You Should Be Reading: Fashion and the Future

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This week’s You Should Be Reading column takes a look at the future of fashion through the lens of technology: what sorts of new advances in fashion design and consumption will be possible over the next decade or more? This is an interesting question when we consider the exponentially fast pace of tech developments in today’s world. And while many of these developments started with different applications in mind, the fashion world has used its inherent ingenuity to tweak such developments for its own purposes. We are the lucky consumers who benefit from such research. What does the future hold? These four recently published articles give you some idea. Enjoy!

1. Blázquez, M. (2014). Fashion shopping in multichannel retail: The role of technology in enhancing the customer experienceInternational Journal of Electronic Commerce, 18(4), 97-116. 

The difficulty of translating the in-store experience to the online environment is one of the main reasons why the fashion industry has been slower than other sectors to adopt e-commerce. Recently, however, new information technologies (ITs) have enabled consumers to evaluate fashion online, creating an interactive and exciting shopping experience. As a result, clothing has become the fastest-growing online category of goods bought in the United Kingdom. This trend could have serious consequences for brick-and-mortar stores. The aim of this quantitative research is to gain a better understanding of multichannel fashion-shopping experiences, focusing on the role of IT and the crossover effects between channels. In particular, the author explores the influence of the level of online experience on the perceptions and motivations of fashion consumers when they buy across multiple channels. The theoretical framework of hedonic and utilitarian shopping values is applied to measure consumers’ shopping experiences and shopping motivations to buy in different channels. The results from a quantitative survey of 439 consumers in the United Kingdom suggest the need to redefine the in-store shopping experience, promoting the use of technology as a way to create an engaging and integrated experience among channels. Retailers must think in all channels holistically, boosting interactive and new technologies for the Internet and taking advantage of all touchpoints with the consumer, including mobile devices and social networks. — Paraphrased Article Abstract

2. Gilgen, D., & Frankjaer, T. R. (2014). From wearables to soft-wear: Developing soft user interfaces by seamlessly integrating interactive technology into fashionable apparelDesign, User Experience, and Usability. User Experience Design Practice, 8520, 253-260.

The development of electronic features for use in apparel has advanced rapidly in recent years, and applications in athletic wear have been particularly successful. However, ‘Smart Fashion’ has not yet been integrated into everyday garments. In this paper the authors propose a new approach to the design of interfaces in Smart Fashion, which they refer to as the Soft User Interface (SUI). The ways in which e-textiles physically convey information differs greatly from traditional ways in that information is communicated via graphical user interfaces on computers, smartphones or on WearComp devices. As a result of their research, the authors advocate the use of iconic and indexical signs for Smart Fashion as these are widely accessible and understood. As an extension to this new interface paradigm, they expect that the harvesting of biometric data, including bodily gestures, will significantly extend the possibilities of SUIs. — Paraphrased Article Abstract

3. Nosu, K., & Ikeda, M. (2014). A preliminary analysis of item-selection behavior of Japanese female university students examining a 2D virtual fashion web site.  IEEJ Transactions on Electrical and Electronic Engineering, 9(5), 569-571.

E‐commerce is spreading into various fields in our daily lives as a result of the growth of interactive Internet communication technologies. Two‐dimensional computer graphics (2D CG) image presentations, which are simple and inexpensive, can be displayed directly on apparel e‐commerce sites. This study uses sequential pattern mining to analyze the item‐selection behavior of Japanese female university students examining a 2D virtual fashion Web site. It is found that most users did not initially examine their favorite category items; instead, they examined the commonly viewed items first, and then examined various other fashion items before making their final selection. — Full Article Abstract 

4. Sohn, M., & Bye, E. (2014). Exploratory study on developing a body measurement method using motion captureClothing & Textiles Research Journal, 32(3), 170-185.

This was an exploratory study on measuring body surface measurement change in motion using a motion capture system. The purpose was to test the reliability of a motion capture system as a new body measurement method, and to investigate body surface measurement changes in motion. Using an optical motion capture system, this study focused on the measurement changes on the back of the body while the subject performed an arm rotation test. The results of this study suggested that the motion capture system can be used as a body measurement method, especially for measuring the body in continuous movement. The results of the body surface measurement change in the arm rotation motion test showed that upper body measurements increased or decreased corresponding to the shoulder joint and scapula movement. The shoulder width (-38.45%), back width (16.08%), and back arc at the armpit (27.69%) exhibited the most change. — Full Article Abstract 


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