Have you heard of mushroom leather or smart clothing? And this is not just a futurist’s vision, but rather the same reality as sewing and fabric-cutting robots or smartphone-based clothes fitting.
Manufacturing in the fashion sector is becoming digitalized as technology advances. It enables companies to be as adaptive as feasible in order to fulfill one of the market’s most crucial demands: originality. Many clients want customised clothing; for example, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Nike, and Ralph Lauren footwear may already be personalized. Levi’s has a Tailor Shop and a Print Bar, which are used at festivals and other events to quickly and efficiently produce custom clothing.
Customers’ second most popular request is for environmental friendliness and quality. The coronavirus outbreak has exacerbated this trend, with people focused on long-term worth rather than short-term fashion.
As a result of these developments, demand for fast fashion, which is extensively advertised by mass market manufacturers, is decreasing. They created this trend to increase their own sales. However, much will change in the next five to seven years because mindful consumerism is harming the mass market. People will buy fewer, higher-quality items less frequently. When choosing a sweater, for example, they will choose one that will compliment their basic outfit rather than one that is popular this summer. The substantial digitalization of activities results in complete control over the manufacturing and selling of products.
Fashion is a seasonal industry. A unified database of product movements – a single information field – is necessary to enable the simultaneous performance of all the cycles. Octonius accomplished this through process automation. This is said to be setting the framework for more digitisation.
There is a push toward industrial automation and the creation of a unified digital ecosystem in which commodity design, manufacture, and supply are all integrated into a single chain. Furthermore, a plethora of CNC-related machining are already in automated use.
Already in 2016, Adidas built the Speedfactory, which includes 3D printing, computerized knitting, robotic manipulation, and a small workforce to manage operations. This has enabled the company to meet the demand for new models to be delivered rapidly while simultaneously dealing with rising labor costs in Asia and higher shipping prices.
Augmented Reality (AR)
One of the concerns with online purchases is the high likelihood of size or style inaccuracy. This difficulty is now solved by applications that allow you to pick up and “try on” clothing.
The second stage in enhancing online fitting is the adoption of a digital consumer profile that displays its physical features. Together with AR-fitting, this will help to match the size as precisely as possible and meet the buyer’s requirements. Similar technology exists today, but in a more simplified form. ASOS, for example, has a “Calculate your size” feature. It links user purchases with related parameters (weight and height) and aids in picking an item based on this data. If the consumer specifies whether the items should fit loosely or snugly, the computer will take this into account and offer the suitable size.
This is not a single technology, but a whole branch: the development of high-tech clothing constructed of unique breathable and waterproof materials that allow for freedom of movement and comfort. The technologies employed to develop such materials differ. For example, Under Armour developed Iso-Chill smart fabric, which is used in hot weather training apparel. Flattened acrylic fibers and a titanium dioxide coating make up the substance. This type of clothing constantly dissipates heat and provides a feeling of coolness. Chameleon fabrics and morphing garments are good examples too. Imagine your jacket being green in the morning and pink at night.
Or that you put on a tuxedo for a dinner party, then transform it into a jacket and go on a picnic just using constructive aspects of one single garment. Clothing becomes more versatile since one outfit may replace five to seven wardrobe items.
Producing with Integrity
According to McKinsey, the global fashion industry emits 2.1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases each year. This accounts for around 4% of worldwide annual greenhouse gas emissions, which is larger than the total emissions from international airplanes and shipping. Consumers are becoming more aware of the negative consequences of rapid fashion and are emphasizing sustainable materials, as well as transparent, ethical labor and production. This generates a demand not just for environmental activities such as clothes recycling, but also for the creation of whole new materials. This is how Bolt Threads creates Mylo leather from mushroom roots. In 2021, Adidas released the first shoe concept composed on this material. Levi’s uses WaterLess technology to use 96 percent less water in the production of jeans.
The work necessitates a systematic approach. Digitalization is a new industry and it keeps growing. And unless product life cycle is fully digitalized, the business will not survive longterm. Modern problems need the usage of trained specialists, which are few. Many organizations are presently facing acute workforce shortages, prompting the creation of digital platforms that connect businesses and experts.
It is critical to establish an environment in which the entire team communicates! It is more efficient to collaborate than compete.