Innovative Directions in the Bold New World of Fashion


Documentary provides holistic perspective on transformations happening across the fashion industry

Plus Aziz
  • 30 july 2014

An interesting paradox can be observed within the fashion industry; while the production cycles of most brands continue to shrink dramatically, there are thought leaders paving new innovations that change the way we think about clothing consumption and the very nature of textiles. Based on AEG’s recent documentary, The Next Black: A Film About the Future of Clothing, we take a look at six distinct, innovative directions being explored as the fashion industry works to absorb advancements taking place across a broad cultural spectrum.

Elevating the Intimacy Between Textiles and Tech | Nancy Tilbury, Studio XO

Tilbury has a vision that encompasses a wealth of ideas embracing new business models. She believes that the digital generation would be open to ‘subscribing to clothes’ and transforming their fashion into vessels to convey personal, expressive content (she calls this a ‘Tumblr for the body”). Working on projects such as Lady Gaga’s Bubble Dress from the iTunes Festival, Tilbury’s studio has been maturing the way 3D printing technology can be used to merge hard and soft materials and how digital expressiveness can be incorporated.

Philosophically, through Lady Gaga’s Bubble Dress project, we’re keen to tell people about transformations in textiles and technology. Even though it’s fun and playful and has all these curious elements, the outfit is a machine that is transforming the way we dress.

Bioresponsive Clothing that Monitors Performance | Matt Hymers, Adidas


Clothes are smart when you can’t feel what makes them smart.



Merging technology and textiles comes in yet another form with a brand like Adidas. Matt is focused on the relationship of textiles to data tracking and performance, which has culminated n their product TechFit Elite, an underlayer which incorporates vital stats monitors and movement sensors. Hymers, whom works with AC Milan and other professional sports teams, discusses the central importance of non-invasiveness (i.e. something the athlete cannot feel and what it’s doing.

Couture at the Intersection of Biology and Textiles | Suzanne Lee, Biocouture


When you think about something like fermentation and a living organism, there is no waste. It’s producing both the fiber and organizing that into a material form and ultimately being able to grow that material onto the form you want.

In what is perhaps the most niche of all future directions, Lee brews sustainable fabrics and is very much engaged with scientific and engineering knowledge and practices. She works closely with the biosciences community to create textile-like surfaces that grow into the form of the containers she uses. Her basic ingredients include green tea, sugar, acidic solution like vinegar, and starter culture (yeast, bacteria in the form of a matt). This vision implies the need to overhaul of how fashion designers think about their source materials before engrossing themselves in the manufacturing process, gradually leading to the elimination of “old world” practices.

Slowing Down Fast Fashion | Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia


Our consumption of clothes increased by nearly 50% between 2002 and 2010. From an advertising perspective, brands can do a lot to remind their customers to think ethically before purchasing a product. Patagonia is one brand that took a relatively bold initiative on Black Friday through their a print ad with the imperative, “Don’t Buy This Jacket” as its headline. The ad encouraged people think twice before buying a new Patagonia jacket and more broadly to take care of their clothes and keep them for a longer period of time. The brand encouraged consumers to repair their Patagonia clothes or even bring it to the store if they wanted to donate it to upcycled; they teamed up with DIY start-up iFixit, to help the brand reduce waste and introduce repair requests into their business model.

It’s not “Don’t Buy The Jacket”, it’s “don’t buy the jacket if you don’t need it”. That’s what the real message is. That’s what we’re asking people to think about. Buy what you need and take care of it.

Inching Towards a Zero Waste Industry | Sophie Mather, Yeh Group


The textile industry accounts for 20% of the world’s water pollution. In response to this complicated environmental issue, Thailand-based Yeh Group developed DryDye, an innovation that enables textile and clothing companies to dye fabrics without the usage of any water. While still in its early commercial stages, DryDye represents a key innovation that the supplier works to develop to pave a more sustainable path for the fashion and apparel industry.

When I first started looking at it, it was dying fabrics with zero water, but now I can see the potential. If you can use Supercritical carbon dioxide to dye fabrics, I ask the question ‘what else can we do with Supercritical carbon dioxide in our industry to make phenomenal changes?

As a company, AEG is focused on designing a wide range of home appliances. As a brand, they are fully invested in building a more sustainable world are focusing their partnership efforts on the clothing industry. In addition to filming The Next Black documentary and sharing it with the wider public, they have also developed a partnership with I Prefer 30.


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