Years ago, we all predicted flying cars and the ability to transport into another part of the world with the touch of a button via a magical machine. Today, we’re somewhat there. Perhaps not as advanced, but with 3D printing and AI/ VR, we are progressing at a speed we can’t even keep up with.
The fashion industry has adjusted but also embraced new technology. From VR mirrors in dressing rooms to robots that cut and sew fabric, processes are becoming easier and faster. Technology will continue to dominate the decisions made in the fashion industry, and we examined how this will pan out in 2022.
Ease and simplicity is becoming a determining factor in so many parts of our lives. Technology allows us to achieve this, but most importantly, when it comes to fashion, we are no longer limited to ready-to-wear retail. Now, if you go into a store and can’t find the style you’re looking for, there usually is no other option. However, in the near future, you will be able to turn to digital fashion designers or companies such as TUKAcad who will make customisable clothing. From there, you can specify the details you want (like size, color and pattern) and get a made-to-order piece relatively fast.
According to a McKinsey report, “Digital assets such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), gaming ‘skins’ and virtual fashion will edge closer to the mainstream, with some brands expanding into the digital ‘metaverse.’ In-app social commerce will play an increasingly important role in sales and marketing.”
So what does this mean for the luxury fashion industry? Sustainable fashion practices will be a lot easier to achieve, as brands won’t have to rely on spending on ready-to-wear, and have other options such as using 3D printing to minimise waste but also avoid over-spending on materials. It has the potential to be a win-win situation as profits could be higher and environmental damage could be reduced.
On the business side, made-to-order also enables brands and retailers to only make exactly what they need”
Digital sampling could be the new norm. Currently, to create new fashion designs, samples need to be physically produced and usually take up to several weeks to make. Not only is this time consuming, but it’s also extremely unsustainable and can create a lot of waste, especially if the final design is not approved, in which case the entire sampling process needs to start again.
With digital sampling, all that is needed is a digital device, which is used to create 3D patterns and cuts. Sanvt explains that the “production of these digital samples is not only much cheaper, it also drastically reduces waste, as no materials (except a computer) are needed. Not only that, 3D samples can be created in a matter of hours – as opposed to regular samples that often take up to several weeks to be made.”
Many companies such as L’Oréal have started using AI and VR to further elevate their brand image. When it comes to fashion, the catwalk has been one of the first to embrace this new technology. More precisely, 3D runway shows will likely become a thing.
Congolese designer Anifa Mvuemba famously trended on social media in 2020 when her 3D catwalk presentation was released. The digital models walked down the invisible runway showcasing the designer’s creations from the Pink Label Congo collection featuring a series of vibrant colored designs on headless, three-dimensional silhouettes.Speaking to Instyle, Anifa commented on the ease factor “I wear a lot of hats, and I get it done every single day.”
This will likely pave the way for digital designers, where upcoming talent will learn how to digitally ‘sew’ and ‘cut patterns.’ Value will ‘translate’ into the digital world, meaning that most profits could shift into the virtual world. Instead of buying a collection from a physical catwalk show, the new norm would see a navigation towards buying off 3D collections.
The IRL threats when it comes to fashion and retail involves theft, however, this can easily convert into the digital world. A cyber attack will likely be the new dilemma when it comes to fashion technology and assets. As with the aforementioned NFTs, value and profits will be created online. “On the flipside, these opportunities will bring increasing threats of cyber crime and data loss, meaning companies will need to work hard on resilience in an increasingly risky digital landscape.” – McKinsey.
Many companies may miss the potential dangers of cyber attacks, however it will likely become commonplace with the rise of virtual fashion and retail. To avoid such threats, measures must be calculated and implemented by security teams, as you would when opening a retail store on Oxford Street. Our new dilemmas will revolve around the metaverse and therefore so will our solutions and creations.