13 Milestones That Put Fashion Tech on The Map

Muchaneta Kapfunde
Founding Editor in Chief at | editor@fashnerd.com

Founding editor-in-chief & WearableTechStylist of FashNerd.com has worked in the fashion industry for over 14 years. She is currently one of the leading influencers speaking and writing about the merger of fashion with technology and wearable technology. She also contributes to other digital news sites like Wareable.

As far back as 1998, the combination of fashion and technology has proved to be a force to be reckoned with. Designers and makers with the drive to not only challenge traditional design methods but also change the direction of the fashion industry has been keeping us on tenter hooks for a while now. With so much going on we took a moment to compile our favourite fashion tech milestones so far:

1998: Robots Stylishly Spray

Fashion Tech

Alexander McQueen’s Spring 1999 show was theatrical and the fashion crowd fell head over heels in love with the performance art. The tech part was when the late designer employed robots to spray-paint a dress worn by model Shalom Harlow. Painted in shades of black and yellow, Harlow spun on a revolving platform to the amusement of the audience.

2006: Microchips Galore

Fashion Tech
Hussein Chalayan Spring/Summer 2007 ready-to-wear collection | Photo credit should read PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images

Form met function at Hussein Chalayan’s Spring 2007 show. Known for his innovation, Chalayan used microchips to reveal garments that mold and unfold by erasing seams to take on new forms and shapes at the end of the catwalk.

2010: Haute 3D

Fashion Tech

This was the year that Iris van Herpen unveiled her first 3-D-printed designs. Collaborating with London-based architect Daniel Widr, the collection was printed around the clockby .MGX by Materialise. It took approximately seven days  to print the entire collection.

2014: Fibre Optic Fabric

Fashion Tech
Richard Nicoll’s “Jellyfish” dress

The late Richard Nicoll’s “Jellyfish” dress was an instant hit on the runway at London Fashion Week. Created in collaboration with London-based Studio XO, the slip dress was made from a fibre optic fabric activated by high intensity LEDs tailored within it.

2014: Unleashing the Drones

Fashion TechOne of the first, Fendi boldly partnered up with Parrot and unleashed Drones that hovered high above the A/W 2014 show.

2014: Highstreet Goes VR

Fashion Tech
Topshop was the first high street brand to introduce a virtual-reality tour from its London flagship store. They specially commissioned Oculus Rift 3-D headsets so as to enable shoppers to see its catwalk in real time.

2015: When Luxury Tech met Luxury Fashion

Fashion Tech
When two iconic brands collaborate on the Apple Watch Hermès, should you be surprised it made the list?

2015: Seeing is Buying

Fashion Tech

When Retail Tech gave birth to the See Now Buy Now phenomenon It instantly revolutionised the pace of luxury retail. Many brands saw this new technology as the golden ticket to engaging with their customer. As fashion forward as this tech perk is, do we really need buy more?

2016: Plastic Bottles Are The New Black

Fashion Tech

Someone put their thinking cap on and decided that used plastic bottles could have an afterlife. Their recarnation came in the shape of being interwoven with fabric. Brands like G star raw and Adidas worked with innovating companies like Parley. Together they found a way to reuse waste in a sustainable manner. Once this exciting new way of creating sustainable pr had hit the headliners, it became a worthy bandwagon cause to jump in on.

2016:Born Digital

Fashion Tech
ThinkingCap Powered by #BornDigital

2016 was the year that, EVRYTHNG, IoT Smart Products Platform pioneer, switched on their ‘born digital’ campaign. Working together with Avery Dennison, the global leader in apparel and footwear branding, the two companies daringly announced their plans to enable a minimum of 10 billion smart clothes (apparel) and footwear products.

2016: Exploration of New Materials

Fashion Tech
Mycelium | Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

We championed the exploration of non traditional materials like mycelium and photobacterium kishitanni. Long may it continue.

2017: When Science Finally Met Fashion

Fashion TechWe heard about 36 year old Molly Singh’s smart shoe back in 2015. Since hitting the headlines, her objective has finally been realised. You can now, in 2017, buy the limited edition Thesis Couture smart heel.

2017: Fashion Tech Entering Graphene Era

Fashion Tech
Graphene dress by Cute Circuit

With the power to change how we view clothing, Graphene textile technology is the new material disrupting the smart textile world.

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