Unique materials, technologies, and 3D printing can dramatically change the future of fashion. So you go to the store and the salesperson will do a 3D scan of your body and then use it to make a bespoke garment that can be printed especially for you. It sounds like science fiction, but this is the future of fashion and it is unfolding before our very eyes.
The Future of Fashion
The first major steps in this transition came from material science. Just as sensors have become so small they can be embedded in everything from devices to toys to the skin, materials have also become so tiny that they can now carry sophisticated electronics with them. Sensors are no longer confined to the watch or wristwatch. They’ve been embedded in clothing, from suits to earbuds, shoes, and even backpacks.
Wearable electronics are here, and you can thank our “smart” fabrics. The adaptive materials in smart clothing can be programmed with algorithms to change the way a garment is heated and cooled based on your activity levels or desired temperature. They can also change color based on proximity to the body, vibration, or patterning.
3D Printed Clothes
A research group in Canada has started to 3D print out clothes for the skin-tight bodysuits used by ultra-fit endurance athletes. 3D clothing is different because it is essentially a glove made of fabric. A mobile skin printer has a set of moving, photopolymerized needles that are equipped with tiny capsules filled with fluid. The moving needle is mounted on a robotic arm and it operates in a similar fashion to 3D printers in labs and works over a laser filament. The capsule is filled with a liquid that is jetted onto the fabric to create a 3D print.
The liquid also provides the structure of the garment, so it is strong but lightweight at the same time. What this means is that 3D printing can make functional and fashionable garments in a relatively short time.
The rise of wearable technologies has driven us to think differently about the way we wear clothes, and is, in turn, reshaping the retail experience. People now have the ability to use smartphone apps and wearables that let them interact with the clothes they are wearing to enhance their experience – from letting them listen to the music they want to, to changing colors based on the weather.
All without ever taking their phone out of their pockets. By attaching sensors to the fabric of a shirt or a pair of pants, you can track your heart rate or, more simply, count steps. This allows you to send a text message to a friend when you get home or remind yourself to take your medicine.
Perhaps the time is not long in coming when we will move on to the fact that we have to use our laptops and cell phones as a relic of another time to access the internet. The vertical development with IoT enabled as smart Fashion continues. We’ve said that before, but even at the risk of voicing our opinion, the possible solutions this technology can offer are truly endless. We can only sit and watch.