Like many other fields, fashion has experienced different trends through the years. It is a powerful industry worldwide, and fashion means creating appealing apparel. However, the definition has been widened over the years to include accessory design. Technology has always been a part of the fashion industry, from the invention of the weaving loom to temperature-controlled fabrics and VR dressing rooms. High tech fashion is one of the ways brands design collections, analyze trends and predict what will be popular in the future.
High Tech fashion utilizes science and technological advancements to design and produce fashion products. Some of its methods included borrowing from technologies developed in other fields like computer science, industrial textile, and competitive athletic wear. The fashion industry is a ground for rapid change and forward-thinking. Therefore, it set the foundation for using the latest production and material sourcing technologies. As technology becomes integrated with our everyday life, its influence on fashion continues to increase. In this article, we’ll explore the history and evolution of High Tech fashion over the years.
The Effect of High Tech Fashion
Some historical technological innovations include the development of the zipper, sewing machine, and synthetic fiber in its early years. Over the years, technology started to influence how apparels look, how they’re made, and how they perform. Elsa Schiaparelli was one designer that influenced High Tech fashion. She experimented with synthetic fiber and introduced the first zipper to Paris couture. However, many world events delayed the advancement in High Tech fashion until there was a space race, which influenced designers in the 1960s.
Andre Courreges used bonded jerseys, and Paco Rabanne started experimentation with metal-linked dressed. Additionally, Pierre Cardin’s vacuum-formed fabrics began to push the boundaries of fashion through experimentation with innovative materials and technology. Some tools that propelled fashion into a new realm include foam-laminated fabrics, plastics, sleek fashion silhouettes, and metallic-coated fabric.
Many technological advances continued to influence fashion with new developments in materials, garment sizing and structuring, and production methods. In addition, the quest for fashion that reflected the lifestyle and looks of the future gave rise to High Tech fashion.
The Early Days of Fashion Technology
Cotton, silk, linen, leather, and wool were used to cloth the world for centuries. This was when clothing was function first, and style came later. Therefore, most early cloth makers learned the trade from their parents after many years. Fashion technology advanced slowly over the decades, primarily because of social attitudes toward fashion changes rather than technological breakthroughs or tools.
People started to sew by hand 20,000 years ago. Therefore most of the early advances in fashion technology revolved around improved needles and strong threads. Unfortunately, sewing by hand is quite an arduous task. It could take days or weeks for the average seamstress to sow an entire outfit. This lengthy production process led to high product prices. As a result, most women in the early 18th century owned only two to four outfits. Additionally, the time-consuming process meant that most clothing styles lasted for years, not decades.
Evolution of High Tech Fashion
Fashion technology took its first leap in the 19th century with the invention of the sewing machine. These new machines allowed sewists to sew at an impressive rate, 900 stitches per minute. Even then, people wore the same basic textiles as their ancestors. Additionally, this was the most incredible fashion technology to that point. Cloth makers could manufacture pieces at a faster pace. This also influenced the overall cost of making clothing. Consumers could also own one or more pieces of clothing.
Synthetic materials have revolutionized fashion technology. It started as an artificial replacement for silk and nylon. It gained even more popularity during WWII when the US could no longer import cotton and silk from Asia. Synthetic fibers were cheaper than silk and more resistant to tears and holes. It was also stretchy enough to create form-fitting clothing. Although the revolution of synthetic fiber started with nylon, it wasn’t long before polyester followed.
In the 1970s, Spandex was created, and it became the wardrobe of disco stars and bicyclists. It was a form-fitting fabric that could open unimaginable fashion possibilities for many fashion designers. Fashion technologists utilized various synthetic materials that could make the clothes fit better, last longer, and feel more comfortable to the wearer. In addition, several sewing practices and new materials garnered interest om fashion technologies.
Elements of High Tech Fashion
Many elements have influenced the history and evolution of High Tech fashion over the years. We’ll explore these elements in this article.
High Tech Materials
High tech materials include textiles, fibers, and textile finishes created for specific appearances and functions. A UK designer, Sophia Lewis, believes that the greatest potential for the future lies experimentally and in utilizing advanced synthetics to promote new garment construction methods. Although most synthetics of the twentieth century were created to mimic natural fibers, the new synthetics are designed to be durable and robust even when transparent, lightweight, or elastic. Furthermore, blending natural fibers with synthetics in new ways to produce natural-looking fiber also adds to the beauty and performance of the textiles.
Some recent developments in the fiber field include microfibers created from milk proteins, fiber optics, and metallics. You can produce microfibers at a thickness level that’s significantly less than that of skin filaments. This allowed them to create soft and fluid fabrics with great strength and capabilities of performing under extreme environmental conditions. In addition, new processes have led to the creation of more eco-friendly fibers from corns and soybeans. Another eco-friendly advancement is the development of naturally colored cotton, eliminating the need to create mordant dyes.
Shape memory alloys could also be produced using titanium and nickel and incorporated into fabrics that retain the memory of the original fabric shape. Designers could also create holographic symbols to reflect images and colors from the wearer’s environment. The fiber optics incorporated into fabrics could also be used to share messages. Although traditional weaving and knitting fabrication methods remain, new fabric technologies continue to emerge. Knits are now created to form seamless garments that can easily fit any figure. Additionally, the nonwoven is affordable and can be adapted to various uses. Experimentation with different finishing techniques also introduced a new potion for many designers.
Another material used in creating sculptural shapes for the body includes foams. It is also valuable for creating insulation. Synthetic rubber helps to develop garments that are very fitting but also helps with the freedom of movement in many applications.
The last part of the twentieth century came with the rapid development of computer technology. Computer-aided designs and manufacturing changed the process of designing and manufacturing apparel. It also helped with the reduction of labor-intensive processes. In addition, it was instrumental in increasing accuracy and speed and lowering costs. Clothes could now be developed using computer-aided designs, from sketching to patterns and cutting.
Designers research trends, communicate with clients and suppliers and then sell in a wireless internet environment. Additionally, fashion news is now available hours after an event occurs. As a result, the internet replaced some live fashion events. This is even more apparent with brands like Victoria’s Secret, which uses internet methods to show designs. This fast flow of information, an interest in individuality, and the technology supporting fast production also increased mass customization development.
Mass customization is a design, manufacturing, and marketing concept that allows customers to order a garment to specification for the exact cost as off-the-rack. Some of the specifications include custom sizes that are achieved with the use of body scanners. It would record measurements which we could then translate into individual patterns. Along with personal experience, you could store this scanned information on a credit card to improve the shopping experience. This is all part of the benefits of High Tech fashion – it results in less wasteful production, full-price sales, and more satisfied customers.
Customization of apparel also supports the development of new apparel production technology like molding materials, industrial fusing methods, and seamless knitting technology. This provides a glimpse into creating garments without using needles and thread. An example is Hussein Chalayan’s remote control dress utilizes composite technology from the aerospace industry to create molded panels clipped together. When moved, it reveals varying parts of the body. The inspiration for this technology is the molded bra cup designed in the 1960s.
Fashion for New Lifestyles
Sports and active lifestyles have also influenced the fashion of the early 2000s. Many apparels technology created for competitive sports is now incorporated into fashion for everyone. Research and innovative thinking have significantly advanced sportswear as manufacturers pay special attention to performance and aesthetics. Garments that cover body temperature, cool the body, and improve performance are researched and manufactured with new aesthetics that allow the movement of the apparel from the field and gym into our everyday life.
Current fashion also makes accommodations for the consumer’s changing lifestyle. This means the creation of pockets for cellphones in clothes, jackets with connections for electronic music players, and stylish bags to tote laptops. Researchers are also creating intelligent fashion, including wearable computers, communication systems, body sensors, and global positioning systems. Advances and innovative thinking in the manufacturing of apparel require the furthering of some concepts. The changing world political climate and the growing challenges of world health are also providing new opportunities for wearable solutions. Investments in protective apparel and other wearable solutions are more likely to lead to new materials that result in unique styles.
Fashion can be viewed as a reflection of time. Therefore, High Tech fashion incorporates technological and scientific development. One constant in the fashion industry over the years is changing. Consequently, we can look forward to increasing the development of advanced materials, methods, and even new purposes for fashion worldwide.