Future of Fashion

The future of fashion is code, not couture, says designers

As wearable tech matures, designer collaborations are everywhere. From Swarovski to Tag and everywhere in between, wearable technology is moving away from horrid black boxes and into luxurious designs. And as the tech gets smaller, top designers can push the boundaries even further. However, this not where the future of fashion lies.

3D printers and bots are gracing fashion designers’ studios along with dress forms and spools of filament. Mashable, an online magazine, reports that 3D printers are giving way to a new aesthetic in haute couture: algorithmic garments and accessories that proudly display their origins in tech.

Francis Bitonti, a designer, says, “Technology redefines material as information, as data. With 3D printers in homes, consumers are becoming producers.” Bitoni has unveiled the Cloud Collection aimed at the masses. Consumers can download the code for $1, but non 3D printer owners must pay extra to print from 3D Hubs, which have partnered with Bitonti for the line. “We tried to make something where the consumer could engage in the narrative of the object and be part of the design, but not necessarily become the designer,” Bitonti says.

As told to Mashable magazine, Bitonti envisions 3D-printed couture branching off into two enterprises: the mass-production model, where any consumer can become a maker at a low cost, and the luxury model, where high-end garments are created using 3D printing processes, in addition to luxury materials. He predicts code will compete alongside couture for the fashion industry’s profits, just as an album is now sold on iTunes instead of as a physical object.

Our perspective

Like any other work, the fashion designers will not be impervious to the threats presented by the advances in technology. The starting point to counter the challenges posed by technology is to understand and use technology itself. A fashion designer in future will not have his skills limited to knowledge of the fashion world but will also need an upgraded skillset consisting of the following:

Coding: The designers will be expected to understand some coding or use software to design.

Modularity: The designers need to make modular designs so that their design could be marketed to a wider market with little tweaks here and there.

Rapid prototyping: Like all industries, speed to market will be the determinant of success in the fashion industry as well. Therefore, the emphasis should be on very quickly evaluating and iterating a design than traditional visuals

Collaborative design: Participatory design involves not just opening the design process up to users but also collaborating with other designers and interested parties like environmental and sustainability professionals.

Material science: The clothes of the future will be made of diverse materials(organic fibres, plastics bags, food items) and also through widely different processes (hand dying, air dying, digital printing, etc). Knowledge of these diverse materials and processes will be an absolute must.

Technology: Fashion workers will be expected to be tech savvy and understand and use technology for their designs. With the impending widespread use of smart clothing, fashion workers will need to keep themselves abreast in the latest from technology.

Business skills : Designers will not just need great design skills, but great business and entrepreneurial skills too. They will need to be comfortable delivering presentations, writing business cases and dealing with key business stakeholders.

Gazing through the crystal ball

  1. Fashion is now within the reach of everyone! Look for opportunities to ‘buy’ and print your own dresses.
  2. Fashion is fast emerging as an interesting business for entrepreneurship. World is your market, there is always someone who’ll be interested in your design/fashion ideas/products.
  3. Fashion is moving in two directions – pure design work (highly creative) and pure manufacturing work. Both are increasingly a big business opportunity; the first is global and second local.

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