Cashless on the Catwalk, Gadgetry or Innovation?

Muchaneta Kapfunde | @FashNerdEditor

With 1 day and 17 hours remaining before London Fashion Week begins, we are naturally buzzing with excitement to see what the designers will be bringing to the forefront when it comes to Fashion and Technology merging on the runway.

Henry Holland Runway Show
Henry Holland Runway Show

In preparation for LFW we came across one article in the Huffington Post online that stood out to us. Guest written by British designer Henry Holland, the self-trained designer shares with us that this London Fashion Week he will be “uniting the realms of fashion and technology”. These where words that got us excited. We loved the idea of a Brit stepping up and breaking the slightly stuffy mould of traditional designing. Soon after our initial excitement our bubble of expection burst, not because we found out that he was not really merging his collection with technology, but more because of how he was doing it.

Fashion Technology is a partnership that can be defined in many different ways. No matter the definition, designers need to realise that soon their collections will be judged not only on their creative designs but also on the ‘smart’ elements included in their collections.

Holland’s SS16 collection will be all about weaving the latest technology payments to improve a customer’s retail experience. I must admit, this is probably the kind of technology that might be considered innovative at Fashion Week but in reality it is simply not the game changer that will easily be adopted by the everyday shopper. I believe, that for for fashion and technology partnership to be taken seriously, it needs to coexist without the stunts. Although they grab our attention, the majority of the time they do not keep it.

Mike Weston, CEO of data science consultancy Profusion
Mike Weston, CEO of data science consultancy Profusion

If the development of technology continues at its current rate, the inclusion of smart clothing on the runway will harness the kind of power that will strongly influence the direction of the future of fashion. So, when it comes to smart clothing at London Fashion Week, Mike Weston, CEO of data science consultancy Profusion, shared with FashNerd; “I suspect we’re going to see a few designers revealing clothing that has ‘smart’ functions or fabrics during London Fashion Week. The technology has developed rapidly over the past few years but what is missing is the ‘killer app’ of clothing – an item that combines great design with practical technology that appeals to the masses”.

I agree with Weston. Clothing should not be designed around technology, it needs to be the other way round. I understand that there is a ridiculous amount of pressure when it comes to designing and creating a collection every season, but the thing is, designers should not include tech as an after thought or for financial gain, they should do so because they feel inspired too. The truth is that there is enough room for both tech inspired collections and traditional collections to co-exist.

Henry Holland attends the private view of Chanel: The Little Black Jacket at the Saatchi Gallery on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 in London, UK. (Photo by Miles Willis/Invision/AP)
Henry Holland | Photo Credit: Miles Willis/Invision/AP
 Back to Mister Holland, I take my hat of at his excitement to share the news of his collaboration with the ‘techies’, as he calls them, at Visa Europe but my question to you Henry is that do you really see this as a collection that consumers will embrace and more importantly want? We want to see smart clothes on the runway that have the potential to be easily adopted by consumers. Gadgetry designs need not apply.

London Fashion Week for Henry Holland will be all about cashless on the catwalk, and that is why you sir, have peaked my curiosity. So will I end up eating my words? Well I guess we all will have to wait until Saturday 19th September 2015 and see.


Relive House of Holland SS16 Runway collection at LFW.


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