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30/12/2013

Style Check: how hi-tech innovations are driving fashion forward

As the new year is just around the corner, I thought I'd focus on the future of fashion.

With the internet having transformed how we view and buy fashion, the web is now likely to drive more sophisticated and functional developments for the industry.

Consumers who are bored by the unfiltered flood of information offered online will be happy to find technology providing more useful and targeted solutions.

One aspect to this increasing personalisation is offered by fashion apps. Apart from more common, information-based apps, also on the market are the likes of Fashion Kaleidoscope, a social media app that lets you scout and source other people's clothes by using their pictures.

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(Image: one shoulder bridesmaid dresses uk )

As companies rush to monetise mobile shopping for fashionistas on the go, this type of app is only a starting point for even more fruitful collaborations between technology and fashion.

3-D printing is another hot topic. This method of design and production has already yielded some glorious aesthetic wonders, including a striking articulated mesh gown for Dita Von Teese.

The dress was part of an eye-opening exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York called "Out of Hand: Materialising the Postdigitial", featuring 120 works of fashion, art, jewellery and furniture made possible by the latest digital technology.

The show included fantastical shoes sculpted from blocks of wood, sleek Nike football boots created with a 3-D printer, whimsical pattern-cut sweatshirts and stunningly complicated knits made from digital patterns.

One of my favourite pieces attracted a little less attention. The Julia necklace by Marc Newson is a diamond, sapphire and white gold objet d'art that mimics fractal art.

Crafted for French jeweller Boucheron, the design was named after Gaston Julia, a pioneering mathematician who researched what would later become known as fractals in the early 1900s. Two thousand stones and 1,500 hours later, a genius concept materialised into one of Boucheron's most expensive necklaces.

A renewed focus on material and technical innovation means that progress in fashion will be more functional and sophisticated than just incorporating digital prints - think full-body scanners used to calculate your exact measurements when getting fitted for a suit.

Sportswear brands such as Under Armour and Nike are forward thinking with their use of technology, using it to produce lighter, more durable "second skin" garments.

In terms of local innovators, LAByrinth is a brand that operates here and in New York that I've watched for years. Its founder - and my friend - Elaine Young, has developed a digital printing technique that uses microscopic patterns on silks and weatherproof bags. Newer prototypes use aerial views of geographical landscapes.

The crowning glory of her young label is the DNA necklace that incorporates a piece of DNA (sampled from you, your partner, friend, family or pet) suspended in a vial and set in a stainless steel decorative case. The pieces are unique, and combine elegance with science.

 

Fashion labels often harp on about "brand DNA", but LAByrinth gives new meaning to the word.

Read More: dusky pink bridesmaid dresses

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