I have attended a number of events recently which have attempted to open up discussion between the fashion and tech communities. I am pleased that these conversations are happening, but they have left me feeling a little disillusioned.
Perhaps it is just the artist in me which is crying out because the conversations I have witnessed so far are too mainstream and commercial. I have come across any number of people who are looking to make the next best app or website which “revolutionizes the way we shop” but I have yet to hear a single acknowledgement in this particular arena of the magic of fashion, the sheer heartbreaking brilliance of fashion as a language which communicates in a unique way.
Fashion is not just about shopping and looking good. It is a method of communication that has defined eras. The entire technological revolution was triggered by the automation of the loom – the science of weaving which led to the web in which we are all now tied up.
I feel that short-sighted “quick buck” thinking is prevalent in the #fashion/tech conversation, (as in most of the tech business conversations). The really revolutionary fashion developments at the moment are not about high heels and pretty girls, they do not really fit old ideas of youth fashion either. It is worth remembering that the money machine which is now Vivienne Westwood inc. developed after years if not decades of experimental non-revenue generating behaviour. The fact is true value often takes years of passion and experimentation. I feel depressed that a conversation in one of the greatest fashion cities in the world, and arguably the most creative city in the world, is so far so bland. I wish there were more conversations happening about fashion projects such as Catalytic Clothing or stealth wear Perhaps my taste is unusual.
London is the city that spawned and houses Showstudio.com, arguably the world forerunner in the web/fashion/tech arena. Surely we should be trying to move forward from that point, keep raising the bar. One of the main suggestions from the recent event I attended was the importance of content, but I’m not sure I heard any mention of the quality of that content. I can’t be the only person who never wants to see another bad quality photograph/video online, can I? If people coded the way many take photos the web would be unusable, professionalism should be visible in every aspect of an enterprise.
I am writing this as a way of clarifying my thoughts, perhaps as a way of thinking out the conversation I would like to see happen between the fashion and tech communities. All I know for certain right now is that it doesn’t relate to an app which shifts bags or shoes. It is telling that not that high a proportion of fashion retail happens online, I feel it shouldn’t be overlooked that the reason for this may well be that the web lacks the personal touch, the web will not tell you honestly if that suits you, or recommend a tailor to make adjustments. Buying from the web may give you a small rush of acquisition adrenaline, but I suspect that most people will continue to prefer the touch of clothes on a rail and the conversation and support of a skilled knowledgable vendor. Clothes are our second skin, an intimate and integral part of our lives, and as such deserve due respect as more than pure commodity.
The fashion tech I want to know more about is stuff like this glove that changes colour when there are toxins near – clothes can literally save our lives, it’s a mistake to treat them as frippery. Perhaps we just need two seperate terms #fashionretailtech and #fashiontech
2013 © R Megawhat