Since the advent of the sewing machine in 1790, clothing manufacturing has had a distinctly hands-off approach, relying on machines and technology to efficiently produce apparel on a mass scale. Before the Industrial Revolution, clothes-making was much more laborious, costly, and time-consuming and, as such, the average individual usually only owned between two and four outfits (today, Americans buy about 68 new garments per year). This important milestone in apparel manufacturing kickstarted two centuries of advancements that have led us to a fashion industry revolution based entirely in modern technology. From the materials used in the finest luxury watches to the way we try on clothes, technology has dramatically affected the way we shop for, wear, and produce clothing. Here are some specific ways tech has changed fashion: Augmented Reality (AR) – Retailers in all categories know that finding ways to bridge the gap between eCommerce and real life is key to a successful business model in the 21st century. One way they are doing this is by employing virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to help shoppers visualize and try on clothing online. For example, platforms such as Virtusize, Ditto, and Virtooal provide integrations that let shoppers virtually try on apparel while shopping from their computer or smartphone. In no realm is this technology more apparent than eyewear, as most of the leading glasses retailers now offer impressive virtual try-on options that let you visualize frames on your face. Wearable Technology – One of the most obvious examples of fashionable technology is the emergence of wearable devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers. While these devices in and of themselves have been around for a while, an emerging trend in the industry is a stronger shift in focus to fashion. By integrating precious metals, high-end materials, and even gemstones, techy startups are now putting activity trackers and sensors into stylish pieces of jewelry, especially trendy rings, bracelets, and watches. Tech-Focused Sapphire Crystal – Brand-new materials, from high-tech fibers to specialty precious metals, have had a massive impact on all facets of fashion. While most of the high-end watch and jewelry manufacturers have remained relatively low-tech in terms of digital integrations, that could soon change with the advancement of a new glass that could turn a classic-looking Rolex into a work of technical brilliance. Tech-focused Swiss watchmaker Winwatch recently developed a way to embed smart payment technologies into their sapphire crystal, equipping traditional-looking wristwatches with the latest tech, including contactless payments. All-New Precious Metals – Just because names like Apple and Samsung are often thrown around when discussing watches and tech, it doesn’t mean the legacy Swiss makers will be left in the dust. One of the ways these high-end manufacturers are keeping their timepieces up to date is by perfecting the materials they use in the production process.
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