Once a year, for one month, I give classes “trends and trend forecasting” to a group of freshman “Branding” students at the AMFI (Amsterdam Fashion Institute). Being the fifth year I give these courses, each and every time is a completely new, refreshing and joyful experience seeing the students’ commitment to envision the future.
This year I’ve asked the students to give their views on the future of the fashion industry. In the coming years fashion will be much more than simply creating and selling nice garments. Developments on a scientific and technological level, in combination with the widely spread awareness to care for our natural environment, it seems that designers are at the point of being transformed into “Creative Engineers”. A long with the introduction of Google Glass, 3D printed garments or the use of Augmented Reality, the future is not a case of “if”, but “when” will it be introduced on a large scale. The challenge for the industry and the professionals of tomorrow is immense; how to foresee, time and plan the fashion “needs and wants” of the near future.
The students had the freedom to choose from any subject within the field of design, logistics, production or general socio-cultural changes that will affect consumer behavior in the coming five to ten years. In hundred words they shared their predictions and believes in the future of fashion with a general outcome focused on nature, technology and individualism.
I want to thank all the students for their efforts and their contributions during the classes with a special thanks to: Judith Freriks & Anne Rosenberg, Marre Tramper, Lindy Blom, Ruby Cruden, Laura Fritz, Marisol Reuter, Travis Rice, Inês Lopes, Almut Pumpluen, Clemency Newman, Sarah Hillebrand, Sophie & Maxi Steinkamp, Gabriëlle Van Aardenne, Florien Mes, Firoza Mulahella, Tinka Weener, Sophie de Waal, Yan Yan Kho, Sabine van den Berg & Emilie van Kinschot
Please enjoy a selection of the first year Branders AMFI of 2014:
Blood pressure measuring clothing
In the future, technology will be so well developed that we are able to fabricate garments and accessories that are able to warn when our blood pressure is getting too low. When you buy the piece, for example a shirt or a bracelet, it demands only a few blood drips in order to determine your blood pressure. When you wear it, it connects through your skin with the status of your blood pressure. As soon as your blood pressure is dropping, your garment or accessory will start glowing in a red hue to warn you. It would make an amazing invention for people with diabetes, old people, when you haven’t drunk enough water (another cause of a too low blood pressure) and so on.
Fashion in the Future
As we accept to be living in multiple dimensions that all exist at the same time, we started to merge them together. Especially the digital world will become much more connected to our lives. For example, in retail spaces, technologies like the virtual reality goggles can make you feel as if you physically enter a virtual world. It will be possible to create retail spaces, that look like dreamworlds and can be changed in just one instant, according to season or collection. Also the consumer himself can participate in creating these environments.
Inspired by the rejuvenating tails of lizards and tentacles of octopi.
Programmed into our bodies, the fashion of the future will literally become an additional micro optic organ, not unlike our skin, that is able to both reflect and read our inner-most thoughts and desires. No longer needing to utilize the natural and synthetic textiles of today, as this second skin will literally mimic our skin, and naturally rejuvenate itself at the cellular level. Starting from birth, the programming of this layer into our bodies will allow it to grow and develop as we grow and develop, shedding itself, and evolving as we evolve.
In terms of designing and designers, this will play out in a huge shift from handcrafted/aesthetic based, to a more scientific/health oriented based background. However, a blending of the two is the most natural step forward.
Fashion will change due to our era of digitalization and the consistent rise of technology. “Wearable tech” is an already discussed issue and will be increasingly important during the future. Inventions such as the “Intimacy dress” which becomes transparent if your heart rate increases, or solar-powered clothing that enables you to charge your mobile devices without being bound to be in a building, are only the beginning of what is to come. If you think about the possibilities of a mechanism that could provide you with warmth and comfort in a strapless dress, while waiting in queue to go into a club, or materials that would change according to environmental circumstances, changes in fashion will be huge. Especially the Millennial generation would be attracted to tech-integrated clothing, which is lost without their gadgets. However, focusing on the fashionable aspect of the topic, one should ask himself whether technology is being adapted to fashion or if fashion is being adapted to technology and would therefore only take a secondary role in the whole revolution. The importance of aesthetics might get lost and fashion as a form of escapism and ability to get away from the overwhelming and information overloaded world might lose its value.
All in all, I think that it is immensely exciting how technology will affect our everyday life, especially because we are all longing for the practical aspects, also in fashion. And even though I hope that fashion will not loose its form of traditional, creative expression, I am confidant that technology will shape new innovative design creations.
Trends of the future
After the economy has grown back to a healthy state again, it would be optimistic to think that large companies and banks will start acting in a responsible way. People are starting to demand more honesty and transparency, as they are now more aware than ever of what companies do. I think there will be a backlash to the omnipotence of technology and is something that is starting to grow in popularity already. People are going to start re-appreciating the homemade, in all aspects of life. In fashion, this may take hold in people starting to make their own clothes again. New companies are starting to sell knitting and sewing patterns, bringing back the nostalgia of when people made and recycled their own clothing. I think that some people will totally abandon technology as an extreme view, but most will just learn the benefit of not having your smartphone in your pocket at all times.
Fashion in the Future
In the future, labels will be established with trust as their main criteria. The brands need to let the consumer experience the process of making, buying and wearing. In order for the consumer to trust the brand, the brand has to be completely transparent about their production process. Products and their development have to be unique, one of a kind and sustainable. 3D printing will make this experience happen because it will allow people to print their clothes themselves: and with this self-producing process, trust will be no longer an issue. Every household will have one or more printers and people will be buying raw materials for them so the market will make a shift.
Sabine van den Berg & Emilie van Kinschot
Future technology will be the main subject in fashion. When one travels to the future by time machine we will only see sustainable clothes. The goal of producing only sustainable clothing will be reached by the new developed technology. Iris van Herpen has created fabric that heels itself once it has been damaged, it is applied on every piece of clothing; for this, tailors will not be necessary anymore. But on the other hand the demand for unique pieces will grow, because of the decrease in price of sustainable clothing. Tailors will be asked to make these pieces.
Tomorrow’s world of fashion in 100 words
Yan Yan Kho
Dynamic. Innovative. Restrained. Personal. Contradictionary and thought.
Tomorrow’s world of fashion is a mash-up of feelings, style and character. A unique contradiction which can be found everywhere. Where people chase there feelings. By being normcore, by thinking out of the box. The boundaries are hard to see, hard to feel. Nothing can be placed in boxes. Feelings, style and character are running into eachother, running together. Tomorrow’s world of fashion includes extremes that are close together.
Dynamic. Innovative. Restrained but personal. Contradictionary and thought, that’s tomorrow’s world of fashion.