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Marine Ourahli explains how the worlds of coding and fashion can combine to create a more sustainable design through wearable technology.

Technology makes, it imagines and it can also be worn. The current situation between the pandemic and climate crisis has pushed the fashion industry to reinvent and rethink itself in order to remain relevant. The ecological issue is at the heart of the fashion industry and has led to several advances, but these are still too small in comparison to the climate catastrophe we are facing. Fashion has always followed different societal evolutions, and has often been a precursor of these changes. Technology is often thought of in everyday life as an accessory and some brands have quickly understood this. Apple is one of the brands that has best understood the importance of aesthetics in its products, so they have designed elegant objects, with curves that work and are thought of as true fashion objects. One thinks of course of the iPhone, but there have also been headphones and watches that can be greatly customized. 

The links between technology and fashion go beyond the mere accessory and into the very way clothes are created. Several designers have taken advantage of these new technologies to offer us unique pieces, revolutionizing the way we design. We can of course think of the designer Iris Van Herpen who distinguished herself by being the first to use 3D printing to create grandiose sculptural pieces. Visionary Iris van Herpen was the first designer to introduce a 3D printed dress in a fashion show in 2013. Karl Lagerfeld echoed her by launching a 3D printed suit for Chanel. In collaboration with American sculptor Anthony Howe, known for his wind-driven works, Van Herpen created a kinetic dress that changes shape throughout the runway for her autumn-winter 2019 collection. She has also taken a stand for more sustainable fashion and advocates the use of new technologies and materials as a sustainable alternative. She works with architects and scientists to develop more environmentally friendly textiles. "In haute couture, we have the time and space to develop new materials," she says, working to find materials that are totally sustainable. The idea is to look for sustainable materials, working especially around biotextile and thinking about processes to fight against waste, following the example of Pyrates, a Spanish company that has been creating fabrics made from natural fibers since 2014. Iris van Herpen is not the only one to revolutionize fashion through technology, Flora Miranda continues Van Herpen's work - she began her career with the designer. In 2016, she received the Outstanding Artist Award at the Austrian Fashion Awards where the jury noted "she has created an entirely new fashion utopia, inspired by experimentation with various materials, processes and production techniques". Her designs go through a long process of reflection, mathematical considerations, and translation into computer code. The use of coding is in favor of modifiable garments that react to personal data. Flora Miranda's clothing aims to adapt to the wearer thanks to the contributions of coding. 

The technology goes even further today with virtual reality and the omnipresence of the digital and virtual world. Fashion is trying to use virtual reality, avatars and even video games to limit the impact of one of the most polluting industries on the planet. The frontier between the real and the digital could be exploited by brands, and allow consumers to wear the most extravagant outfits without harming the environment for a moment. The idea is to create a virtual Ready Player One world where we can do what we want with fashion without having to use precious natural resources. All this is, of course, in development, but it could be the future of fashion.


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