What is Fashion-Tech?






Wearables are on body products such as clothing, footwear, accessories and jewellery designed to create a communication/interaction enabled by technologies such as digital and virtual to amplify and extend natural ability and performance of the human body or add new functions to the user connecting him with his body, with other persons or objects and with the environment. 


Their design process requires simultaneous or separate participation of professionals with knowledge and skills from fashion design, natural sciences, engineering, economics and management. 


Digital manufacturing is an integrated approach to manufacturing that is centred around a computational system using tools such as 3D technologies, robotics, AI and AR to enable open and distributed manufacturing, that can reshape design, production, distribution and retail processes. The extent of applications ranges from large scale industrial systems, industry 4.0 and DIY/mini- and micro-factories, up to digital service platforms and bottom-up innovation processes, on-demand manufacturing, collaborative and onsite manufacturing (fab-lab and maker space), and repairing and remanufacturing systems.


As a part of the fashion system, the field is mainly managed by engineers using 3D modelling software to design tools and equipment necessary for their intended applications. Designers benefit from embedding these innovative tools throughout the design process to promote process innovation. 


Fashion and technology have developed independently and simultaneously throughout history, while also finding points of convergence and significantly impacting each other. As both are described as interdisciplinary processes combining different disciplines and tools to create user experiences, the joint field of fashion technology interconnects the areas of fashion, design, natural sciences, engineering, and economics and management. Also known as fashion-tech, it is defined as ´technology that enables a fashion experience for the user wearing it or interacting with it`. Fashion-tech products and/or services can be developed for their functionality, to create ways of communication, and for increased sustainability. 

While design includes aspects related to the product, user experience and communication, the area of natural sciences/technology relate to the purely technical knowledge and skills at the intersection of wearables, smart textiles and digital manufacturing. The third area, economics and management, includes topics related to business management, supply chain management and market intelligence. Fromdesign to retail, from product to communication,fashion and technology are interconnected andthe shift from craft to industrial production, fromanalogue to digital involves all stages of theproduction process, improving them and makingthem quicker and more efficient.

In terms of directions, the field of fashion-tech design stands at the intersection of wearable technology (or wearables), smart textiles, and digital manufacturing. On the other hand, issues may rise with how the relationship between the two fields impacts time. Technology can facilitate faster and more ethical fashion in its processes, while fashion often has to wait for technology, that is much slower in development, to catch up, especially in times of market acceptance. 

In terms of directions, the field of fashion-tech design stands at the intersection of wearable technology (or wearables), smart textiles, and digital manufacturing. 


Smart textiles are knitted, woven, non-woven fabric systems designed to sense and response to external stimuli (mechanical, thermal, chemical, biological, magnetic and electrical) enabled by advanced, physical and digital technologies. 


Within the design process, the designers (e.g. industrial, apparel, textile, system) aim to design product performance and functions, to develop innovative scenarios for user experience. Engineers (e.g. textile, electronics, computer) focus on experimenting and innovating the performance and functions


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