The Future of Fashion
Programmable clothes, co-creation of garments and 3D printing will play a key role in developing the UK economy in the next 30 years, according to the conclusions of an event run by Virgin Media Business and Sir Richard Branson on Tuesday (1st July).
30 small firms, including five from the fashion and beauty industry, joined business leaders from six sectors to set out the challenges, opportunities and trends of the future at the 30:30 Vision event chaired by Sir Richard.
The 30 small businesses have already been supported by Virgin Media Business during their start up stages as part of the Virgin Media Pioneers scheme, a free online community of support for thousands of UK entrepreneurs.
During the world’s first brainstorm on the EDF Energy London Eye, the large and small businesses predicted the enormous shifts that their sectors will see over the next few decades.
The visions in the fashion and beauty industry predicted that:
- Technology such as 3D printing will mean that customisation is no longer a luxury – everyone will be able to create exactly what they want, signalling an end to mass-produced cheap clothing that leads to huge levels of waste
- Customers will be able to co-create clothes by offering suggestions direct to the fashion houses that produce them
- Nanotechnology will enable a revolution in fabric, allowing our clothes to tell us if we’re lacking vitamins or putting on too much weight
James Wintle, Global Director of Technology at AllSaints, the fashion retailer, said: “The fashion and beauty industry is defined by trends and evolutions – not just in the products themselves but also in how the industry operates.
“New technologies such as 3D printing have a huge role to play in how the industry will change over the next 30 years. It’s inspiring to see the young businesses in this sector taking on the challenge of ever emerging technologies and using them to enhance their products, engage their customers and continue to evolve our industry.”
Other visions for the future included a healthcare system which rebalances the relationship between doctors and patients and personalises healthcare; ordering food direct from farmers who are pulling up carrots as you click; and how we build trust around capturing our data to allow for greater personalisation of the services we use.
Sir Richard Branson with all the businesses that took part
Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business, said: “Our country’s small businesses are real visionaries. Although the future is complex and unknown, they are ready to seize the opportunities that lie ahead.
“What we’ve seen today shows that emerging innovations and technologies are being taken on by all sizes of businesses and organisations to cement their competitive advantage and be truly successful. And what better place to discuss the future than high over the City?”
The 30:30 Vision event saw start-ups and challenger businesses join industry leaders from: media and entertainment, food, fashion and beauty, social enterprise, retail and healthcare.
The challenger businesses in fashion were:
- Hairport – are a team of talented hair stylists who are turning hairdressing on its head
- Skribbies – shoes that kids can customise every day from new
- WonderLuk – the first online destination for customised 3D-printed fashion accessories
- Ilufitwear – a new fashion brand with a sporty twist
- The Chapar – a new menswear retail concept intended to reach a different type of consumer with the best brands
Six household names in business chaired the discussions aboard the Eye, including MacArthurGlen, Janssen Healthcare Innovation (part of Johnson & Johnson), AllSaints and BuzzFeed.
They then presented their ideas to Sir Richard and an audience of experts and media at a reception in County Hall on London’s South Bank.
Sir Richard compared the visions of the future to his experiences of the last three decades.
He said: “The last 30 years have seen dramatic developments in how businesses operate and interact with their customers – not least the enormous possibilities generated by the internet and digital technology. It’s great to see the imagination and enthusiasm of the 30:30 Vision participants leading the way on showing how that vision might take shape.”