Fashion meets future as clothing goes hi-tech

Many fashion retailers are realizing the need to innovate in order to stay current.
28 August 2018

The season’s hottest new trend? Tech. Source: Shutterstock

It seems that the hottest new trend on the catwalk this season is technology, with many high-end retailers beginning to embrace it with open arms.

With tales of a “retail apocalypse” and the rise of e-commerce, many traditional fashion brands are realizing that in order to survive they must innovate.

Retailers have no choice but to rethink business strategies and adapt to rapid changes in technology and consumer preferences.

While traditionally cautious with technology, many fashion labels are rethinking their business with innovation in mind, from product development to the delivery of customer experience.

A trend that is becoming increasingly popular is the development of smart clothing. Many luxury fashion brands are making inroads in wearable tech, integrating smart sensors and software into stylish clothing.

Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Smart marketing

Brands are experimenting with smart clothing as a way to increase brand awareness while engaging consumers.

For example, Tommy Hilfiger has launched a range of Bluetooth-enabled clothing that tracks how often consumers wear the garment and where they are going with it.

The Tommy Jeans XPLORE clothing line is delivered with smart chip technology that connects to a mobile app which can be likened to Pokémon Go. The app awards the wearer points each time they wear the piece of clothing, encouraging them to collect virtual hearts based on their geographical location using augmented reality.

The points earned can be cashed in for prizes such as gift cards, Tommy Hilfiger runway shows, product discounts, and more.

This is a clever move from the fashion brand, with the aim of this integration of technology being to create a micro-community of brand ambassadors.

“We’ve always been at the forefront of digital innovation, using technology to deliver what our customers are looking for – unique experiences and instant gratification,” said Tommy Hilfiger in a statement.

“Tommy Jeans Xplore is the next evolution of our vision, reaching consumers where they are and inviting them to be a part of the brand experience.”

Fitness and health tracking

The popularity of fitness tracking wearables such as FitBit has boomed in recent years, with the market projected to reach US$48.2 billion by 2023. And now some high-end retailers are delivering biometric tracking through a worn garment.

Many fashion brands are integrating sensors in their garments. Source: Shutterstock

Ralph Lauren has produced a smart shirt embedded with a sensor that collects biological and physiological information.

A ‘black box’ collects data on things such as movement, direction, heartbeat, stress levels, which are then transmitted to the wearer’s smart devices. This real-time information can be used by the wearer to influence their training habits.

Smarten up your commute

What if while commuting, you could skip a song on your playlist, reject a call, or request directions with a simple gesture?

This is exactly what Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket does, the first piece of connected clothing to launch from Google’s Project Jacquard platform.

The stylish jackets are made from a material developed by Google called Jacquard Threads. These threats are made with hyper-thin conductive metal alloys, which can be woven into natural and synthetic fibers and integrated with embedded sensors.

By swiping or tapping on the sensor-embedded sleeve jacket, wearers (the jacket is largely targeting at people who commute by bike) can control their smartphone with ease.

Fashion of the future?

It’s clear to see that technology is changing the game for fashion brands. As consumers get increasingly tech-savvy, retailers are having to think of innovative new ways to capture their attention.

It’s not hard to imagine a future where consumers won’t just be asking which designer or label created a fashion product. Rather, they will be asking what the clothes actually do.