You Should Be Watching: The Future of Fashion

Fashion is by its very nature obsessed with the future. An ever-accelerating cycle of seasons and trends encourages constant innovation and an obsession with the ‘new.’ With the advent of new wearable technologies like Google Glass and the hype surrounding new production techniques like 3-D printing, the future of fashion has never been more exciting as designers look to incorporate these elements into their work. At the same time, the fashion industry is slowly becoming aware of its impact on the environment and its responsibility to work towards more sustainable models of production and consumption. The following three videos explore the future of fashion with a particular focus on issues of sustainability and technology.

1. The Next Black – A Film About the Future of Clothing

A fascinating documentary from an unlikely source (home appliance company AEG), The Next Black is a series of profiles of designers and other innovators in the fashion industry, all of whom are working towards their vision of the future of fashion. From Studio XO and Adidas’ wearable technology to Biocouture and Patagonia’s work towards an increasingly sustainable industry, all of the interviewed subjects passionately convey their vision for the future of the industry.

2. SHOWstudio: Sustainable Fashion Panel Discussion

Lou Stoppard of SHOWstudio is joined by Dilys Williams and Renee Cuoco of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, Katherine Poulton of The North Circular, jeweler Michelle Lowe-Holder and Abigail Murray of Designer Jumble in this thoughtful panel discussion on developments in sustainable fashion. The panelists discuss the inherent difficulties faced by an industry that is notoriously unsustainable while acknowledging the many larger issues that are at play. Countless interacting spheres of production, distribution and consumption influence each other, while sustainability is not a fixed point – how a consumer engages with and uses a product after it is purchased is a major factor in its overall sustainability. The panelists conclude that the future of sustainable fashion lies in convincing consumers that true luxury is about integrity and encouraging people to question their purchasing decisions, suggesting that everyone can enjoy fashion without necessarily having to buy more.

3. Has Technology Changed Pattern, Colour & Cloth in Fashion? Digital Talks from London Fashion Week SS15

Simon Hopkins of the Knowledge Transfer Network chairs this panel discussion at London Fashion Week with Francesca Rosella of CuteCircuit, Lauren Bowker of The Unseen, Nancy Tilbury of Studio XO, Cher Potter of London College of Fashion and contemporary ‘cyborg’ artist Neil Harbisson. A lively discussion covering many aspects of fashion and technology, the panelists share their successes and visions of the future while acknowledging the difficulties faced in creating innovative wearable technologies. The need for new training for designers as well as increased collaboration and a shared vocabulary between designers and engineers and coders is identified as crucial to the development of the industry. Possible negative side effects to these wearable technologies are also touched upon, from the risks and repercussions of being constantly connected to technology through our clothing, to issues of privacy and data protection.

Bonus: Clothing of the Future! 

And finally, just for fun, a video from the archives of British Pathe Studios foretelling the future of fashion, as predicted in 1939 by a few unnamed American designers. A reminder that despite our best informed predictions, it will always be impossible to predict what the future holds for the fashion industry.

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