Technological Advancement in the Clothing Industry

Introduction
The fashion industry has always been evolving, but the only question that has ever been asked about such evolution is whether it has been ethical enough? Covid -19 has been changing things, and at a faster pace, for the fashion industry, also giving consumers time to mull over their fashion choices. This has led to a pushback towards fast fashion, and its appeal is slowly fading out. Technological advancement has been playing a great role in the development of the clothing industry, paving a good way and a strong foundation for sustainable paths to grow.

Brands have been dreaming up innovations, collaborating with technology to do better economically, socially, and environmentally even though sometimes it is in the form, of launching capsule collections. Covid-19 has made brands realize that producing large quantities of apparel months ahead without being sure if it will fully sell out or even not go completely out of fashion by the next season is wasting resources of their entire supply value chain.

As digitalization is quickly integrating with all parts of lives, brands are pushing to do the same with their products and manufacturing techniques. Here are some different ways that technological advancement is taking place and how other fashion brands can take inspiration.

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The Novel Materials
When we say materials we mean the innovations in raw materials, the technology used to create these new age apparel. It is an industry trend the new designers and brands, alike can get behind and make out a sustainable option. One material that has the most damage is plastic. So, of course, it would be the first material that would be taken as a subject of innovation, to try and reverse the damage even if it’s on a small scale.

For example- let’s talk about the brand Phabio.

Sukanya Dikshit with co-founders, Rishab Gupta, and Anmol Bansal, build Phabio into the brand it is now since 2019. They are building sustainable alternatives to plastic that are single-use. Innovated in a way so that it can be tuned in for any type of usage right from fibers to packaging.

Since their main aim was to reverse the damage done to nature, they started looking for materials that would be a good alternative to plastic, and the answer came in the form of PHA- this material is basically bio-based. Bio-plastics, if you will, is made through the fermentation of sugar and lipids and also waste produced by micro-organisms.

This material has:

  1. Thermo-mechanical properties
  2. Is Bio-degradable
  3. Can be integrated with any manufacturing setups.
  4. Made from non-GMO microbes.

Other forms of Novel fabrics include lab-grown leather. A complete sustainable option to get behind. It would also help if your business depends on leather as a material.

Another one is creating strong spider silk in a lab. To have a more sustainable option and to make the strong spider silk in a lab is being worked on for quite some time now. Many have achieved too, and are now even being used as replacement raw material.

Orange sounds like the most fully used fruit. Orange peel has many benefits, and the clothing industry didn’t miss a chance to try and use it for sustainable purposes. Fiber extracted from orange peel has become a most followed trend. These demonstrate how novel materials will truly transform the garments we wear every day. Look for new fabrics around the world, as this technological trend does not appear to be losing momentum.

Adaptive Clothing
When care providers and loved ones of people with disabilities discovered the need for convenient clothing, the “innovation,” or acknowledgment, of adaptive clothing, started to become mainstream in the 1980s. Though the idea has been in the market for so long, it truly was started taking seriously by brands and designers not so long ago.

Nike launched its own line of adaptive shoes called the FlyEase for adults and children. These shoes were easy-on zippered sneakers as compared to the normal ones so that the people who have difficulty with normal one’s would still become a part of the brand family.

adaptive shoe
Fig: Adaptive shoe by Nike

Tommy Hilfiger, too, came out with a clothing line of sportswear, jeans for the convenience of people.

As we mentioned, this technology has been in the clothing industry for some time now but has also been evolving. An adaptive clothing line that “continues to grow” with the person wearing, up to seven sizes.

adaptive clothing
Fig: Adaptive clothing

Ryan Jasin created this line by taking inspiration from the concept of adaptive clothing and it is truly a line of convenient clothing for anyone that uses it. You can normally wash it like you would your daily clothing, one can play wearing it, and it is fully sustainable.

Though the next example cannot exactly be mentioned under adaptive clothing, it is as close as it gets. This shape-changing clothing, designed by the Royal College of Fashion, can be used as a shade.

The original concept was aimed at refugee’s lack of ability to carry their personal items while commuting thousands of miles. However, with simple and clean fashion designers and sustainable designer brands looking to reduce waste generation, the concept of shape and functionality changing’ fashion garments has begun to gain grip.

Responsive Apparel
This type of technological advancement has many names and various types of innovations under its belt. One we definitely want to talk about is “Power Suits” from “Fuseprojects”. The innovation made by this brand is commendable and worth following in the footsteps of. They came up with clothes powered in a way that would help people with muscle problems to gain control back on their hands. These power suits enable the wearer to walk, stand for long periods of time making them fashionably good-looking too.

power suits
Fig: Power suits by Fuseprojects

Another example can be the active sportswear that is becoming popular nowadays. This technology integrated active wear works by reading data that the body and the environment are projecting. These responsive apparels are a result of designers testing the definition of wearability.

Another example-

Pauline van Dongen, a Dutch designer, stirred up a similar design in the form of a cardigan. The ‘Vigour Cardigan’ by Pauline is integrated with flexible sensors made of conductive yarns, which are crafted to carry out the research from the wearer and define the most productive exercises and stances of the body.

Repurposing Textile Waste
Paiwand brand was founded with a need to reduce textile waste and use the waste already out there to make comfortable, inexpensive fashionable items.  Ashita Singhal experienced during her internship days how various designers tried to reduce material waste but understood that even that wasn’t enough. She founded Paiwand, which looks at waste as raw material, uses traditional techniques to produce fabrics for home furnishing and apparel thus, creating employment opportunities as well.

Another Brand that Upcycles leather within the village where their workers and artists reside. A legacy of an 800-year-old craft is used to make shoes from upcycled leather. This Brand is called DesiHangover.

AR (Augmented Reality) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) in Fashion Industry
The use of augmented reality in fashion has gained tremendous popularity in the retail sector. A platform was launched to demonstrate the power of experience-based e-commerce by Gucci’s demo version of a luxury garment shop. Jumping on the trend, Zara too has created AR platforms for their customers across many of their stores.

augmented reality in fashion industry
Fig: Augmented reality in fashion industry (Image courtesy: Hemant Mishra/Mint via Getty Images)

The rise of such platforms has come at an appropriate time with the pandemic forcing people to shop online. Also, to generate enigmatic aspirations through one-of-a-kind outfits, dignified runway shows, and digitally enhanced models in fashion mags to design an elusive world in comparison to the one we live in.

AR-based Fashion and Fashion industry is the new orange.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now more than just automation of various functions. This advancement now includes designs created by AI- programs. This has now gone beyond just machine tasks in the fashion industry. It is crossing and integrating lines of creativity, AI, and some parts of human help.

Artificial Intelligence in fashion industry
Fig: Artificial Intelligence in fashion industry (Image courtesy: Handout)

What would you choose AI- created or Human created?

The above list and examples of technological innovations are just some of the ever-growing advancements in the clothing industry, one can definitely take inspiration from them whether to make changes in one’s buying patterns or manufacturing habits. Technology and nature can provide sustainable alternatives, we just need to search and innovate.

Searching and innovating- businesses may argue how it is easier said than done. But as we established earlier, how technology has infiltrated all parts of our lives there are tools and applications that aid businesses to perform research on their behalf all they have to do, is put in their requirements. One can even use technology to track data relevant to their industry or product thus, staying updated and making well-informed business decisions.

For instance, the businesses that use Market intelligence tools like TexPro, which derives rich and updated data daily, these businesses have an upper hand, can make faster and detailed decisions, always stay updated on the new technologies, the market prices, if they should venture on certain new grounds or expand onto different areas of the textile-apparel and fashion industry, and much more than who wait only moving when the industry has already moved 10 steps ahead.

We hope this information inspires you to start using technologies, sliding the small parts of doubts to the back of your minds, and growing your textile and apparel business to a new benchmark.

You may also like:

  1. Industry 4.0: Digitization in Garment Industry
  2. Industry 4.0 for Textile and Apparel Industry
  3. Impact of Technology in Textile and Apparel Industry
  4. 3D Body Scanning in Apparel Industry
  5. Automation and Robotics in Apparel Industry
  6. Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Textile and Apparel Industry
  7. Cloud, Mobile and Real-Time Information Sharing: The Future of Apparel Plant Floor

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