The Cutting Edge of High-Tech Fashion
Good fashion and design elevates raw materials into art. As material sciences progress and fabrication technology improves, these raw materials are evolving and becoming smarter. As a result, designers are looking to revolutionize clothing and usher in a new age of High-Tech Fashion. In this article, I will discuss some of the most exciting new developments and how they are being integrated into fashion design.
These highly anticipated sneakers by Adidas incorporate some of the latest technologies in material science. They partnered with Materialize, a 3-D printing company, to create a unique 3D-printed running shoe. The intricate lattice of the midsole is customized to the athlete’s foot to create the perfect fit. The upper can also be made out of a variety of different materials. Adidas has already created several prototypes with uppers made from recycled electrical wire or from plastic waste recovered from the ocean. Futurecraft has yet to be widely released to the public and prices are still extremely high in the mid 300s, but the technology is promising. Hopefully in the near future, these sustainable and fully customizable sneakers will be more accessible to everyone.
BioCouture is a company based in London that produces clothing from bacterial cellulose. Bacteria are grown in large vats of specific media and produce a cellulose material that the company’s founder Suzanne Lee likens to “vegetable leather.” BioCouture produces a wide range of products such as jackets, shoes, and skirts that are all compostable and biodegradable. The company emphasizes sustainability and produces these garments with minimal raw materials and waste. In the future, Lee has discussed the possibility of living microbes being incorporated into the clothing itself, to live symbiotically with the wearer and even monitor the body for signs of illness.
Self-healing fabrics have long been fantasized about in the design industry. One of the most relevant practical applications would be in waterproof articles of clothing. While clothing with self-repairing qualities is still far off from mass production, new research from the journal Applied Materials & Interfaces has demonstrated that a special coating on fabric can melt at low temperatures and reanneal to seal any gaps in the waterproofing. When tested, researchers found that materials retained their waterproofing ability even after 100 scratches with a razor blade and 200 wash cycles. More distantly in the future, some scientists are working on developing clothing integrated with bacteria than can recognize and heal tears in the fabric itself. Maybe in the future, those annoying rips and tears in your clothes will become a thing of the past.
As textiles and manufacturing technology continue to improve, we may enter a new era of clothing, one in which wearables and sustainable materials are commonplace. It’s hard to predict whether this high-tech subdivision of fashion will displace the current focus on cheap, fast fashion, but it is exciting to see where new developments may take us in the future.