The fashion industry is switching gears—from just creating trendy fits to becoming sustainable and increasing clothing utility.
Earlier this month, Bella Hadid stunned the crowds by showing up in just a g-string at the finale of the Coperni show in Paris Fashion Week. It was an even greater shock to the public when two men began to spray her body with what appeared to be white paint, only for it to miraculously turn into a dress.
This dress was made of “fabrican“, a spray made of polymers and natural or synthetic fibers that turn into a non-woven fabric when they come in contact with air. While fabric in a can is unique, it is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to modern fashion technology. If you are curious about what the latest developments in the fashion industry are, here’s a list of some upcoming fashion projects to keep your eyes peeled for:
Clothes that grow with the wearer
One of the unique products that we might see soon is adaptive clothing. Traditionally, adaptive garments are specifically designed for wearers with disabilities and mobility issues. Some examples include compression clothing for those with swelling joints and medical device-friendly shirts.
Aeronautical engineer Ryan Yasin expanded the concept to design adaptive clothing that “grows” with the wearer, which won him the reputable James Dyson UK Award in 2017. To achieve expandability, he uses a unique durable pleated fabric inspired by the Japanese art of origami to produce a range of children’s clothing named Petit Pli. Petit Pli has a collection of newborn clothing suitable for a child from birth to one year and a “little human” range that fits the child from nine months up to four years.
As kids tend to outgrow their clothes very quickly, parents usually have to shop for new clothes for them frequently, which resulted in more than 183 million pieces of kids’ clothing ending up in landfill each year. So, by extending the life of these clothes, Petit Pli’s clothing will help reduce the waste created by the disposal of children’s clothing.
Clothes made from food waste
Courtesy of the Austria-based fiber manufacturing company The Lenzing Group, designer brands like Salvatore Ferragamo and fast fashion producers like H&M are now using orange peel fabrics. This brand-new fabric is a great way to recycle waste products from oranges. Also, thanks to the nanotechnology in the fabric production process, it comes infused with essential oils and vitamin C and has moisture absorption properties.
Another type of food-waste fabric is Piñatex. Made from pineapple waste and produced by the London-based startup Ananas Anam, Piñatex is a type of vegan leather made from the leaves of pineapples. One of the fashion retailers using this material in its products is Nike, with its plant-based shoe collection “Happy Pineapple” made with Piñatex.
Clothes that come with integrated technology
Much like other sectors, technology is creeping its way into the fashion industry and increasing the functionality of clothing. Known as smart clothing, these clothes come with in-built technology that collects data, like biometrics, or devices that facilitate connection, like laptops and smartphones.
Some of the smart clothing we have seen in the market so far include Pizza Hut’s limited-edition shoes Pie tops (which allowed users to order pizza with the press of a button) and Under Armour’s recovery sleepwear line (which was designed to promote athletes’ overall recovery and better sleep).
An up-and-coming project in the smart clothing space is designer Yves Béhar’s FuseProject. Béhar’s clothing helps people with muscular dystrophy (a condition that causes progressive loss of muscle mass) to be active for extended periods.
Another project in the category to look out for is Pauline van Dongen’s solar-energy-generating clothing. Released as a part of van Dongen’s 2016 collection, the solar shirt could generate 1 to 1.5 watts of electricity in bright sunlight, which is enough to power any USB-compatible device connected to the shirt through an outlet placed inside the shirt’s pocket. She is currently working on creating a fabric with solar panels woven in that can eventually be used as a building material.
Outlook of the fashion industry
The fashion industry is expected to be worth US$3 trillion by the end of this decade. To grow at such a tremendous rate, the industry needs to constantly evolve to give more utility to its customers via technology and address the amount of waste it generates, particularly with fast fashion. With projects focusing on using recycled materials and adaptive clothing, the fashion industry is taking into account inclusivity and its responsibility toward the environment.
On the other hand, consumers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious, and many are turning to second-hand items, with the global market value of second-hand clothing reaching US$96 billion in 2021. The purchase of second-hand items also falls in line with the return of vintage fashion trends. In the meantime, the industry is witnessing other disruptive trends, such as digital fashion and clothing rental services from luxury fashion stores. Considering the current direction from both the consumer’s and the industry’s perspectives, we can expect the fashion industry to continue prioritizing sustainability and inclusivity in the time to come.
- 4 Vintage Fashion Comebacks Taking the World by Storm
- When Fashion Meets Tech
- Boutiques in Your Phones: How Has Technology Changed the Fashion Industry?
- Flaunt the Latest Fit without Any Guilt with Digital Fashion
Header image courtesy of Freepik