TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT IN FASHION
Did you know that the fashion industry has one of the largest and the longest global supply chains on the planet? Did you also know that the fashion industry is estimated to yield around $1.5 trillion, contributing to around 2.3% of the GDP? Fascinating, right!
One of the main reasons why this is the case is because of the cheap availability of labour and raw materials. However, amidst the pandemic, the increasing concern about sustainability, fair wages and pollution, combined with the need to satisfy the demands of consumers have paved new ways in fashion and technology. The fashion industry is very dynamic and so is its revenue.
According to the Consumer Market Outlook, the revenue of the fashion industry is likely to increase by $2.25 trillion by 2025!
To keep the revenue increasing, firms and retailers are coming up with novel ideas that involve modern technologies like Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
So, let us dive a little deeper into this topic, shall we?
What is Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality?
Virtual Reality ((VR) involves the usage of a computer-generated environment. The environment and objects that appear in a VR setting might look very realistic. However, it’s not! The users feel immersed in their surroundings and this environment is perceived through a device known as the Virtual Reality headset. Whereas on the other hand, Augmented Reality (AR) adds a digital element to a live view and this is achieved by using the camera on your smartphone. A very simple example of Augmented Reality are the Instagram and Snapchat filters! Both VR and AR are quite similar. However, there are a few significant differences when it comes to the devices they require and the experience it offers to its users.
The role of VR and AR in the field of fashion
The role VR and AR plays in the field of fashion will make your jaw drop. Retailers use these technologies in unconventional ways like virtual reality fashion shows, virtual try-on, in-store navigation and so much more!
Virtual Reality fashion shows
Put on your VR headset and embrace yourself for this virtual journey because not only can VR take you to The Eiffel Tower but also to your favourite fashion show. It might be very difficult to travel for a fashion show, especially during a pandemic. Sothis is where Virtual Reality comes in handy! With a VR headset and a special virtual software, you can now be present at any famous fashion show at any time. Isn’t that amazing? Not only this, brands can record their shows in 360 degree and turn them into applications which can later be viewed using a VR headset. This way, not hundreds, not thousands, MILLIONS of people can view the fashion show with the realistic sensation of sitting on the front row. Since this technology is the future of the fashion industry, many brands have started implementing these technologies to improve and expand their customer base.
Virtual try-on has gained a new popularity in the fashion industry. The pandemic has really changed the way our world works. Since social distancing and wearing surgical masks has become the new norm, customers do not prefer to try on products, especially clothing due to fear of the deadly virus. This has given rise to new innovations leading to virtual try-on. Virtual try-on enables customers to try on products like clothes, shoes, accessories etc, at the comfort of their homes. With the help of Augmented Reality, customers can visualise themselves on the item they are interested in using their smartphones and this allows customers to determine how precisely clothes or any accessories fit on them which will help them make the right purchase without any hassle.
Also, did you know that the first brand to use virtual try-on was Converse, in 2012? Users were able to see how shoes looked on them in reality using their smartphone cameras!
Augmented reality is proven to be extremely accurate in terms of finding the location of stores. The primary goal of this technology is guiding customers to the different merchandise and helping them reach their desired item. This is done on a screen overlaid on top of real environments which is seen through the camera of a smartphone.
What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
Artificial intelligence is the ability of a computer or a machine to do tasks which were traditionally done by humans. We humans are prone to make mistakes. Especially in the field of fashion, we tend to make a lot. It could have been cutting the fabric wrong or missing a few stitches or even understanding the design wrong. These mistakes might seem normal for a layman, but for a fashion designer, these mistakes can completely cause chaos. Hence, this is where AI comes in handy and let us find out how.
The role of AI in the field fashion
The fashion industry uses Artificial intelligence in novel ways and the first one is as a personal assistant. AI digital assistants are being used to recommend different clothes to customers based on their physical measurements. The use of AI in customer advisory plays a crucial role as it enables personalisation and yields greater customer satisfaction. Apart from the customer point of view, AI can also be advantageous for retailers in the production and inventory control part of the business. Since the fashion industry is one of the biggest global polluters which contributes to around 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions, using AI also offers a sustainable solution to fashion. By recording the level of sales, level of demand, market trends and availability of suppliers - firms can accurately predict inventory levels and reduce wastage of resources by 20-25%. This also aids in improving the working conditions and productivity of the workforce. Apart from these, Instead of relying on traditional ways to analyse and predict fashion trends, using Artificial Intelligence alongside visual recognition and data analytics saves time and makes trend analysis efficient.
H&M, one of the world’s most popular clothing stores, uses AI to examine demand and supply to allocate appropriate goods to each of their stores. This in turn, reduces the number of wasted clothes and makes the business efficient and sustainable
Our world is evolving and so does the fashion industry. Be it fashion designers, manufacturers, stylists, retailers or in fact, even consumers, technology is a game changer for every individual in the fashion industry.
It is true that using technology can inevitably result in redundancies in the industry, but it is also most likely to result in new types of employment opportunities which we may not have encountered before. Now as designers or retailers of this evolving industry, it is crucial to have an open mind and adapt to new technologies as this will not only help customers but also be beneficial for designers and retailers in terms of market share and brand image. Keeping up with the trend puts you on the map and shows the consumers that you have all what it takes to be a successful person in this industry. The pandemic, an unexpected scenario, affected and still continues to affect many industries. But the only industry which still continues to grow despite these new changes is the fashion industry and the sole reason why this is the case is
because of technology. Hence, these are a few technological advancements in fashion and there are many more to come!
Written by Student Ambassador,
- Sanjana Lakshmi.