Five Ways Technology Has Shaped Fashion

By Philip J Reed, on behalf of Aston Royal

Technology has influenced fashion since the invention of the sewing machine. High-technology has been incorporated into the fashion industry in many ways. Fashion shows that were previously exclusive events are now streamed online. QR codes allow an enhanced buying experience, teenage bloggers are dictating styles and new fabrics and embedded technologies have practically converted garments into wearable computers. Here’s a list of five ways technology is currently shaping fashion.

Onlookers at the live streamed Burberry show during LFW in Feb. 2011

1. Live streamed fashion shows

Fashion shows used to be exclusive events for the wealthy, fashionistas and journalists. Now companies like Burberry have turned their fashion shows into live events streamed to all their locations and onto a billboard-sized screen in Picadilly Circus. People can watch and buy the latest fashions directly from their smartphones via the Runway to Reality application.

2. Blogs

Bloggers have become a powerful force in the fashion world. Teenage bloggers are in the front row for some of the biggest fashion shows around the world. The power they have to make or break a style is incredible. With their approving blog post, a new designer can become instantly famous. The blogger’s weapon of choice is the smartphone or electronic tablet. They command armies of buyers with disposable income who want to be on the cutting edge of fashion.

Silk scarf created by Crystal J. Robinson

3. QR codes

QR codes are the latest form of barcodes. The main difference is these codes have built-in links to websites. By scanning the QR code on a garment, a buyer can be whizzed to a web page or mobile magazine with additional information on the product and styling suggestions. Other applications overlay text on the garment’s scanned image describing the fabric qualities and fine tailoring.

4. Online Fittings

For those who can’t get to the store, mobile platforms bring the store to them. These mobile platforms permit you to print a digitally coded photo of a ring, for example. Cut out the ring’s image, and put it on your hand. When you hold your hand up to your webcam, the software shows what the real ring would look like on you. Hair salons can also offer a 3-D view of how you’d look in a particular hairstyle before you go under the scissors.

5. High-tech clothing

Fabric batteries can power computers that are built-into jackets and coats. Advanced applications of this technology can lead to clothing that can charge MP3 devices or smartphones. Textile batteries can also be used to heat clothing. Flexible, wearable displays are on their way. Rather than color t-shirts, you’ll soon see animated t-shirts and other garments. Athletic garments will soon be equipped with heart monitors and pedometers.

Who knows what advances tomorrow will bring? One thing is for sure. If there’s a way for it to be applied to the highly competitive and ever-evolving fashion world, somebody will figure out a way to use it.


Philip is a writer and fashion enthusiast, working in association with Aston Royal Fine Jewelers. Feel free to browse their selection of birthstone rings, and contact them with any questions you might have!

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