ground for innovation. In both industries change is constant. In fact, much like its effect on all aspects of our lives, technology has a transformational impact on the apparel retail space too.
Today, instead of browsing racks in clothing stores, shoppers can browse AI-powered recommendation engines on e-commerce websites to find their next suitable outfit. Such technological trends are impacting traditional fashion retailers to adapt next-level technologies to offer a unique in-store shopping experience to customers.
Ways in which Technology is Reshaping the Fashion World
With the help of digital technology, we have started producing innovative new materials and clothes. Many of these materials produced are so attractive that they blur the difference between man-made and natural materials. The new materials churned out and the materials used for the production of new materials are both reshaping the fashion industry.
To cite an example. Fashion developmental house Modern Meadow uses yeast cells in developing a bioengineered leather-like material to avoid using any animal products.
Fashion and Apps
As consumers and fashionistas, we use smartphone apps quite regularly to analyze the latest fashion trends, compare prices, and be alerted of the latest promotions.
Sales associates are also making optimal use of mobile apps. Mobile app equipped sales associates are able to look up products, get customer information metrics, and checkout customers. They can also see which customers are currently shopping online, with an aim to extend more personal customer experiences in real-time.
Fashion houses, being manufacturers of their product lines, place great weight on apps to improve and control their internal processes. They keep a check on their internal processes like new product development, production planning, the production schedule, manufacturing, and quality assurance and distribution. As a result, new products come to store shelves faster and cheaper, passing on added value to customers.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Fashion businesses place great value on AI implementation. Through AI, they are able to achieve supply chain optimization as well as reap benefits from data analytics. AI predicts the demand, identifies real-time and future fashion trends and helps in creating a more personalized shopping experience for the customer.
To maintain customers coming into their physical stores, luxury retailers are using mixed reality, such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), and AI technology to engage customers with enhanced experiences in-store.
- In London, watch brand Tissot allows shoppers to try on their luxury watches virtually at Selfridges and Harrods’ windows.
- Christian Dior has developed VR glasses called Dior Eyes to give visitors a behind the scenes preview of their ready-to-wear fashion shows.
- New York City’s flagship Rebecca Minkoff store features fitting rooms with interactive mirrors. The mirrors let customers set the light mode, to see what the outfit they are trying on would look like on a sunny day, or in a nightclub.
Smart clothing is fast becoming a reality; some of the biggest names in fashion are making this possible. We’re not merely referring to traditional wearable technology like smart specs or fitness trackers here.
Recently, fashion mega-brand Levi Strauss & Co collaborated with Google to manufacture what is being credited as the world’s first smart-jacket. What makes the jacket smart is its inherent applications. These include providing directions to a selected destination, changing the music on your sound system, and interaction with numerous other devices – activated by touching the jacket’s cuff.
Evolving Design Practices
Social media’s growing popularity can never be understated. We are spending more time on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a multitude of others. Social media technology is influencing the nature and direction of fashion across global boundaries at a fast and highly impactful way.
The presence of a fast pace of growth in the number of users has led to opportunities for buyers to have more influence in fashion trends than ever before.
Advancements through technology are reshaping the fashion industry by storm. From enabling consumers to virtually try on luxury watches through VR to using AI algorithms for predicting future style trends, fashion brands are using new technologies to bring greater automation and personalization to every aspect of the shopping experience.
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