Technology has always been a crucial component of fashion, driving manufacturing and design processes, advertising and marketing, and the style of the clothes themselves.
In terms of the construction process, CAD has expanded both the speed and accuracy of design, while the industrialization and computerization of manufacturing techniques have enabled increased supply and decreasing costs. Artificial intelligence has also become a time and money saving factor in both the sales and purchasing processes, with data-driven reports now generated artificially for more accurate interpretation by human decision makers
The internet has produced a greater demand [mirroring greater awareness] of what is instantly recognizeable and largely replicable on the catwalk. From fashion show to high street to ‘back street’ has become a more streamlined process, with those manufacturing techniques aiding mainline retailers and also those producing fakes.
Make what you will of the rights and wrongs of this change, but the increasing demand for [increasingly good quality] counterfeit goods has also forced a change in the styling and marketing of designer brands – fast fashion, athleisure and a more casual workwear etiquette allude to a younger customer base with more choice and ever changing demands.
We’re still some way from retail consumers buying exclusively online [although the pandemic indicated this can work, shops still have a place and a purpose] but the increasingly disposable nature of fashion, and less formal [and therefore less tightly fitted/tailored items] means more online shopping. Omni-channel marketing that enables the cross-platform management of all customer contact points for a more personal experience, including the AI tracking and reading of customer activity in physical stores.
STYLE & DESIGN
As consumers move deeper and more readily into technological lives, we see clothes that mirror this dependency, and which stretch the boundaries between the physical and the artificial. Technology is an obvious [although sometimes problematic] platform for the promotion and promulgation of beauty and fashion: social media creates more democratic environment where all can share, but its hyper-realism and idealistic tendencies create a focus on the ideal, and reinforce tropes about youth, gender and looks.
Fashion is ultimately about ideal and artifice. As technology drives forward with more advanced production, marketing and distribution techniques so technology influences the appearance of fashion and those who wear it.