Tech Innovations in Fashion for 2018
Fashion is the quintessential model of innovation and change, with the whole industry based on creating new looks and styles and setting trends. High fashion pushes boundaries and tests the limits of what critics and consumers find tasteful, and with the pressure eternally on to find the new and provocative, there is a perpetual challenge for designers and manufacturers to meet the demands of their customers.
Smart textiles have been around for a few years now, but new variants and applications are being developed all the time. Tech expert sites like whitesummary.com are useful for staying up to date with technology news, and smart textiles are likely to be one of the key influences on designers for the foreseeable future.
New Zealand has one of the most exciting marriages of technology and textile innovation courtesy of StretchSense’s smart bodysuit, a skin-tight full body covering that is fitted with 150 integrated capacitive stretch sensors. The suit will initially enable online shoppers to order clothes that fit, as it collects information on every aspect of the wearer’s body to ensure that the clothes ordered will be the right size. The material can also collect information about the way the wearer moves, which would be interesting as an influence on the design process.
In addition to smart textiles, bioengineered materials are being developed and could soon be on the catwalk. These materials are based on the structure of living organisms and the functionalities of the natural fibres they create. One example is Bolt Threads, a company that can produce fibres based on spider silk. As a material renowned for its relative strength, softness and robustness, spider silk is an ideal substance on which to model a new fabric.
Bolt Threads can also adjust the combination of properties to produce a custom product so that a designer could ask for more softness and less elasticity for example. Taking the idea a step further is Second Skin, who harvest raw materials from laboratory-grown micro-organisms, which they then turn into a synthetic skin. This skin can respond to body heat and has been labelled a “responsive” material.
A buzz word for every industry, and one that needs to be taken seriously. Fashion houses and retailers have been looking at ways to reduce their environmental impact, but the long-term aim is for the industry to become circular in nature, whereby every input to the process becomes waste neutral. In this model, any waste from one sector would be used by another sector rather than being discarded, and the energy and resources used would be carbon neutral by design. The realisation of this ideal could be some way off, but the industry as a whole is taking the concept very seriously.
The application of technology to textile design and production opens up new doors for fashion designers in terms of what it is possible to create. These new textiles are also inspiring both current and next-generation designers, making the future of fashion design look very exciting indeed.
13th February 2018
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post and the author’s views here do not necessarily reflect those of the blog owner. Threadnz.com occasionally receives monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for mentioning and/or linking to any products and services from this blog.
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