Streetwear and Technology : Where is modern fashion headed?

March 04, 2021 8 min read

Streetwear and Technology: Where is modern fashion headed?

In a world where everything is moving at high speed, it is not surprising to see that the fashion industry is doing the same. The X factor in this evolution is the new technologies that keep revolutionizing streetwear.

Breathtaking designs, innovative concepts and futuristic trends are all thanks to the latest discoveries that are taking giant steps towards a futuristic world.

How is technology contributing to the evolution of urban fashion? What will happen to streetwear in a few years? Ready to discover a world you never knew existed? It's over here!

Techwear: a promising branch of urban fashion

How to talk about the impact of technology on streetwear without presenting its very incarnation, the techwear! Between two worlds, urban techwear merges streetwear and technology in a perfect way.

Who hasn't secretly dreamed of wearing a techwear outfit directly from your favorite futuristic series or game? Well, no need to dream anymore.

futuristic techwear

What if there was a brand that took the most revolutionary technologies and incorporated them into streetwear-inspired products? Granted, it sounds ultra revolutionary, and yet it's already here!

All this creates a whole new way of doing things. The essence of techwear is to go beyond the norms: to put the best of innovations to the benefit of fashion!

Technology at the service of streetwear

What if you didn't have to compromise between function, unique technology and aesthetics in your streetwear anymore? That's what techwear is all about: combining cutting-edge futuristic style and technology with high quality clothing!

There is a reason why techwear designers are considered the visionaries of the fashion industry!

From White Mountaineering to Acronym to Stone Island, urban techwear brands have made their mark on the industry, and fascinate many with their incredible innovations. What they have in common is their utilitarian side that dominates and depicts on the aesthetics of their looks.

stone island and acronym

Concretely, what distinguishes techwear from other fashion movements? It's basically:

  • The use of ultra-sophisticated materials: their surprising properties disguise their most audacious pieces in anodyne designs that don't pay any attention. Waterproofing, resistance, reflectivity, and so on, this is the ultimate in raw materials.
  • The striking designs: sometimes sober and minimalist, sometimes extravagant and futuristic, we recognize them between thousand. Their designs are sometimes counter-intuitive, but significantly adapted to our morphology and our movements. The dynamic ensemble is thought for a better user experience, a hidden luxury that makes all the charm of techwear.
techwear clothing

We combine two different worlds, technology and streetwear style: this is the future of fashion! If you want to learn more about techwear, don't hesitate to read our article about it.

The dystopian future is now!

Aiming for a futuristic touch to your style straight out of science fiction? You don't have to worry anymore, because thanks to new urban fashion movements, the surreal is becoming reality!

This was witnessed in 2019 with the reproduction of a jacket inspired by the hit game Death Stranding. The person behind this masterpiece is none other than Hideo Kojima. Like Tech designers, he is a forward thinker in the world of video games.

 death stranding jacket

The game takes place in a futuristic world ravaged and devastated by war. The protagonist, an extreme delivery man, braves the elements in the literal sense. Because, in this world, rain makes you age instantly. His only protection? A sleek jacket, with a design that is so striking, that the brand ACRONYM decides to bring it to life!

Working closely with Kojima's team, they launch the project in 2019. As you might have guessed a bit, it was a hit! Despite its exorbitant price of $1900, all copies sold out within hours. How is that possible?

Well, this jacket designed by ACRONYM is an exact replica of Death Stranding's unique streetwear style. And by exact replica, we're even talking about the protective technology against the elements.

Now you understand why Techwear is considered the most cutting edge branch of fashion. Combining technology and streetwear it fascinates and stands out, by far, from other trends!

The new dimension of streetwear: 3D printing

Durable, practical and highly efficient, 3D printing technology is one of the most useful inventions in any field. When it comes to clothing design and development, it is the best way to bring to life the most difficult ideas to realize in the traditional way, no matter what materials you are working with.

Adidas, the inveterate sports equipment brand, has already tested it on their designs. They started with Carbon, specialists in three-dimensional printing, to create the sole of their famous Futurecraft model, a world first!

adidas Futurecraft

The delicate and flexible mesh makes it one of the best and most futuristic sneakers of the moment.

On their side, Ministry of Supply, a clothing brand focused on 3D printing, offers its customers to manufacture their items on site. The interest is threefold:

  • On the one hand, the customer can ask for the item to be customized to his liking before buying it;
  • Then it is a monumental time saving compared to the usual production in company. Indeed, a jacket takes a little more than an hour to be printed,
  • All this without mentioning that it is much more economical, for the brand and for the environment. Not only do we save on the manufacturing process itself, but we also save on transport, delivery, etc.

Who knows, in the not too distant future, we might be able to buy our streetwear online, and print it close to home (or even at home!).

These are not just guesses! Experts say that new production and sales models are going in this direction: win-win for everyone.

Artificial Intelligence, the future of urban fashion?

Always at the center of the debate when it comes to technological advances, artificial intelligence is the harbinger that predicts a future fundamentally different from ours.

Let's forget about the possibility that robots could one day take over! Instead, let's contemplate the fascinating implications this technology could have on streetwear and urban fashion.

Towards a more focused design

In the age of autonomous cars, personal assistants on smartphones, and ECG tracking smartwatches, it's no surprise that technology has gradually made its way into streetwear!

Unlike us, Artificial Intelligence never lacks inspiration. It has been understood for a long time in aeronautics, car design and in the medical field.

The algorithm understands us, it knows what we like. The Google team is well placed to know this, hence their partnership with Zalando, "Project Muze". Basically, they trained a program to recognize aesthetic parameters and analyze user preferences online.

Based on the data collected, they set up a second algorithm to create designs that could captivate the audience in question to the max. This is to say that it is not the first search engine in the world without a reason.

Amazon has almost the same idea, but they've taken it up a notch. For their merch store, an online store for printed clothes, they designed a software that scanned the net for what people liked.

It detected all sorts of information about shopping preferences, even comments like "I want this on a T-shirt", and told the design team what to create.

One has to wonder if the invasion of our privacy is too aberrant anyway. Are there really limits? Is it tolerable since it is in our favor to have clothes that target our preferences and interests? Anyway, it is fascinating to know what an artificial intelligence is capable of.

The AI's artistic window

In addition to pseudo-spy activities and helping designers better understand what users like, Artificial Intelligences are becoming more and more independent. These days, they are an integral part of the creative process. You may have heard of algorithms creating classical music scores worthy of the great composers, well the same is true for urban fashion.

Tommy Hilfiger and IBM IA

You don't hear about it too much, but in 2018, Tommy Hilfiger brought in IBM for this purpose. Working with the Fashion Institute of Technology, their team developed an algorithm that not only analyzed fashion trends, but also reinvented and revisited them in a whole new light for upcoming collections.

At Stitch Fix, an independent American company, they take it a step further. Their program suggests innovative pieces that are absolutely customized for each customer. Wouldn't it be crazy not to have to go to the store to find exactly what you want in a few clicks?

fear of what urbancoolab

That said, in terms of artistic creation and innovation, the real champions are Urbancoolab, and we're super proud that such an initiative comes from a streetwear-oriented brand. What they're doing promises an impressive qualitative leap in design and originality.

So how do they do it? Simply put, the technologies they've set in motion allow them to tap into artistic sources in the creation of clothing. The artworks in question are not only integrated, but they also inspire the design from the ground up.

The project is mainly dedicated to artists and designers who would like to transform their work into clothing collections. After analyzing the data provided to it, the Stich program synthesizes it and adapts it to urban fashion trends and the knowledge it has already acquired on the subject.

urban coolab

Their hybrid urban fashion brand, Fear of What, has already launched its first collection framed by their artificial intelligence. They are fervent believers that the use of technology represents the next generation of fashion design, and that to oppose it is simply to refuse progress.

Technology and streetwear: a style that reflects the new world

Does all this talk of technological innovation and urban fashion make your mouth water? Well, everything we've been telling you about isn't as far away as it seems. Here are a few examples already available that prove the process has already begun!

1. The smart shoe: Nike Adapt Huarache

Imagine that your sneakers are smart enough to tighten or loosen according to your activity? Put like that, yes, the idea sounds crazy, but Nike did it!
Nike Adapt Huarache

A streetwear sneaker that not only has auto-lacing technology, but can also be controlled by voice command via Siri. Yes, Nike's latest sneaker, Hyper Adapt, borders on science fiction!

But this idea is not new! We might surprise you, but it dates back to the 80s. Remember the Back to the Future franchise? The Nike Adapt sneaker is directly inspired by the famous Marty McFly sneaker.

What was originally a project to recreate the iconic sneaker of the movie, with a unique streetwear style, ends up becoming a new technology in its own right! This automatic lacing system tightens the laces of your shoes according to your desires. How do you do it? With one click, thanks to the Nike app on your mobile.

The best part is that thanks to this novelty, people with disabilities will never have problems wearing their sneakers again. A simple voice command is enough to adjust the Nike Hyper Adapt. You have to admit that it's a pretty cool concept.

2. Verify the authenticity of a shoe: the Sabotage solution

We keep saying it, the worst thing that can happen to you is to buy a fake pair of second hand sneakers! There are so many copies of Yeezys, Jordans or Nike that it's hard not to be fooled. But that was before!

Sabotage, has found a unique solution to this plague: the blockchain! Yes, you read that right, the blockchain as in Bitcoin! It is an NFC chip that saves the history of the sneaker.

sabotage sneakers blockchain

This way, you can always be sure that the sneaker you are about to buy is authentic! A technology that was sorely lacking in the streetwear world.

3. A dress for every mood: Kitty Yeung's flowers

This latest streetwear technological nugget is a pure wonder. "Flowers" is a floral dress encrusted with lights. So far, nothing surprising, but don't get me wrong!

Flowers of Kitty Yeung

This dress detects your heartbeat, and creates a synchronized light pattern, entirely exclusive. A unique mode of expression that would find its place in urban fashion.

We've come to the end of the technological breakthroughs that are about to change the face of urban streetwear as we know it. That said, we're far from done for good, no one knows what the future holds!
With the exponential growth that the computer field is experiencing, what is revolutionary today will soon become obsolete.
We are getting closer every day to the futuristic world we all dream of...Or not!

Crédit photos : @ahmetatilakar | @zroform | @erlsn.acr

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