Even though the pandemic-induced shocks are still reverberating through the industry, technology has become the constant that is continually opening new doors to innovations for the industry. Springing up to help with the seismic shift that happened in 2020, advancing technology has been successfully giving businesses opportunities to boost sales, improve digital merchandising, enhance the retail experience, and connect with their customers.
Here are five fashion tech businesses that I recommend keeping your eye on in 2021, and if you are looking to dip your toe in new technology this year, why not collaborate.
The Immersive KIND
The Immersive KIND is an advanced technology platform specialising in AR/VR/MR and immersive. Working on hybrid projects that mix new material innovations with emerging and digital technologies including robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR), the creative studio helps businesses reimagine the future of digital fashion.
More than just a couture XR wearable this collection reveals ” a deeper understanding of digital design” and features the designer’s stories during the global pandemic with the scope to take audiences on a journey that explores the narrative behind exclusive limited-edition digital collections, states Anna Nadolna of UK 5G Innovation.
The brand’s CEO and Founder, Kadine James, is one of the innovators behind the concept of AR Drop, a rare limited edition virtual wearables that transform the experience of digital fashion into something fully immersive and interactive. James believes that the project is also a unique opportunity to demonstrate the power of 5G capabilities. This is because the full immersive experience has been created to showcase the audience wearing the garments. A campaign will run alongside the most imaginative “collectors” featured on The Immersive KIND’sKIND’s online showroom.
“Digital is breaking new ground, and AI, AR, XR and Immersive Technology is an exciting tool powering creativity to the wider fashion and creative tech industry here in the UK and around the world. Our designers at The Immersive KIND are pushing fashion forwards, constructing new narratives on how we can create without being constrained by physical environments, materials and the cost of making samples”, said James. She continues: “For consumers, who now with Extended Reality limited editions will get to wear digital “couture” and experiment with extraordinary digital fashion through the wonders of social media and being online, at a fraction of the cost of real garments; for brands and retailers, this is opening up powerful ways the to engage with the new and diverse audience around the world.”
MySizeID is a tool that anyone can use for free from their smartphones to get body measurements without taking pictures. This app then connects to the size charts of different retailers and recommends users their exact size for that particular brand.
MySize has two main meaningful benefits: the number of returns (up to 70% of apparel returns are due to wrong sizing) is majorly reduced for retailers, reducing the carbon footprint significantly. It offers retailers the opportunity to get information on their customers’ size recommendations, whether they make a purchase or not. MySize promises that this anonymous, confirming that retailers will just be able to tell how many users got recommended a size M, but not who they are. “We believe educating the industry on inclusivity and visibility of their audience is a step towards diminishing issues around body image – everyone should be able to find a size for themselves”, said the MySize team.
Brand of the Year winner in Drapers’Drapers’ Sustainable Fashion Awards 2020, Craghoppers uses 100% PFC free fabrics, ensuring they have the best chemistry in all their water repellent finishes. They confirmed that 70% of all Craghoppers’Craghoppers’ products are now made from recycled materials last year. This is up from 12% from this time last year, a significant increase. From new waterproof jackets to the much loved Kiwi trousers, each garment has been carefully created to maximise the use of recycled materials as echoed in the company’s Honesty Project.
Commenting on this exciting development, Jim McNamara, MD said, “We can’t wait to show the new range to our customers. We believe they will be blown away by the huge step forward in our sustainable approach and by the look and feel of the products themselves. We haven’t compromised on technical detail either, which is vital.”
The men’s Pember jacket has recycled content in almost all its elements, including its padding (100% recycled), labels, buttons & zip tapes. It’s mindfully made from 110 recycled plastic bottles! The Kiwi trousers have also been sourced using recycled materials. The new style will feature green waistband lining and hanger loops and new recycled buttons and pullers, differentiating it from the existing Kiwi trousers. In addition to the high percentage of recycled material in the products, Craghoppers will also be reducing the amount of paper in swing tags, using less water in the dyeing process and using kinder dyestuff in line with Bluesign.
Karim Coppola is an Italian native, spearheads fashion tech company VISORE LAB. The Paris-based startup aims to create a more inclusive, innovative and sustainable fashion industry. By providing solutions for fashion brands at each stage of their growth, bringing together content creation and digital commerce, VISORE LAB relies on innovation as the central pillar of their expertise. Understanding tomorrow’s generations’ voice, the startup is driven by the desire to deliver high creative-tech value to fashion businesses.
VOOR’s objective is to re-shape the traditional fashion business model by providing brands with virtual merchandising showrooms. Digitising technology to cut costs, save time, and further brand sustainability, Voor is the kind of solution that challenges how the fashion industry can be transformed into synchronous, agile, and truly sustainable.
When it comes to believing digitisation is key to recognising their vision, Krishna Gaur told me, “We differentiate from our competitors in the virtual fashion space by focusing on solving pre-production issues in the fashion pipeline, whereas many fash tech is geared towards the retail and consumer end”. Adding: “Hopefully, our story can provide unique value to your fash tech on the rise of fash tech, especially in light of COVID-19”.
Currently, in the beta stage of their webapp, Voor has confirmed that they are currently working on extending their technology on a wide array of channels from mobile to VR.