Fashion in a world of Technology - Marvels in the Retail World
Imagine a scenario where you’re trekking up a steep incline to cooler altitudes. You wish you’d carried along a nice warm hooded parka in your backpack but the ascend uphill would have been treacherous with even that marginal increase in weight on your back. Advances in science have made what seemed like distant dreams a reality in the modern day. Today, innovators like Polar Seal manufacture heated full sleeve tops that can keep you warm for up to eight hours at a stretch- All at the touch of a button. Think it suddenly gets sunny and you begin to feel warm? You can lower the temperature on your top again at the click of a button. These fabrics not only keep you warm and insulated when you need; they are also super soft and breathable so you stay fresh longer. Top that up with a baseball cap from Zeroi that not only keeps the sun off your eyes, it’s completely water repellent and lets you do away with headphones completely. What does that imply? No more annoying earphones popping out of your ear every time you go for a run. Wireless and hands free with built in bone conduction technology, this cap sends vibrations directly into your skull and eardrums so you can not only listen to music on the go, you can answer phone calls and pretty much be connected on Bluetooth without physically blocking your ears! What’s more? It’s batteries are chargeable just like our phones.
Today, with the backing of focused research and development, much of the developed world is able to make the move from outsourcing manual labour to devising fully automated supply chains that custom make bags, shoes, clothes and accessories based on an individual’s requirement.
In the last decade or two, industry giants like BMW Motorsport have paved the way for high performance biker gear in conjunction with brands such as Kevlar (known to develop polymer bullet proof fabrics eight times stronger than steel to protect you from fatal accidents) and Gore Tex (fabrics that keep you cool in warm weather and warm in cooler weather). With jackets and trousers boasting inbuilt features such as the ability to Wick Perspiration, repel rain water and dry instantly when washed; this is just the tip of the iceberg we intend to explore. Gone are the days when one had to suffer near claustrophobia as one donned a rain jacket. The heat it trapped inside; mixed with the heat, humidity and dampness on the outside made for the most unpleasant experience reliving old monsoon days.
Teflon coating on suits and jackets prevents staining from the occasional glass of wine that might topple onto it. Technological intervention ensures Uniqlo’s thick puffer jacket can be compressed to the size of a modern day smartphone; thereby saving on space. So you can forget about those voluminous worries and concentrate on fun outdoor activities. The Japanese retail giant also uses Airtex as a registered trademark for its technically evolved breathable products. More innovations in material include the Neoprene wet suit that ensures body temperature doesn’t dip to the point of hypothermia setting in when deep sea divers plunge into icy cold waters.
Technically driven apparel can be broadly classified under three headers-
- Classic Tech Wear - which as the name suggests tips the scale for Function versus Form. Although stylish too, this kind of clothing could be lined with Gore Tex and the likes and are meant to protect against the elements. Brands like North Face, Columbia, Patagonia, Discover and Snow Peak are global leaders in this category.
- Athletic Tech Wear - produced by the likes of Y3 and Nike Labs ACG which focus on highly evolved pieces than your average workout wear. What they produce is extremely ergonomic and these could include shoes that are more sock like, such that the wearer feels he’s running barefoot and not with a ton of baggage around his ankles.
- Future Utilitarian Tech Wear - these could involve even more highly advanced Anoraks and Utility Vests that could possibly be fire resistant, wind and water resistant and possibly ones that could double up as two or three functional garments in one. Innovations in techno textiles have made it possible for textiles to change colour based on the mood and emotion of the wearer thanks to several tiny LED bulbs fitted at the surface of the garment. 3D printing ensures garments can be printed and moulded on the spot based on a scanned image of the wearers body which furnishes details pertinent to size and measurements. Robotics and techno textiles have come together with StretchSense developing prosthetic arm like gloves that senses the slightest of finger movement and aids rehabilitation of trauma victims. For the sneaker junkie, Viserole has developed a smart sneaker that allows its wearer to display pictures, videos, animations and other interesting stuff from their smart phone on the sides of the ankle high boot, all with the click of a button.
Not to be left behind in providing a seamless retail experience to consumers, technology has made for captivating instore displays and heightened instore experience, reducing stress on hiring manpower. Leading manufacturers of athletic footwear - Nike has mega touchscreens in stores abroad that tell you all you need to know about each product, scan your running pattern and other parameters and guide you to make the right choice in the end. A store of theirs in Gangnam, South Korea went a step ahead also showcasing to it’s customers live how the shoes would fare in the rains. This is far beyond our regular touch and feel of a product.
The rate at which technology is advancing, it won’t be long before wearable technology takes over fashion and the consumer gets to customise what he or she wants to wear from 3D printing kiosks in a matter of minutes and at the push of a button. Standard sizes in our opinion might become a thing of the past.
We can’t wait to see what else the future has in store!
Author: #Sneha Sundareshan