Fashion tech and apps we are excited about…
Problem: Counterfeit luxury fashion goods
Search for Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton or Fendi on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Alibaba, or now-shoppable Instagram and Pinterest, and you’ll quickly understand why the counterfeits goods market is such a growing concern for governments, fashion industry and consumers worldwide.
All these platforms are struggling (and, let’s be honest, very often, unwilling to take effective measures) to root out featured illicit products.
Meanwhile, legitimate brands and genuine resellers suffer huge profit losses, unable to fight savvy sellers that use fake accounts and instant messengers with end-to-end encryption to cover their actions.
Amid a growing outcry from brands to stop infringers, VeChain launched a mobile app to allow manufacturers, retailers and customers verify that the items they sell and purchase are genuine. Fashion goods are implanted with Near-Field Communication (NFC) chips that hold a unique product ID. Mobile devices are able to scan an item with a VeChain chip, and access all the information on it, thus confirming its authenticity. VeChain is aimed at luxury retail, and hopes to help brands fight the rise in the global counterfeit goods market. Additionally, using BlockChain technology, VeChain Product Management Platform can make the manufacturing & supply chain public, transparent and traceable to the world: a win-win for all parties involved.
Problem: I want to dress like David Beckham
“Shopping is tiresome and boring, I just want to look like Dave.”
Surely, many guys are of that opinion, especially those poor souls who clearly dislike spending time going from shop-to-shop every weekend.
Enter Looklive, an entertainment shoppable content platform that shows not only what your favourite famous people have been up to (if you happen to live your life vicariously through them), but also tells you exactly what they are wearing. And if you cannot afford Paul Pogba’s Quilted Cotton Teddy Jacket yet, Looklive’s non-AI editorial team, aka humans, will offer the bargain version of your chosen celeb’s garments. The platform also lets you shop TV shows and music videos and has a feel of a luxury online lifestyle magazine, using impressive technology that uses data mining and image analysis that allows you to steal the latest trends without hiring a fashion expert.
Get the free app on iTunes, and unleash your inner Beckham.
Problem: Plastic waste polluting our oceans
Solution (partial): Turning plastic bottles into polyester
Currently, there are more than 165 million tons of plastic in our oceans. By 2050, according to a Jan 2016 report, there could be more plastic in the waters than fish, with astonishing 8.8-million tons of this non-biodegradable waste ending up there every year.
One of the ways the fashion industry is addressing this environmental disaster is by recycling plastic bottles into polyester (as both contain the same polymer). The process involves used bottles being cut into small chips, then melted and pulled apart into fibres and spun into yarn. This yarn can then can be used by itself, or combined with natural materials to make apparel, shoes, and bags.
The resulting material quality and functionality match that of virgin polyester, which requires the use of crude oil.
A number of brands and environmental organisations have come together to use this method.
Pharrell Williams, the co-founder of Bionic Yarn, has curated a now-famous collaboration with G-Star Raw. The North Face, Topshop, Timberland, O’Neill and others also incorporated Bionic Yarn products into their respective lines.
Billabong has been using the fabric called Eco Supreme Suede in their mainstream production for a few seasons now.
Recently, at the 2015 Met Ball, Livia Firth wore an Antonio Berardi gown made from Newlife polyester, an incredibly versatile and 100% Italian product by Saluzzo.
Adidas’ partnership with Parley for the Oceans, a movement that encourages creative industry to repurpose plastic has resulted in a concept trainer made from fishing nets.
All these initiatives have been helping to transform millions of bottles into sustainable products to slow down the production of new, virgin polyester. But while it looks like many brands are exploring this route, in the year of the Great Barrier Reef’s “almost death”, the fashion industry has to ask itself if it is doing enough. There are whole islands of plastic floating in our oceans, and we need more than just one-off collaborations to be ahead of the game. We need a greater public exposure to these products and for brands to start completely avoiding using virgin plastic. Only when recycled polyester is incorporated into every piece of clothing, every shoe and bag we might see a real disruptive change, and a significant impact on the ocean cleanup.