Slide to unlock: fashion in the digital age

By Kendrah Villiesse

From the 2004 Blockbuster movie “iRobot” to the recent YouTube star, human-like robot Sophia, people are fascinated with the idea of robots. Just as technology dominates the consumer world, the fashion industry is using technology to create high-quality and top performing garments.

Robots showed up on the runway when fashion designer Philipp Plein debuted his fall 2018 line as models strutted alongside Transformer-esque robots Feb. 10 during New York Fashion Week.

The point was to highlight how technology and fashion intertwine, according to a Feb. 11 Vogue article.

Aside from Plien’s show, the use of innovative technology has been slowly infiltrating the fashion world since 2006, when supermodel Kate Moss appeared as a hologram in Alexander McQueen’s Fall 2006 fashion show during Paris Fashion Week.

Technology is also playing a major role in both design and fabrication.

T-shirts with heart-rate monitors, dresses illuminated with LED lights and fabric that is responsive to stimuli are all new forms of technology spurring the fashion industry to produce new types of garments, according to a Jan. 10 2017 article from the Business of Fashion.

Likewise, a May 2013 experiment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology posed the possibility of creating self-healing fabrics that uses self-replicating properties of E. coli bacteria to produce fabric that will automatically mend any tears.

Other organizations are asking big-picture questions on the best and most ethical ways to use technology in fashion.

 Founded in 2013 by Karen Harvey, The Fashion Tech Forum helps create a safe space for fashion and technology leaders to work towards the future. The forum invites professionals from both worlds to discuss bringing fashion into the digital age so that it will benefit the consumer.

Technology also filters into the retail experience.Dressing rooms have become equipped with “smart mirrors,” which use sensors to read the ID tags on clothes and give outfit suggestions according to what a person is trying on, according to a February 2017 Bloomberg article. The mirrors also offer different available color choices and lighting options.

Technology is undeniably changing the way we wear, consume and talk about fashion. The use of this technology is making clothes more durable, more elaborate and higher functioning. It is making fashion shows more entertaining and more innovative. Technology is fashion’s future.