Technology and Innovation in Fashion Industry
Department of Textiles (Fashion Technology)
DKTE’S Textile & Engineering Institute, Ichalkaranji, India
Intern at Textile Learner
Fashion is form of self expression that is related to clothing style, the accessories one carry and lifestyle one follow. It is the looks that admire one’s personality. Fashion is set of trends that come into market. Popular designs become trend and these trends then set fashion examples. Fashion not only implies the most famous trends it also play vital role in depicting one’s personality in terms of visual context, indirectly is visual communication. It shows the taste of consumer and show their likes and dislikes. New fashion ideas get introduced through different music albums, videos, books, television, etc. This fashion is an endless and changing process. When history of fashion is considered until the middle ages clothing should protect body was the driving force behind it where as from 15th to 18th century clothing should please people and customer should buy and fashion should become the expression of power. While in 20th century the fast fashion came into limelight.
Fashion industry is distinctive from other field of manufacturing. It is always ruled with the intention that demands the changes in existing lifestyles. Fashion Industry also known as allied Industry is way of bringing fashion into limelight by serving the purpose in producing the innovative clothing promote the different styles on the basis of desire. The flow of fashion Industry go through various phases that are firstly procurement of raw material that is fibers, producing yarn and fabric through fibres, producing the different styles which is originated by the designers and then going to wholesalers and retailers for finally reaching the targeted market through various promotion and advertising techniques. There are various fashion market such as haute couture (designers expensive and exclusive designs), Ready -To -Wear (RTW) clothing which are sold in finished condition, diffusion, bridge and mass market. Fashion comes through different trend set by the designers from 15th century onwards a society began to form where in they always wanted to express their prestige through their clothing styles and set some trends.
History of Fashion Industry:
Initially the reason was simply oriented for protecting the body. Later when fur and animal skin were placed around the body to protect by cold, rain and injuries as well. Religion and social status also stated influence on the choices of clothing. In the Middle Ages the mentality got changed now clothing also serve aesthetically covering the body. Thereafter the merchants and craftsmen earn more they started to make profit. In addition to these the people who can afford the certain clothes has achieved the prestige that is more money implies that they have earned more purchasing power. In addition to these the fashion then also started to set a status of power of self-expression and these was clear in absolutist France in 18th century. After this the fashion was introduced through magazines. Magazines and media have accomplished fashion for hundreds of years. Various styles and trend used to be represented through magazines and people can learn many things through it and can develop fashion sense. Fashion evolution can be seen through magazine pages. In 19th century onwards the industrialization (mass production and haute couture) was a blessing for fashion industry from economic point of view. Through machine advancement the mass production started which achieve more target in less time. The idea of haute couture also got introduced and first fashion show in Paris took place due to which brands started to grow their own identity and brought up a new fashion concepts and styles. After the Second World War, fashion changed more. Now more and more people starred producing clothing of more fashion oriented which makes them fashion conscious and these got possible due to more and more mass production. Fast moving trends something new is also added over a period of time.
Role of Fashion Industry in India:
Indian fashion scenario is known for its cultural heritage, gentility and colorfulness. It came up with the beauty of elegance which has sustained through innumerable decades. The nature of fashion Industry in India is dynamic. Textile industry in India is among the largest segment of India’s capital goods sector. Fashion Industry in India covers a wide range clothing style right from any occasion purpose till normal casual wear. Fashion Industry in India is the contribution of fashion photography, pattern making, garment construction, accessory designing, make-up artist, fabric weaving, fashion editorial, manufacturing unit, modelling, fashion designers here deal with all the available resources and they introduce new designs into market. Indian fashion accounts 0.2% meagre in world market. But it is gradually increasing as people are becoming more fashion conscious and trying to be loyal to brands.
Innovation in Fashion Industry:
Innovation is key to future development in terms of competitive business. Innovation is bringing up newness and new perspectives towards the processes involved in doing things over a period of time there are different innovations that took place in fashion industry where change is mandatory. Innovation in fashion industry can be brought up through new fibers, dyeing techniques, finishing techniques, new fabric, etc.
Innovation in Fibers:
A. Orange Fibre – This is Italian company which make fabric through citrus by- products. These fibres is made by extraction of cellulose from fibres that are neglected from processing of orange.
B. Pinatex fibre (Pinneapple leather) – It is made by pineapple leaves that have been discarded by pineapple industry. It forms alternative leather. Tooche is brand that uses Pinatex for their shoe product.
C. Tencel – It is Austrian Manufacturing lenzing process carried out by keeping in mind thought of sustainability. It has good absorbent, hygienic and breathable property. Brand that uses tencel fiber is hoot, 3rd season.
D. Cupro – It is alternative for silk. It comes through plant- based vegan which has good drapeability and better breathability and washer- friendly as well. Brand that use are 3rd season and Altar.
Technology in Fashion Industry:
1. Use of Artificial Intelligence: Nowadays brands use AI to increase customer shopping experience, analyze data, and improve sales by forecasting trends and managing inventory. AI include algorithm that keeps safely the record of customer journey in order to provide right product to right person. Example – Truefit which gives feature of online fit engine which helps to check the fit with brands and new styles.
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2. Needle free sewing: Nano textiles are a sustainable alternative to using chemicals to attach finishes onto fabric. It uses a process called cavitation which helps to embeds finishes directly into fabric. The products of Nano textile can be used for wide range such as water repellency, antibacterial, etc. Ultimately it helps to avoid the hazardous chemicals to be used.
3. Digital Runways: Due to covid-19 pandemic period there were a lot of events which got cancelled and one among them was fashion shows on global scale so by inspiration of Tokyo fashion week the idea got striked that why not to carry the fashion shows with the help of digital platforms without live audience. Using technology for restructuring the traditional events of fashion shows into digital Runways. Avatars are replacing models on runways. Using catchy backgrounds, dazzling costumes, etc are still a way to success. Along with it cost efficiency, automation in process is also getting achieved. Blockchain technology is also ensuring that these objects are original.
4. AI Designers and Stylist: Modern technologies have set of algorithm which are versatile in nature and give much more features. Artificial Intelligence makes the next generation of in-store robots appear to process human-like intelligence. AI Designers help retailers to have complete look and can manufacture multiple outfits with single product. Out of stock items can also have better suggestions through AI designers and Stylist. AI can also recommend the best style suited for any body type along with hair colour, eye colour and skin tone. It makes process more seamless either online and offline shopping.
5. Blockchain Technology: For getting the innovation part to be worth it, using blockchain technology is good way to achieve it. Blockchain technology has the potential to reshape the process of business to procure, manufacture and sell fashion. Blockchain can helps to exchange information conveniently and easily and improve the experience. It helps to resolve the issue regarding supply chain. It helps brand to track their products right from raw material to end product. The companies can understand the process more transparently so that if any step is creating problems then that can be traced back easily.
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6. Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR): Augmented is method which helps to transform the way companies engage customer. This technology makes easier for customer to experience product virtually and that too with much more comfort zone. It helps to achieve the expectations of custy and can make companies to understand about what to sell. Virtual Reality provided complete different experience from the real- world environment whereas Augmented reality provides real-world experience as an overlay. It shows things more in realistic form. There are various applications of augmented reality that are Virtual try on, Virtual fitting rooms, Virtual make-over, Virtual tailors.
7. 3D Printing: 3D printing in fashion has added more innovative things to deal with it. It focuses on creating more complex geometric designs and wearable art. 3D printing has to create accessories, build prototype, more sustainability efforts and more customization can be achieved. 3D printers also motivate designers to switch to more complex designs since it has much more viability of these designs. 3D printers help to print only the amount of area needed.
8. IoT (Internet of Things): Smart clothing, multi-functional designs and more massive development are happening over a period of time. The IoT enables data sharing, inventory management, increase efficiency and productivity. Fashion accessories like smart watch are more popular nowadays which dominates the fashion accessories market.
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9. Sustainability: Sustainability us achieving the end goal with less harm to environment. The issues that need to be considered when sustainability is thought of are water consumption, energy emission, chemical usage, water creation. Fabric like organic cotton, organic hemp, organic linen, organic bamboo, semi-synthetic: lyocell, Modal, Pinatex, Apple leather, Cupro. We take resources and use water and chemicals along the way, to create a garment. You buy and wear the garment and then throw it away (or donate it) when you’re done. But then what happens? Generally it goes to landfill or is incinerated. Today, only 20% of all clothing is recycled. In order for the fashion industry to really become more sustainable, brands need to work towards developing circular systems whereby garments become fully recyclable after use, reducing the need to create virgin fibres.
10. Fashion Rating Apps: The number of fashion rating apps is on the rise. These apps are designed to provide ethical ratings for fashion brands. These ratings are based on the what brands has impact on people. The rating system aggregates standards, certifications and publicly available data into consumer-ready point scores. These apps promote transparency across the fashion industry and to allow customers to make conscious purchasing decisions.
11. Biodegradable Polyester: Mango Materials is an innovative company that produces bio-polyester, a form of biodegradable polyester. The material can be biodegraded in many environments, including landfills, wastewater treatment plants, and the oceans. The novel material can prevent microfiber pollution and also contribute to a closed-loop, sustainable fashion industry.
12. Textiles From Trees: Kapok is a tree that grows naturally, without the use of pesticides and insecticide. Moreover, it is found in arid soil not suitable for agricultural farming, offering a sustainable alternative to high water consumption natural fiber crops such as cotton. ‘Flocus’ is a company that has designed a new technology.
13. Leather from Apple: Apple pectin is an industrial waste product, often discarded at the end of the manufacturing process. However, a new technology developed by Frumat allows the use of apple pectin to create sustainable and compostable materials. The brand uses apple skins to create vegan leather materials, very durable and luxurious. Moreover, this type of vegan apple leather can be dyed and tanned without toxic chemicals.
Thus fashion is changing process and it requires that over a period of time the innovation should take place so as to satisfy the demands of consumer in market in terms of fashion. Growth of fashion industry much more depends on innovation. More we bring up the innovative styles through new fibres, new fabric, new styles and trend. Fashion develops individual personality through different styles they follow. Therefore Innovation is must and mandatory in world of fashion Industry.
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Founder & Editor of Textile Learner. He is a Textile Consultant, Blogger & Entrepreneur. He is working as a textile consultant in several local and international companies. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.