What will people wear in the future? | The Economist

What will people wear in the future? | The Economist


A new wave of innovation is fueling a radical change in fashion. Wearable technology, data, automation, and lab-grown materials
will have a major impact on what people will be
wearing in the future. We are just seeing a pace of
change which is frightening, but it’s also incredibly exciting
for the future of fashion. Since the birth of sewing and weaving, technology has always led
developments in fashion. The Industrial Revolution
mechanized manufacturing, enabling mass production. In the 1960s, synthetic materials
like polyester took off, creating new possibilities for fashion. Now, the convergence of new technologies is opening up previously
unimaginable possibilities. Self-styled fashion
scientist Dr. Amanda Parkes is in the vanguard of the
industry’s latest reinvention. She heads up innovation at FT Labs, a venture capital firm that invests primarily in disruptive
fashion tech startups. The future of fashion is a mixture of combining new material technologies with all-new forms of business models. Among these startups, the race is on to find the next generation
of renewable materials that can be grown in a lab. So one example of this is Bolt Threads, which creates lab-grown spider silk. Traditional silk is produced from insect larvae that form cocoons, most commonly silkworms. But rather than relying on these insects, Bolt Threads is creating
silk in test tubes. So they’ve taken the DNA out of a spider, just the part of the
DNA that creates silk, and transformed that into a
microorganism, into a yeast. And you can think of it like brewing beer. So as they feed the yeast, as it brews, it creates silk protein. Bio-fabricated materials remove the need for animals and insects, and
they are a more sustainable and efficient way of
producing raw materials. You’re able to speed up this process, put it into a controlled environment in a laboratory, and
have a lot more control over what you’re growing and how. Other companies are creating leather alternatives. Rather than using animals,
scientists are creating bio-fabricated materials
from pineapple leaves and even mushrooms. Another example is a
mycelium-based leather. So the root structure
of strains of mushrooms can be grown synthetically in a lab, but they’re all-natural fibers. When you think about the convergence of what technology can do with this in terms of the future
development of materiality, and so we really have the opportunity to make huge global change by changing the means of production of materials. The convergence of fashion and technology also provides opportunities to transform not just clothes but
the people wearing them. Myant is a company that’s pioneering the creation of clothing that
can monitor your every move. We call it textile computing. Some other people call it smart fabric. Essentially, it’s an interactive fabric that could sense data from you. So-called smart fabrics are being touted as the next frontier
of wearable technology. Yarns are paired with electronic sensors so that essential data can be
captured from the human body. This is a men’s boxer. You can see the sensors embedded on the band and on the body. Within seconds, it will
start transmitting your ECG, temperature, your
movement, your respiration. To create clothing that can monitor the wearer’s health and fitness, Myant has brought together teams of people that have not traditionally
worked under the same roof. We have the advanced research
engineers and scientists at nano scale technology,
electrical engineers, mechatronic engineers, software AI. We wanted them to
interface and to interact with fashion designers,
with pattern makers. Smart fabrics could radically change consumers’ relationships
with the clothes they wear. But as technology increases
the pace of change, how can the industry keep track of what consumers really want? Francesca Muston is the
head of retail at WGSN, the world’s leading
fashion forecasting agency. We are just seeing a pace of
change which is frightening, but it’s also incredibly exciting
for the future of fashion. The staff here use big data to analyze political, social,
and environmental trends in order to predict the
hot new looks of tomorrow. If we think back over the last five years at how the fashion industry has changed, think about the way that we shop compared to the way that we used to shop. Technology is driving an explosion in consumer choice, as well
as the bewildering array of clothing design and creation. To keep up, the industry is
also turning to technology. We are for sure in the midst
of a digital revolution; AI, the idea of machine
learning and big data. How do we start to sort of synthesize all of these new technologies and start to make sense of it,
both in terms of industry but also in terms of the consumer? Machine-learning technologies are now central to fashion
forecasting, quickly spotting patterns among the
ever-growing volume of data. From bio-technology to demographic shifts, predicting trends is no longer an art; it’s becoming a science.

90 Replies to “What will people wear in the future? | The Economist”

  1. It will probably be something dumb and retarded. However, it might be something better. MAYBE

    Maybe they won't even wear clothes :OOOOOOO

  2. So even our clothes will be a part of the Internet of Things?

    Our jeans, our refrigerator and our toaster will be data to companies to help them with targeted smart advertising.

  3. I just don’t understand what’s the point of collecting all this data about your body. Like do you ever analyze it? Unless you’re a professional athlete? Also can’t a smart watch do all of that already?

  4. Your information and video about enticing prospects will not disappoint anyone
    I want faster to the future !
    Thank You dear The Economist !

  5. Google Glasses n graphene will almost be no fashion we will have ruined it global warming will make anything imported or not local to us immoral n we’ll create our own outfits which will be digital and change colour and look with an app so you only need one jacket or whatever

  6. The arm will definitely be made us of because of how accessible it is. I expect jumpers, coats, jackets to have in built displays for whatever reasons.

  7. Without standardization (like mobile phones, voice controlled Bluetooth speakers,…) smart appliances only succeed in niche markets. Smart clothing is 95% hype, not a massive movement.

  8. I’m not wearing no smart fabrics. I wouldn’t be able to jack off in peace without a warning about my heart rate going up.

  9. I think people will wear completely transparent clothes which will protect them from heat/cold/rain and at the same time they can attract opposite sex better than now as the social/saxual/moral taboos will be decreased in society in future.

  10. People before the car image the future of horse and carriage that can glide in the air , to to predict the future is not possible, out of millions of people that guess one or two have to be right and for some reason they are experts for life because of a luck guess

  11. Fashion is evil. Clothes should keep you warm or key off the elements be comfortable and cover your nakedness. Anything more id vanity and brainwashing

  12. not a word on most consequential aspect: automated sewing robots. but hey the graphics are flashy so… good job!

  13. Ew our clothes will be hackable now and record all our body data and send it to companies to enslave us grosss…

  14. Once all the preliminary culling for peak human perfection is reached, I think form and function in the most basic sense will be the idea behind fashion.Uniformity.

  15. I really like the idea of mushroom leather versus all that "vegan leather" used now, i.e. pleather! Only a small percentage is derived from natural materials, most is PVC and polyurethane.

  16. Smart materials will be self healing. For example, when you get a small hole in your shirt it will heal the same way a small cut would heal on your body.

  17. If you have a 🔨 everything becomes nail. They literally use AI in everything. Like, I am selling AI enhanced kittens which can perform normal 🐈 duties, plus predict your future.

  18. everything nature has created, we can mimic, biofuels from algae and convert it into gas and jet fuel, diamonds, silk, growing meat from animal cells, etc.

  19. I believe that the current technologies for creating clothes have reached a new level and this is really impressive.

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