The invasion of technology into the world of fashion continues to shake up codes and practices.
Bringing us up to date: Gilles Lasbordes, General Manager of Première Vision, and Pascal Morand,
Executive President of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode.
Do you think fashion and technology are now inseparable?
Gilles Lasbordes. Yes, and in my view this evolution has moved into all areas. It is found in product development,
with the introduction of technological elements that enhance the experience. It’s found in a more industrial approach to production, with 3D printing and computer-aided design. Digital is also changing the retail landscape, and plays a role in the creative process as well.
Pascal Morand. The amazing progress being made in the field of fashion is primarily due to this fourth industrial revolution, which embraces all the manifestations of digital technology. These transformations are on an unprecedented scale and we are only at the beginning. What’s more, technology is now an integral part of fashion – you can no longer separate one from the other.
Which players are most closely concerned by this upheaval?
GL. Everyone is affected by technological innovation: the textile sector as a whole, the retail world, brands now facing competition from those launched via digital platforms…
PM. Technology disrupts everything: the economic model, creativity, manufacturing, textiles… But the real challenge lies in the connection between innovations brought about by new technologies and traditional methods. High-tech products must also be fashion products, embodying a sensory appeal, an emotion and therefore a desirability. You have to use technology but also transcend it.
Which innovations have most impressed you?
GL. Some are a little gadgety but I still applaud them, for example Nike’s self-lacing sneakers that make me think of
Zemeckis’ “Back to the Future” movie. More seriously, there are many relationships between medical research and textiles that deserve our interest, such as connected t-shirts to indicate your heartbeat, etc. And let’s not forget the Google jacquard that gives the textile a tactile dimension, as touch-sensitive as the screen on our smartphones.
PM. I am really fascinated by artificial intelligence and its ability to forge its own form of identity. I’m also keeping an interested eye on the fount of creative enrichment provided by big data, which allows designers to learn about consumers’ tastes in the most intimate way. I am also impressed by 4D manufacturing, where shapes move over time.
In which direction is research heading?
GL. The latest advances are all over the place, but the consumer is more and more interested in meaning and added value. The trend is towards technologies that simplify everyday life or improve our well-being. In addition, research focuses on advanced technologies that could, for example, allow the garment to provide electricity natively. Everything seems possible!
PM. There’s some very interesting research, such as the experiments being conducted to stiffen materials so they can be cut before making them flexible again. In robotics the attempt to reproduce people’s actual finger movements is also exciting. More generally, research multiplies the overlap between very different activity sectors, such as designers, mathematics researchers, weaving researchers etc. For me, it’s that combination that seems most forward-looking, because innovation is always based on transversality and diversity
> > Next February explore the Wearable Lab, a village entirely dedicated to Fashion Tech (Hall 6), structured around 4 areas: R&D, materials and components/start-up, a specific program of conferences and an inspiring exhibition featuring the designs of Clara Daguin.