Let’s say it is the year 2040. You are walking to your local café for a cup of organic latte when your eye catches upon a dress. You click an image using a device on your eyes and upload it to your 3D printer. By the time you return home from the café, the dress is ready to be worn in your exact size specifications. This scenario might be too outrageous to think right now, but it is very much possible.
The future of the fashion industry is going to change drastically in the coming decade. Every expert in the field says so. In the coming years, 3D printed clothes will become the norm; fashion shows will be holographic and merchandising will be done via virtual reality. While the exact picture we painted is yet to be achieved, some inroads have already been made. Let’s take a look at two innovations that are happening right now.
• Sustainable fabric and thread are the ‘it’ thing of fashion. Material that is friendly to the environment and healthier for the body are being created left, right and centre. The young consumer is opting for brands and designers that are eco-conscious which has led to a spurt of fabrics like Pinatex. It is a material made out of the fibre found in pineapple. There are other experiments being done to create clothes out of coffee beans, apples, and tea.
Ultimately, the aim is to generate polymer threads – fibres that are five times thinner than the hair of humans but with extreme tensile strength.
• Wearable fabrics are one more field that has seen tremendous innovation. At present, besides bracelets and watches that can track the health of the wearer, there are some materials that can record the heartbeat of a person. Though only at the prototype stage, wearable garments hope to become the new way of keeping track of the fitness of an individual.
The broader goal of such clothes is to have in-built sensors that can be utilised by companies to gather data. Another is to make the fabric respond to alterations in water, light, and temperature. Lastly, to build threads that can modify the colour and design by the press of a button.
We might not be quite there yet, but the hope is bright. Every year we are getting that much closer to the target.