The thing about technology in fashion is that it comes in all forms, shapes, and sizes. It may mean that your coat self heats by the click of a button or it might be that your dress only exists in a digital form rather than physical. The possibilities are endless and the creations we are seeing in the fashion industry are out of this world. Fashion design tech labs are popping up globally and Jasna Rok is the founder of the first Belgium location, and her work in emotional intelligent fashion technology is unlike anything we have seen before.
By combining fashion, science, and technology Rok is designing tech that responds to the wearer’s physical environment. Instead of having to tell people how you are feeling, why not let your clothes do it for you?
Her most recent project (Re)Connect) was exhibited at Nasa’s Museum in 2020. This piece of technology is recognized as “the world’s first and unique emotional intelligent fashion piece”. Something like this is expected to disrupt not only the fashion industry but also will play a role in healthcare, sustainability, communication, retail, and human emotion.
What Jasna Rok has designed is something that the fashion industry has never seen before. Her project Brainwaves exposed “the procedures of the brain and how emotions can be presented in fashion design” and the pieces are extensions of oneself that have been translated from brainwaves. Think mood ring just much more effective and tech savvy. The garment is like a second skin that can connect with the wearer’s health, emotion, and thoughts.
One of the projects that is under work right now is the Mindlight headband. The technology can detect levels of focus and will light the headband accordingly. If the wearer’s focus is at 100% the band will be fully lit. The goal of this headband is to improve productivity by training your brain to focus. The headband allows you to track when you’re at your most productive state of mind during the day.
The word FTIzation is a fusion between fashion, technology, and digitization. This project is focused on a digital design tool that exists in a virtual reality. The VR allows for designers to build entire collections in a digital world before creating the physical copies. By doing this digitally before going through the process of production, showing, and selling the garments, make the entire design process much more sustainable.
Perhaps one of the strongest drivers of the technological fashion industry is how sustainable it is and how it can respond to our issues of textile waste and overconsumption. Currently 25 billion pounds of textile waste are being generated yearly in the US and only 15% is being recycled or donated. The sustainable fashion industry is responding to this issue by trying to shift the way in which we consume fashion by favouring a circular economy approach. Garment production is extremely wasteful thus brands that favour organic or fairtrade resources should be favoured. Not only are these products more sustainable in the production process, they are created with longevity in mind.
Fashion Tech Lab (FLT) founded by Miroslava Duma is a space where tech innovators can expand their ideas into actual prototypes. Currently the company is responsible for the discovery and execution of over 350 technologies with a large focus on innovative textiles.
One of their startups is MycoWorks, their work is focused on creating sustainable leather without the use of animal byproducts. The market for leather has steadily increased in the past decades as the demand for quality goods such as handbags grows. MycoWorks’s leather is made out of mycelium and agricultural byproducts in a carbon-negative process. Fashion is one of the most wasteful industries therefore sustainable technologies such as these are at the forefront of innovation. Their first retail product was a bag made in collaboration with Hermès, a bag made out of their Fine Mycelium. Having luxury brands like these adopting these technologies is groundbreaking for the fashion industry.
Another innovator of technological innovation in fashion is Austrian designer Flora Miranda. Similar to Rok, Miranda has focused her work on the connection between the human body and the clothing that we wear. Working with infamous designers such as Iris Van Herpen have allowed Miranda to break through into the luxury fashion world. She says her garments are a form of escapism from the real world and she put a heavy emphasis on aesthetics. “The world of Flora is extraterrestrial, extravagant, extreme, exclusive and exciting to revel in mystery and surprise”, the combination of art and tech is reminiscent in her new collection.
The fashion industry is rapidly shifting and we are seeing new and exciting innovations everyday. Because technology runs the global it only makes sense that it has made an appearance in fashion. Innovators like Jasna Rok are paving the way for intelligent fashion technology and we can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!