The fashion Industry is one of the most innovative sectors, and after the Covid-19 pandemic and supply chain crisis fashion industry is heading in a new direction. In the coming year new technologies, techniques and trends will shape how the fashion industry looks. Fashion technologies help with ensuring future customers will use clothing items that will have a low impact on global warming and will be sustainable.
Now let’s see the top 9 fashion technologies being used in the industry right now. In future, these technologies will be more mature and have an even broader impact.
Fashion brands are utilizing AI to improve customers' shopping experience, analyze data, increase sales, and trend forecasting. Brands have installed touchscreens across brick-and-mortar stores to provide customers with a unique experience. On their website, brands are using messenger chatbots that use AI to analyze users to suggest clothing that may appeal to them. This technology is the key to increasing sales as a customer is more likely to buy the first suggested item if it matches his/her preference.
Supply chain issues have plagued the apparel industry throughout the past year and even in the middle of 2022 supply chain is still a high concern. To combat such issues brands are utilizing trend forecasting using AI to narrow down the items most likely to be a hit and then analyzing supplier data to create a supply chain less likely to cause delay. Brands are gathering such data through tracking. FINARY, a British brand build an automated wardrobe planning tool that analyzes female customers' past purchase history and creates a unique look for them.
Another tool to track trends is intelligence Node, this tool uses Ai to match specific keywords, price points and many more data to match users with the closest matching product to their query.
Tommy Hilfiger and Gucci are offering virtual try-on designs which can allow users to see how the cloth will look on them. This technology is even enabling brands to show designs that are not in production, brands use customers' interest in the product to go to production.
The collaborative project between IBM and the Fashion Institute of Technology known as “Reimagine Retail” uses AI to show real-time fashion industry trends, themes, shapes, colors and styles.
AI technologies available to brands now show that as AI technology improves more, other brands will utilize these tools to improve the fashion industry.
Designers use novel fabrics to try to create unique looks and bring their idea to life. Eco-leather is not a sustainable solution as it sounds at first. Modern Meadow, a startup is using lab-grown leather to bring a leather fabric that does not harm the animal. Bolt Threads and EntoGenetics are using spider silk as an innovative solution.
In printing techs, an innovation from researchers at MIT uses “photochromic inks” that change color depending on the wavelengths of UV light. Google is working on bringing touch control to your clothing by using touch-responsive textile. The team behind Project Jacquard is using Ebb to create color changing fabric technology that may one day create clothes that change color based on mood or setting.
The tech here shows that novel fabrics are reshaping everyday clothing and many more are in research across the world. Innovation in novel fabric shows no sign of slowing down.
Internet of things (IoT)
IoT is bringing exciting changes to the clothing industry, brands are using IoT to design clothing that interacts with our surroundings and syncs with our phones. Smart clothing, wearable spaces, multi-functional designs, and responsive sportswear are a few technologies being developed. Future trends analysis shows as our lives become more connected with the virtual world; we would want our clothes to reflect that change.
One section that IoT can have a massive impact on is health tracking, as seen with the success of the Apple smartwatch people are keen to track their health more accurately than ever before. So, to cater to the need of customers sportswear brands are working to bring clothing that functions as a digital health tracker which will measure your heart rate, and monitor steps, and calories. This data will then be synced to your phone for later access. LOOMIA, a San Francisco-based textile company is creating soft flexible circuits that can be embedded into cloth.
Data Analysis for Fast Responses
Data analysis technology is enabling businesses to any disruption such as supply chain issues, store issues and inventory issues. Brands are using software tools to track products across the supply chain from concept design to production and then shipping. The software provides instant feedback which helps eliminate most of the issues at earlier stages to reduce faulty pieces.
There are many startups using cloud computing to provide real-time production data. This creates a kind of connected network of devices that previously only communicated through emails. Cloud-based supply chain management solutions are expected to surpass $11B by 2023.
Advances in mobile technology have brought huge powerful computers into our pockets. Customers use mobile to find items, pay for them, and drive back home. This is only a small part of mobile phones in our life.
Mobile commerce is becoming more popular as Apple and Google bring their digital wallet solutions online. Customers can buy an item instantly while travelling and don’t have to wait to enter their credit card information, and in the future mobile could replace our wallets entirely.
Instagram is a great example of growing mobile eCommerce; brands are all present on Instagram and are using this software as a channel for sales. Vinted and Depop apps are sustainably focused e-markets replacing traditional avenues such as eBay and Gumtree.
Virtual and augmented reality (VR)
Facebook's recent name change to ‘Meta’ is a sign that technology is moving towards merging the physical world with the online world. The fashion industry is following this trend as well. VR is being used as virtual try-out rooms. This technology makes customers more likely to buy products after trying them on in VR. This also enables customers to share their looks across social media before buying the product.
OBSESS enable brands to create 3D, 360-degree shopping experience online, mobile, and social channels via 3D Commerce Cloud. VIRTUSIZE is a size matching software for customers. EFI Optitex is also a size fitting software.
Selling digital clothing online is also a popular trend. Brands are building unique looks for customers to use while playing their favorite games.
Online vector editors
Adobe Illustrator is a critical software for software however new alternatives are gaining popularity. Online software such as Vectr, Boxy SVG Editor, and Repsketch are bringing new designers into vector graphics. A core benefit of using such software is its ability to be used on any machine. These tools are also easy to get started on. Pre-built templates provide an easy starting point and their cloud nature enables work to be done from either home or office. Users are also able to access their work on the go. Many designers use tablets such as Ipad for design work, cloud solutions make the perfect tool to use on these devices.
The global pandemic and rising prices made customers aware that clothes are not one-time-use items. You can sell your clothes to platforms that make them good as new for the next customer, increasing their life-cycle. According to thredUP’s 2021 Resale Report, the resale market is expected to reach $77 by the end of 2022. Furthermore, Global Data reported that the resale market has grown 53.3% in the last five years. This trend of finding further use for existing clothes should increase in the future. This will encourage a large retailer to build resale collections.
Fashion creates unique stories and as users focus more on the environment, stories from fashion would shift towards creating unique looks that are consistent with users’ new outlook.