Immediacy seems to be a growing concept within the fashion industry. How so? Well, it’s only been days since Instagram added shoppability to their Explore page, and now British department store Harvey Nicholls is introducing something similar – but inside their brick and mortar stores.
Via touch screens, customers can experience videos with brand collaborations such as Calvin Klein, and simply touch the screen to get more info about products that they’re interested in – and then instantly add them to their digital shopping cart.
In a time where a lot of physical stores are struggling, and there’s definitely a need to find new ways to keep customers in there. But instead of inspiring more shopping in terms of quantity, maybe these innovations could be used to inspire better, more sustainable shopping instead?
Just a thought.
The fashion world is currently being flooded with all kinds of tech. Some of them aim to make online shopping easier, others to technically enhance the clothing itself, while yet others are all about the holy grail of it all: style.
That mysterious quality close to the concept of taste – hard to grasp, hard to just acquire. More like something you either have or don’t have, a personal trait that just seems magic in a way.
But what happens when technology starts to claim to know something about style? Is it even possible? Well, there are several attempts actually. Like Amazon’s style assistant Echo Look that analyses your outfit through a combination of algorithms and human fashion specialists. Meanwhile StitchFix sends users clothing suggestions by cross-referencing a client’s preferences with what others of similar age and demographic have bought. Meanwhile Matchesfashion.com works with personalized avatars that can try on digital clothing samples to help you see what it might look like on your body, while Net-a-Porter is trying a type of tech that will creep right into your data looking for info on what you plan to do next (events, trips and the likes) – and suggesting purchases accordingly, as reported in The Guardian.
But is that style though? And does all this help us require it? Well, I guess that depends on what we feed the algorithms. If we tell them to check for mass approval (likes on social media for instance or whatever has worked in the past) we will get just that and no progress at all. But on the other hand, are we comfortable programming algorithms to be audacious and bold the way our human style role models are?
Maybe that is the kind of trait we still prefer in humans.
Material innovation company Bolt Threads have done it again! After the collaborations with Stella McCartney, on the spider silk gold dress and the Falabella mushroom bag, they are now releasing their own first ever commercial product: the The Bolt Projects Mylo Driver Bag. The bag is handcrafted with canvas and leather grown from mycelium – the part of the mushrooms that grow underneath the ground. Apart from the bag being very stylish and is reported to be as strong as regular leather, it’s good news for the environment too. Creating it didn’t involve raising any livestock, creating any land erosion or methane emissions.
To create the bag Bolt Threads collaborated with Portland-based brand Chester Wallace, known for its handcrafting. At this point, the bags can be preordered on their Kickstarter page to be delivered to backers in the spring of 2019.
Photo credit: Bolt Threads
Photo credit: Bolt Threads
Photo credit: Bolt Threads
How about if you could search on specific features you’re looking fo in a piece of clothing, instead of just browsing endless amounts of items until you find what you’re looking for? Fast fashion brand Forever 21 just launched a visual search tool for online shopping, that helps with that. In their feature ”Discover your style”, shoppers can click on features such as sleeve, neckline and cut and under each category find images of the different features instead of text. In other words, you don’t have to know the correct term for feature you’re looking for, you just have to know what it looks like.
The company hopes that this will help shoppers with their more subtle likes and dislikes, and also remove language barriers for shoppers.
Above all, I think it will save shoppers valuable time, not having to browse through the enormous range of products within each category, that fast fashion brands are associated with.
They have already brought solar charged jackets and an indestructible kevlar hoodie to the world. Now twin brothers Nick and Steve Tidball, the men behind the clothing brand Vollebak, is releasing the first edition of a graphene coated jacket.
So what’s the deal with graphene then? Well, actually it is the thinnest possible layer of graphite, the same material that’s used in pencils. It’s only one single atom (!) thick, and also the strongest, lightest and most conductive material there is. Which makes it suitable for a number of things, now including clothing.
The Vollebak jacket is reversible, and is coated with graphene on one side and the other not. Depending on how you wear it, the jacket will interact with both your body and your surroundings in different ways. For instance, the jacket will not only conduct your body heat, but it can also store it and thereby functioning like a radiator. Also, bacteria can’t grow on graphene.
“When clothing can start conducting heat and electricity all sorts of cool things can start happening. It means that over the next decade your clothing can start to become a platform for other innovations. And that’s really what we’re interested in”, the team says in a press release.
Forget next season. The future is the thing to look for in fashion right now. Starting on September 4th, Munich Fabric House and fashion tech magazine FashNerd are collaborating on an exhibition/experience that will focus on the fashion of the future. Designed as a bespoke walk in-closet, the event will showcase a lineup of fashion tech brands such as Wearable X, Lorna & Bel, Thesis Couture, Emel + Aris and Pyrates that demonstrate the potential and advantages of fashion tech.
In a press release about the event, Lorna, the founder of Lorna & Bel said:
”We see the fashion space as having limitless potential for all kinds of tech integration, big and small, especially with technology being so central to our lives. It is exciting to see brands integrating technology into fashion in fresh and innovative ways. The Wardrobe of the Future gives us a peek into how our wardrobes will evolve. It shows how fashion can put technology to work to give us performance-driven products that make our lives a little easier while still speaking the language of style.”
The event will go on until September 6th.
Lorna & Bel, bags with built in phone chargers.
Smart fabric clothing from Pyrates.
Buy, wear and throw away without climate guilt. A dress designed to die. That’s how Swedish Fashion Tech company Streamateria describes their new compostable dress, planned to be released in the fall. They have found a wood based material to work with and are now looking for collaborators interested in developing it. Not much else to report on this right now, but here’s a first look at the dress:
Screenshot from Streamateria, LinkedIn.