There was a time when online shopping was considered a bizarre concept. Absurd, right? However, as Net-a-Porter founder – Natalie Massenet – mentions in the video below, it was only 16 years ago that she had to convince people that the idea of shopping from your tech device would be a good thing. This video by i-D, brings together fashion industry professionals to share their views on the direction the fashion and tech intersection is heading.
To recap some of these industry heavy-weight’s thoughts and ideas that stood out in the short film produced by Director Ben Fries:
Adapt: Like any other industry, you have to acclimatize to the changes of the time. Many designers may argue that they have their own styles but in the pursuit of self-expression and staying true to your craft, you have to ensure you don’t wind up obsolete. As Massenet put it, “I think the most surprising thing is the speed with which technology has been adopted, and how you can be left in the dust if you haven’t moved on very quickly.”
Functional: While it’s all fine and dandy to have a gimmicky piece on the runway for the entertainment value, designers need to keep in mind that functionality is the most crucial element of their pieces. They should essentially have the everyday man or woman in mind.
Balance: It’s about using tech to be open to the masses but still perpetuating that air of luxury, opulence and prestige. Protecting brand identity shouldn’t alienate the brand from the audiences.Social Media Footprint: Tech has given the modern fashion model a platform to be heard and have more power in their corner. But with such great power comes responsibility, which Supermodel Coco Rocha advices should be taken up through setting up active online social media accounts to strengthen your personal brand.
Create an Experience: Recounting her experience of multimedia catwalk performances with a hologram of herself, Rocha believes tech will make the runway more dynamic and act as an aid to bring fashion, music and dance together. Unlike the static runway, the stages will be more interactive allowing audiences to experience designs with more of their senses.
Perfect fit: This is an area that the fashion industry needed sorted ages ago. It’s exciting that there soon could be the possibility of making wearable clothes from 3D printing that fit your exact body size and shape. It would eliminate the size range, which has a margin of error, and provide clothes that fit and suit your personal frame. This would definitely alter the shopping experience.
Media Accessibility: Photo shoots have moved from being hush-hush events to live streaming, media frenzies. Its fashion working with tech to give their audiences a front row seat from anywhere in the world. A way of feeding their fans insatiable appetite for more info from their brands. But also gives them a chance to connect with the brand.
3-D printing virtues: What was so fascinating about this concept is the idea that it offers more possibilities fabric-wise. The aim is to create fabrics, such as cotton, wool, natural fibres, and leather in less time and in a way that minimizes waste.
Fruitful Collaboration: It’s about looking at computers as more than just means to an end but as the end product too. If we change our thinking, perhaps all the suggestions that they mention in the clip such as self-cleaning clothes, clothes that charge your smart-phone, shirts we print at home as soon as we order them online, or clothes that can be worn in any climate, can become more of a reality. And in a shorter time frame too.
Platform creation: ecommerce has given the new designer, who may be cash-strapped or can’t transition into a store-setting yet, the chance to still get their name out there to make a name for themselves.
Upgrading Curriculum: This goes back to the point of adaptation. Giving designers the right tools and exposure, schools will then be giving them their best fighting chance in whatever market they graduate into. Runways shows are shifting into creating experiences.
It may have been released slightly over two years ago, but the ideas aren’t any less inspiring. If anything, it serves as a nudge to push the boundaries and still be functional. As an industry, looking at what areas the local fashion scene could benefit from technology. Not only solving problems in the industry, but providing much-needed innovation to shake up the industry in order for an unstoppable revolution.