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[February 08, 2014]
Fashion Goes Technical
(AllAfrica Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Globally there are over 4,3 billion smart phones in hand and it is safe to say that most things, from how we communicate to the way we consume and experience fashion, have entered a new dimension.
Digitally printed textiles, stylish gadgets and wearable computing, are making the ever-growing partnership of fashion and technology more dynamic, including digital magazines featuring augmented reality and websites creating virtual experiences out of the everyday and fashion-forward takes on a whole new meaning.
In publishing this was driven by the emergence of blogs and social media, which took fashion off the page, through videos and interactive brand experiences on Facebook, Google+, and the platform beloved by the industry, Instagram. "Blogs are a new avenue to communicate about fashion, in a real-time, interactive way," says Mellisa Mazingi, who claimed Blogger of the Year at last year's Zimbabwe Fashion Awards for her Zimfashionista.com portal.
British brand Burberry dedicate 30 percent of their marketing budget to digital, hoping to entice the audience that they have dubbed the "Millenial Consumer". They got £2 billion in revenues last year.
In Silicon Valley all the hype is about wearable computing. With the launch of Samsung's smart watch, the Galaxy Gear, and Google Glasses, wearable technology has reached a turning point.
Google Glasses technology features Google Voice Search, a built-in camera, microphone and GPS, allowing the high-tech specs to take photos and video, plus act as a smart phone, navigation system and more. Such devices could soon be the norm as the technology needed to create wearable devices is becoming smaller and less costly, allowing fashion brands to experiment more.
3D printing is a process for making a physical object from a three-dimensional virtual model.
In fashion manufacturing, printers work by building tiny layers of materials like plastic, metal, and yarns on top of each other.
It was only a matter of time before Lady Gaga became a fan of this technology and who better to push this trend? Known for breaking fashion boundaries, she has already graced red carpets in a few 3D-printed outfits, most notably Studio XO's 3D-printed Anemone dress.
However, what is really exciting about 3D printing is not subversive styling. It presents an opportunity for innovation that radically transforms the function of fashion through advanced engineering, and an accelerated manufacturing process. Nike remains ahead of the rest as the first company to release a shoe with 3D-printed elements. Launched in 2013, the Vapor Laser Talon incorporated a 3D printed plate that will help American football athletes perform at their best. It will still take some time to become affordable for everybody, but how long before we are able to print shoe soles in 3D that will scan your feet and print shoes that fit perfectly? This also works for fitting bras, trousers, shirts and jeans, providing a customised fit, without endless shopping.
On the downside, the fashion industry employs 4.2million people worldwide and that number will be reduced as dressmakers and craftsmen become redundant.
Furthermore we would have to reconsider our perspective of luxury in fashion because if a piece can be created simply by typing a code into a machine what is the difference in quality of a piece by designer A from designer B? Although we are not yet dressing like characters from The Jetsons, the future, as seen in 80s sci-fi movies, is undoubtedly in our reach.
Mercedes are testing self-driving cars, and Virgin Galactic is set to launch commercial space travel. So, what high-tech outfit will you wear on your first trip to the moon? Copyright The Herald. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
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