Rise and role of technology in fashion design

In the age of AI and VR, robust immersion of technology has revolutionised the apparel, fashion, and luxury leather goods industry. From creating a new retail experience, and reforming the fashion eco-system, to stimulating exquisite designs on textiles, as well as effectuating new looks with a better fit for size inclusivity, technology has transformed how manufacturers and consumers experience fashion. Besides introducing new processes such as additive and subtractive techniques, it has also improved and streamlined the existing modes of manufacturing and production.

Manufacturing is a vital operational pivot in the fashion business. With technological advancements, new techniques are constantly emerging and more feasible options are coming to the horizon, facilitating prototyping and small to medium-scale production, putting to rest the issues previously face by small businesses. Prime amongst them is 3D printing, a form of additive manufacturing with use in fields ranging from aeronautics to medicine, rapidly being adapted into the design industry. In the pursuit of designing and prototyping a complex shape, 3D printing comes to the rescue, bringing the ideas to life in a matter of hours thus facilitating various iterations that would previously take days, if not weeks. With CAD (Computer-Aided Design) tools such as Solidworks or Rhino, the aspects of design that demand precision and refinement while the product is in its iterative phase, it’s easier to create detailed drawings and technical illustrations to facilitate later-stage mass-manufacturing while averting flaws and saving precious resources. A stitch in time saves nine.

Another recent technological advancement that is increasingly becoming common in the leather, textile and apparel industry is the Laser cutting and etching process. Apart from being user-friendly for file setups, its accuracy and speed have made it quite a hit in the fashion and furniture industries. Some key benefits of the laser cutting process include minimum to no material distortion, achieving pattern precision for repeated cuts, accurate sizing, and achieving complex design cuts. It has substantially elevated the inventive and innovative aspect of any design structure while keeping its efficiency and usability in place. Since the machine uses a highly focused beam of pulsating radiation, it creates a clean edge while cutting the materials. It has replaced the traditionally used hot knife or dies for small-scale production.

In the design world, a lot depends on the exact replication of the envisioned blueprint.

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) carving is another example of how newly accessible technology is helping in restoring the exquisiteness of any pattern or style. CNC carving includes replicating intricate carving designs traditionally done painstakingly with hands, in minutes. This technique has eased off the process of painstakingly replicating the sculptural designs creating an exquisite couture collective representing India’s rich culture and heritage through the reflections of famous stone and wood carving.

Although some would argue that these processes are putting traditional craftsmen out of business, they should be interpreted as a transition into the next stages of design where the mind’s creative flow is not hindered by our inability to physically create. These technologies made accessible to the general public, coupled with AI and software advancements, provide designers and people with a solid set of tools for the furtherment of their creativity and artistic expression.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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