If the tech fits, wear it – technology in fashion

If the tech fits, wear it – technology in fashion

Bringing tech into textiles, recently French label Coperni caused a huge stir and viral moment at Paris Fashion Week by spray-painting a dress on famous model Bella Hadid during their runway show. Designers Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer teamed up Fabrican Ltd, the company behind the Spray-on fabric, to deliver a jaw-dropping performance using the innovative wearable technology. But wearable tech is not just limited to spray-on fabric in today’s evolving fashion industry. 

In Asia, Chinese startup HeartDub has developed technology to provide virtual fabric samples to clothing manufacturers. Its key technology gathers data on textile materials and digitizes the production process, using the software to create virtual fabrics that mimic the properties of the real thing. The startup aims to digitize logistics in the apparel industry and provide online solutions for the development and selection of textile materials, and the production of clothing samples, while sharply loweing the cost of developing and designing fabrics for fashion brands.

Artificial Intelligence in fashion retail is here to help

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are the main driving forces changing the face of manufacturing and retail fashion. The Asia-Pacific is estimated to be the fastest-growing region in the global artificial intelligence in the fashion industry due to the high penetration of smartphones, tremendous use of social media, and e-commerce websites. 

According to an industry market research report, artificial intelligence in the fashion market in Asia Pacific is expected to grow from US$ 55.1 million in 2018 to US$ 1015.8 million by 2027, driven by the uptake of artificial intelligence in the industry and the accessibility to huge amounts of data, real-time consumer behaviour insights and increased operational efficiency.

The advent of natural language programming (NLP) has enabled the fashion industry to interact with users more naturally. In 2018, the retail industry invested US$3.4 billion in artificial intelligence for capabilities such as expert shopping advisors, automated customer-service agents, and omnichannel merchandising. Increasing customer demand for e-commerce will reach USD 953 billion by 2024 .

In Asia, the face of retail fashion is changing with more companies embracing artificial intelligence technology. A Hong Kong startup called Code-Create is focusing on artificial intelligence in design, powered by InnoHK Research Clusters of the HKSAR Government. 

Code-Create uses an AI search solution known as the “mixi solution ”, an intelligent fine-grained fashion attribute and colour recognition tool.for both online digital  and fashion  physical stores. Customers can easily find fashion items with their preferred attributes and colours within a second. Fashion brands can exhibit their products online based on precise colour and attribute grouping through auto-tagging technology. 

Shien, a Chinese online fast fashion house has a market valuation of US$100 billion and enjoyed $16 billion in revenue in 2021, according to data presented at the Asian Leadership Conference earlier this year. The hugely popular brand among Gen Z shoppers,was one of the first fashion brands to use TikTok to market its products with 177 million downloads in 2021. 

The company also established a C2M (“consumer to manufacturer”) exclusive distribution network cluster in Guangzhou, with around 300-400 core suppliers. Artificial intelligence and automation algorithms have enabled super-efficient supply chain management and low pricing. 

ZALORA, a premium fashion retailer in Southeast Asia, launched the Zalora Virtual Assistant, for more automated solutions to their operations using machine learning and artificial intelligence. With the addition of the bot, shoppers are  able to track orders, process returns and refunds, and make exchanges through an Information Center, in multiple languages.. 

Coworking spaces are creative hubs for Fashion technology startups 

Fashion technology start ups are turning to coworking spaces to keep overhead costs down and to take advantage of the networking opportunities they offer. Having access to office and tech equipment for an affordable fee and open concept spaces along with private offices all under the one roof, makes having a creation studio more achievable. 

Making use of the open collaborative spaces helps the long working hours for emerging designers feel less isolating as there are other professionals working alongside them. Coworking spaces like WeWork act as an incubator for aspiring fashion designers who can join our creative communities at any of our locations throughout Hong Kong and Greater China. With regular networking events, WeWork members can plug in and benefit from expanding and diversfiying their professional community. 

Digital fashion brands can opt for dedicated spaces in the same location in our month-to- month membership, flexible access to multiple locations through our All Access membership or get on demand workspace access to shared spaces and meeting rooms by the hour or day with WeWork’s day pass. 

Sustainable fashion and transparency are getting easier

Fast fashion has copped a lot of scrutiny over the past decade by the conscious-consumer movement highlighting its significant impact on the environment. Fast fashion is responsible for one third of microplastics polluting the world’s oceans and 85% of all textiles ending up in landfill every year. Despite these facts, it’s still considered by consumers one of the most accessible and affordable ways to buy clothing. 

Rapid digitization of the supply chain can make all the difference to the clothing industry and make fashion more sustainable. Digitization removes middlemen, improves speed, and lowers inventory days. This frees up margins to enable favourable changes to a company’s bottom line. 

Digitization also offers greater transparency, predictability, accountability, and traceability. These elements are fundamental to creating positive change in fashion supply chains. 

Fashion for Good is a global initiative that is here to make all fashion sustainable. The body also acts as a convener for change, with the world’s first interactive museum dedicated to sustainable fashion innovation.

The initiative recently launched its South Asia Innovation Programme where they selected nine new innovators. With  raw materials, wastewater management, dyeing solutions, textile waste solutions, blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning innovations, the first batch of regional start-ups joins a global selection  at the cutting edge  of driving the industry’s transformation towards a circular system. The start-ups have the possibility to partner on pilot projects to test the viability of their innovations in real-world, manufacturing processes. 

It seems artificial intelligence, machine learning and other digital innovations in the apparel industry are here to stay and offer the advantage of making fashion more efficient and sustainable in the longer term.

WeWork offers innovative coworking spaces and business solutions to best suit your company’s operations, contact us and one of our representatives will connect with you soon.

Growth Innovation
apparel industry
artificial intelligence
clothing industry
digital fashion
machine learning
Sustainable fashion
technology fashion
Wearable technology