The Canadian brand Olbrich Knitwear is on a mission to combine technology with classic fashion styles that can be worn anywhere. To accomplish this, the company has had to confront the challenge of utilizing sustainable materials and keeping up a low-carbon supply chain, which has added stress and costs. Amanda Cosco, a Toronto-based fashion technology expert and founder of Electric Runway, an ongoing multimedia project that documents how technology is transforming the fashion industry, explains that one of the obstacles faced by the smart fashion industry is that customers are not used to their clothes being made of hardware. In addition to personalization, many brands are likely to invest in in-store features and experiences next year, bridging the gap between online and offline channels and moving away from independent technologies such as magic mirrors, connected hangers and interactive holograms. A fundamental element in expanding the role of technology could be to apply digital tools to make comprehensive improvements in the value chain. From demand forecasting to transport operations, one of the few certainties of fashion is that nothing stays the same and that the opportunities offered by technology continue to evolve as some markets seek to overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to experts, the possibility of using digital technologies in fashion not only opens up possibilities for consumers, but it also offers creative ways for designers to experiment without the limitations of fabric budgets and the wasteful nature of physical design. Anina Net began her career as a model and later became a pioneer of the fashion technology industry when she founded 360Fashion Network, a network of fashion professionals that brings the latest technologies to the fashion industry. The task of fashion decision makers is to consider how to harness technology to encourage creativity, streamline operations and create value based on innovation that can be maintained in the coming years. As trends come and go in fashion, the smart fashion space will continue to have more room to grow as more technological innovations become available. Over the next three years, key areas in which fashion executives could make digital investments include personalization, store technologies and comprehensive value chain management, where digital can make a real difference in performance. Berzowska, who helped develop the PoloTech shirt for Ralph Lauren as director of electronic textiles at OMSignal, points out that while the smart fashion industry has been gaining ground, there has always been “an interesting tension” in the field of fashion technology. By creating digital clothing samples, Seddi Canada is creating technology and leading the way to the future of fashion and retail from here in Atlantic Canada.
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