For the last 10 years, technology has shaped the fashion industry. One of the most notable impacts has been the rise of e-commerce and online marketplaces, which have made it easier for consumers to purchase fashion items from anywhere in the world. Additionally, technology has enabled the use of virtual and augmented reality in the fashion industry, which has allowed for more immersive and interactive shopping experiences. Social media has also played a major role in the fashion industry by allowing for instant communication with customers and influencers, and by providing a platform for brands to showcase their products and connect with consumers. Technology has also been used to improve supply chain management and logistics, as well as to enhance the design and production process.
As we get used to these technologies, new ones emerge. Whether it’s the Metaverse, VR (virtual reality), blockchain or AI (artificial intelligence), they are shaking up traditional industry practices and enabling innovation. Entrepreneurs are creating practical solutions, services and experiences from these technologies. This dynamic is an opportunity for a creative industry in perpetual search of renewal and novelty.
The traditional luxury brands, usually slow at adopting new technologies, have understood the potential laying behind those innovations. For the past two years, Gucci, Balmain, Prada or Louis Vuitton have launched projects in the Metaverse. We have yet to see these new fashion techs on the mass market and whether they turn out to make a significant impact or not.
At IFA Paris, the fashion school of design & marketing, we have integrated the exploration of new technologies into our curriculum. The school also operates a fashion tech lab called “Foundry,” which is focused on the intersection of fashion and technology. The lab conducts research and development on various topics such as smart textiles, virtual reality, or sustainable materials, with the goal of exploring new ways to use technology to enhance the fashion industry. IFA Paris’ Foundry also partners with various companies and organizations to develop projects and prototypes, as well as to offer workshops and events to students and industry professionals. Bachelor Fashion Design & Technology students, MA Contemporary Fashion Design students or MBA Fashion Management students will have the opportunity to develop their tech savviness by using some of the material available at Foundry such as 3D body scanner, 3D printer or laser cutters.
Foundry also hosts a startup incubator. IFA Paris offers a Startup Program for students and alumni, that aims to support and accelerate the development of new fashion and luxury business ventures. The Startup Program is designed to provide participants with the resources and support they need to turn their ideas into successful companies.
Some of the key features of the Startup Program include:
- Mentoring and coaching from industry experts
- Access to a network of potential investors and partners
- Workshops and events on topics such as business planning, marketing and fundraising
- Use of IFA Paris’ facilities and resources, including prototyping and production equipment
- Opportunities to present their projects to investors and industry professionals
The program is open to students and alumni of IFA Paris, as well as external applicants, who have a strong idea for a fashion or luxury startup. The program is typically divided into several stages, such as a pre-incubation phase, an incubation phase, and an acceleration phase. Each stage provides increasing levels of support, resources and mentoring.
The aim of the Startup Program is to help fashion and luxury startups to develop their ideas, create their business plan, fine-tune their strategy and set themselves up for success. This will also include a focus on sustainability and innovation in order to help the startups make a positive impact on the fashion industry.
Given the complexity of these technologies, the school and its’ professors are committed to acquiring as much knowledge as possible and are continually engaging in training opportunities. One such example is Delphine Durieux, one of our teachers and the Bachelor Fashion Design & Technology program coordinator. She has resumed her studies in parallel, by pursuing a Master’s degree specializing in creation and contemporary technology at the ESCI, with the goal of deepening her skills and gaining a better understanding of these new technologies, to effectively integrate them into IFA Paris’ courses.
In line with her ongoing learnings, Delphine participated in a Hackathon organized by Fashion Tech Lab partner Microsoft, on January 12th and 13th. It focused on the functioning of technological innovations in the fields of urbanism, housing, and mobility. The event brought together several leading schools in their field such as HEC (Business School) and ENSAM (Engineering School) and provided an opportunity for reflection on the integration of virtual and augmented reality, which at present has not yet been fully successful. During the Hackathon, Delphine played a key role in bringing a more creative vision to the proposals of the working groups. Together, they came up with innovative solutions utilizing Microsoft’s virtual reality headset, Hololens. The goal of this Hackathon was to understand and appreciate the challenges and opportunities associated with new technologies in the industry and to find solutions to fully integrate them.
It is vital for any fashion professional to be familiar with new technologies as they are more and more sought after. Training in fashion tech is a good way of staying ahead of the competition, especially with a predicted shortage of competencies in that field.
Get in touch if you’re interested in learning more about fashion technology and innovation, to train yourself to stay ahead of the game!