When New York Fashion Week kicks off in a few days, the question on everyone’s lips will be: “What’s next?”
But look — for a minute — beyond next month, next season, next year.
Turns out, fashion is about to take a decidedly techie turn — which isn’t thrilling to all fashionistas. “I saw a lovely photo of Sarah Jessica Parker being forced into a pair of Google Glass with this horrified look on her face,” says Matthew Drinkwater of London’s Centre for Fashion Enterprise. “And so we’re working with an industry that still has some time to go before it becomes fully integrated.”
But Drinkwater thinks that some pretty futuristic stuff is on the horizon, like the ability to download new patterns onto existing clothes.
“Let’s imagine a retailer like Zara partners with a fashion designer and develops a bespoke print that’s only available in the store. You could walk into the store, and the clothing would trigger [it], and you’d be able to purchase that print ... So you could effectively change the way that you look by going into the store. Or you could be at home downloading that content onto your clothing.”
Already, big names are tricking out apparel and accessories. Last year, Ralph Lauren unveiled a shirt that tracks heart rate and movement. Intel and Opening Ceremony have collaborated on a bejeweled, connected wristband. And Apple is making a major bet on smart watches.
Harvard Business School’s Ryan Raffaelli says the ties between tech and fashion are only going to get stronger. “You have these wearables like Fitbit partnering with Tory Burch, or Jawbone partnering with Yves Béhar. And here you have Samsung partnering with fashion brands like Diesel. So, all the sudden you see these brands — they’re flirting with each other right now.”
Experts say the fashion industry craves tech’s cool factor, and Silicon Valley needs advice on high style (which may be why Apple poached Burberry’s CEO).
So get ready for a new round of gadget wars. With your closet as the battlefield.
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