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  • A new wave of innovation

  • is fueling a radical change in fashion.

  • Wearable technology, data, automation,

  • and lab-grown materials will have a major impact

  • on what people will be wearing in the future.

  • We are just seeing a pace of change which is frightening,

  • but it's also incredibly exciting for the future of fashion.

  • Since the birth of sewing and weaving,

  • technology has always led developments in fashion.

  • The Industrial Revolution mechanized manufacturing,

  • enabling mass production.

  • In the 1960s, synthetic materials like polyester took off,

  • creating new possibilities for fashion.

  • Now, the convergence of new technologies

  • is opening up previously unimaginable possibilities.

  • Self-styled fashion scientist Dr. Amanda Parkes

  • is in the vanguard of the industry's latest reinvention.

  • She heads up innovation at FT Labs,

  • a venture capital firm that invests

  • primarily in disruptive fashion tech startups.

  • The future of fashion is a mixture

  • of combining new material technologies

  • with all-new forms of business models.

  • Among these startups, the race is on

  • to find the next generation of renewable materials

  • that can be grown in a lab.

  • So one example of this is Bolt Threads,

  • which creates lab-grown spider silk.

  • Traditional silk is produced

  • from insect larvae that form cocoons,

  • most commonly silkworms.

  • But rather than relying on these insects,

  • Bolt Threads is creating silk in test tubes.

  • So they've taken the DNA out of a spider,

  • just the part of the DNA that creates silk,

  • and transformed that into a microorganism, into a yeast.

  • And you can think of it like brewing beer.

  • So as they feed the yeast, as it brews,

  • it creates silk protein.

  • Bio-fabricated materials remove the need

  • for animals and insects, and they are a more sustainable

  • and efficient way of producing raw materials.

  • You're able to speed up this process,

  • put it into a controlled environment

  • in a laboratory, and have a lot more control

  • over what you're growing and how.

  • Other companies are creating

  • leather alternatives.

  • Rather than using animals, scientists are creating

  • bio-fabricated materials from pineapple leaves

  • and even mushrooms.

  • Another example is a mycelium-based leather.

  • So the root structure of strains of mushrooms

  • can be grown synthetically in a lab,

  • but they're all-natural fibers.

  • When you think about the convergence

  • of what technology can do with this

  • in terms of the future development of materiality,

  • and so we really have the opportunity

  • to make huge global change by changing

  • the means of production of materials.

  • The convergence of fashion and technology

  • also provides opportunities to transform

  • not just clothes but the people wearing them.

  • Myant is a company that's pioneering

  • the creation of clothing that can monitor your every move.

  • We call it textile computing.

  • Some other people call it smart fabric.

  • Essentially, it's an interactive fabric

  • that could sense data from you.

  • So-called smart fabrics are being touted

  • as the next frontier of wearable technology.

  • Yarns are paired with electronic sensors

  • so that essential data can be captured from the human body.

  • This is a men's boxer.

  • You can see the sensors embedded

  • on the band and on the body.

  • Within seconds, it will start transmitting your ECG,

  • temperature, your movement, your respiration.

  • To create clothing that can monitor

  • the wearer's health and fitness,

  • Myant has brought together teams of people

  • that have not traditionally worked under the same roof.

  • We have the advanced research engineers and scientists

  • at nano scale technology, electrical engineers,

  • mechatronic engineers, software AI.

  • We wanted them to interface and to interact

  • with fashion designers, with pattern makers.

  • Smart fabrics could radically change

  • consumers' relationships with the clothes they wear.

  • But as technology increases the pace of change,

  • how can the industry keep track

  • of what consumers really want?

  • Francesca Muston is the head of retail at WGSN,

  • the world's leading fashion forecasting agency.

  • We are just seeing a pace of change which is frightening,

  • but it's also incredibly exciting for the future of fashion.

  • The staff here use big data

  • to analyze political, social, and environmental trends

  • in order to predict the hot new looks of tomorrow.

  • If we think back over the last five years

  • at how the fashion industry has changed,

  • think about the way that we shop

  • compared to the way that we used to shop.

  • Technology is driving an explosion

  • in consumer choice, as well as the bewildering array

  • of clothing design and creation.

  • To keep up, the industry is also turning to technology.

  • We are for sure in the midst of a digital revolution;

  • AI, the idea of machine learning and big data.

  • How do we start to sort of synthesize

  • all of these new technologies and start

  • to make sense of it, both in terms of industry

  • but also in terms of the consumer?

  • Machine-learning technologies

  • are now central to fashion forecasting, quickly spotting

  • patterns among the ever-growing volume of data.

  • From bio-technology to demographic shifts,

  • predicting trends is no longer an art;

  • it's becoming a science.

A new wave of innovation

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B2 US fashion technology silk data bio lab

What will people wear in the future? | The Economist

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    joey joey posted on 2021/04/22
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