When Coco Chanel declared that “fashion passes, style remains” she couldn’t have known how applicable that would be fifty years on. With every season we see more colors, collections and styles as never before. Although fashion moves faster and faster the concept of clothing hasn’t changed much in over 100 years.
Textile still covers bodies and signifies social code. Fabrics are still sewn with needles and sold in stores. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to disrupt the 1.7-trillion-dollar industry but shouldn’t there be something more progressive than design and style changes? Shouldn’t there be innovation that alters the entire concept of clothing?
Nancy Tilbury is one of the pioneers of merging technology and fashion. Together with her team at Studio XO she works to actively develop what they call “digital couture experiences” which in basic terms means creating garments that are interactive and evolving. Her ultimate goal is to bring these ideas and concepts to the streets, but as a first step they’re creating extravagant outfits for the likes of Arcade Fire, Black Eyed Peas, and of course Lady Gaga.
While Studio XO are at the cutting edge of fashion they’re not alone in putting machines on our bodies. Historically this base has been perceived as too cyber and science fiction. But recently there’s been a rapid breakthrough of products grouped under the term “wearable tech.” Behind the scenes there’s race to integrate technology with mainstream clothing.
In Germany, sportswear icon Adidas has spent the last few years developing a system that can monitor an athlete’s real-time performance via other clothing. When envisioning the future it’s easy to get caught up in the marvels of technology, but could the most groundbreaking future innovations be organic? Embracing nature rather than dominating it. Biocouture is a design consultancy focused on bringing living and biological materials into fashion and sportswear. Founder, Suzanne Lee, is currently heading one of the most thought-provoking initiatives in the industry today.