The fashion industry has always had something of a reputation for innovation and different thinking. Fashion designers are trendsetters. They’re thought leaders. They set the definition of fashion and then the world follows. However, the industry as a whole has lagged behind in terms of real innovation while other industries have surged ahead. 2020 might be the year that this finally changes. True innovation is coming for the luxury fashion segment, and we’ll explore some of the key ways in this post.
One of the most problematic things for the fashion industry as a whole has been sourcing materials. Leather can only be created by killing animals. Even textiles as seemingly innocent as cotton have massive environmental impacts and require an incredible amount of water. Innovators in the industry are searching for alternative materials. One such is Algiknit, which is produced with fibres sourced from seaweed. It’s green, completely biodegradable, and can be knitted traditionally or even 3D printed.
Flocus is a company that marks another shift in industry thinking when it comes to material sourcing. This firm focuses on creating fabrics and yarns from the kapok tree, which can be grown without the need for any type of pesticide and does well in arid areas with little to no rainfall, allowing more productive land to be used to grow food.
Yet another example is Cocoon Biotech. This company seeks to eliminate natural silk, and does so through abio-compatible silk protein that dissolves post-consumer silk waste, as well as other waste silk, both from the natural world and from the fashion industry. Once it has dissolved, the material is then used to produce fibres for new material.
Completely Personalised Fitting
Once upon a time, only the wealthiest could afford bespoke clothing, but today, thanks to the efforts of companies like Unspun, that is beginning to change. Unspun creates apparel on demand, and it does so through a completely bespoke process. Using the company’s technology, you scan your body to create digital sizing.
That information is then used to create clothing that fits your body perfectly. Not only that, but the production process used is 3D weaving. In addition to an ideal fit, the process also helps to reduce back-end inventory, wasteful production processes, waste material, and even ensures a longer-lived piece of clothing.
Another company doing something similar is Scalable Garment Technologies, Inc., which manufactures robotic knitting machines that work based on 3D modelling technologies.
Less Harmful Inks and Dyes
Many types of ink and dyes used throughout the fashion industry are harmful to the environment and even to animal life. Many companies are focusing on creating inks and dyes that are not sourced from animals and do not have a negative environmental impact. Plant-based colourings feature highly in this area and you’ll see more and more of these in 2020 and beyond.
When it comes to diversity, the fashion industry has lagged behind the rest of the world in many ways. That is slowly beginning to change. This is particularly true for the UK, where Design Can recently launched with the goal of reducing stratification within the fashion industry by encouraging ethnic and gender diversity.
Fashion designers are finding that they must reach out to new audiences as time passes. Today, Millennials are more important to fashion brands than others, with Gen Z close on their heels. This requires a shift in thinking about how brands position themselves and how they design and promote their products.
Ultimately, the fashion industry is innovating in order to face a wide range of challenges. From reducing carbon footprints to identifying and creating unique new materials that do not damage the environment, the fashion world is rapidly moving to the forefront of innovation in technology, sustainability, and even inclusivity.