Where does technology end and fashion begin?

In one of the more intriguing conference programs Cientifica has been involved with, we have joined forces with the London College of Fashion (LCF) on a conference that discusses nanotechnology’s impact on the fashion industry: Micro and Nanotechnologies for Fashion and Textiles to be held at LCF on January 24th.

What does nanotechnology have to do with fashion, you ask. More than you might think.

Micro and nanotechnologies have already had a huge impact on the textile industry, with nanotechnologies accounting for a US$13.6 billion market in 2007 and expected to grow to $115 billion by 2012, according to our Textile report released last year.

But the impact of wearable electronics or stain resistant pants made possible by micro and nanotechnologies, respectively, is also changing the way fashion designers and retailers are approaching their craft and commerce.

This seems to be part of a larger trend in which fashion has evolved over the most recent decades to be less about purely creative concerns—albeit still its most spectacular component—to become a highly complex and specialized system to establish competitive advantage.

This system involves stylistic, industrial, cultural and social elements.

Technology in general, and nanotechnology specifically, has a role to play in all of these elements.

Clearly, it has a role to play in the industrial element by improving textile manufacturing and its products. And technology has become increasingly more important in the areas of stylistic, cultural and social concerns. One need only look to the iPod, which is coveted as much as a fashion statement as it is its utility to play music.

Technology is the new fashion statement.

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