Is the merger of technology and fashion inevitable?


fashion technology lights runway mannequin

In today’s fast paced fashion industry, keeping up with trends and maintaining popularity is becoming more difficult than ever for brands. Why so? you may ask. Well, the answer to that is complicated – a major factor is that the industry is becoming more competitive, almost everyday you hear of a new and emerging brand. Not only this but most new brands use innovative promotional methods. For instance, some merge their brand identities with strong social causes that resonate with a large group of consumers. Others use innovative material and production methods to gravitate consumers towards their brand. These are only a handful of ways of how each brand attempts to set itself apart in a saturated market.

Fashion Technology forum speakers experts

During the annual Fashion Tech Forum in October 2017, many speakers gave their personal opinions about where the fashion industry stood in today’s market and how the tech industry could help improve some existing issues. Most speakers at the forum made it very clear that there is a lack of unique products and services, and that the market ‘Needs Innovation’. It’s evident that the technology sector has and continues to witness major transformations on a daily basis.  However, it’s interesting to see the correlation between of how the tech and fashion industry affect one another. On one hand the tech industry has limited experience working with the fashion industry in comparison to other industries, making technology in fashion less accessible. On the other hand the limited use of technology in fashion has restricted the tech industry from introducing innovative products as there is not enough ‘technology in fashion’ market information.

There have been numerous brands that have attempted to merge these two industries together. For example:

 Levi Strauss and Google created a denim smart jacket.

fashion technology denim jacket blue gps google levi

 Hermes and Apple launched luxury watches.

hermes apple watch leather fashion technology

 Apple and Nike+ launched athletic clothing and gear to track and record workout data.

nike apple watch leather fashion technology

Speakers at the forum discussed how, ‘creating a space with diverse talent will help shrink the gap between the fashion and tech industries’, and how the with expertise of both industries readily available it becomes much easier in determining the success of certain products and services.

fashion technology forum future

Technology in fashion is cool but, how far should it go? Speaker Angela Ahrendts, cleared the air by saying, “eventually everything will become smart – we have to keep in mind that it’s impossible to do everything –  both industries should stay loyal to their brands and identities”. She advised if brands do to choose to merge they should focus on one function that is still resonates with their identity.  

So is staying ‘not smart’ going to be a ultimate differentiating factor in the Future of Fashion?

In my opinion, it will be but, to a limited extent. Because very much like today there will still be desire for the real, the vintage, and the organic.

What do you think? Do you think technology has a significant place in fashion? What is a super cool fashion tech product that you have seen or used?

Let’s start this conversation!

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Alexia De Brabandere

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