Fashion of The Future: Technology on The Runway

With technology constantly evolving and advancing, it only seems natural for the fashion industry to follow suit. That’s why it’s no surprise that this season has seen designers bringing technology straight to the runway in ways that has got everyone talking about their shows.

 Dolce & Gabbana’s Milan Fashion Week show for A/W 18 shocked and excited the audience when they replaced models with drones to parade their handbags down the catwalk. According to Fashionista, the audience were asked to turn off the WiFi and personal hotspots on their devices before the drones took to the runway. It is also reported that the show began almost an hour late, which may be linked to the appearance of the electronic devices. 

The use of drones to carry the bags makes the accessories a focus point and gives them a proper debut when they might otherwise be lost among the clothes on the runway. In this case, the novelty of the drones may have drawn more attention than the actual designs. Technology on the runway is a fun and exciting way to create a buzz for the show and for the brand. There were a lot of logistics to consider and the drones had to be monitored by two people in white lab coats walking down the sides of the runway, which arguably takes away some of the magic from the bots. The question is, will the presence of this much technology become mainstream for future runways or is it simply just a novelty? 

Live streaming has also become a big part of Fashion Week culture for A/W 18, and it’s no surprise given the increasing reliance on social media and its power to build momentum. Dolce & Gabbana threw another interesting curveball into their show in Milan by hosting a ‘secret’ show on the night before the main event. This ‘secret’ show saw 36 influential millennials walk a catwalk which was live streamed by the brand. This secret show was also referred to across Instagram using #DGSecretShow and #DGMillenials. This engagement with social media, and particularly Instagram, which reportedly has around 800 million monthly users, is an adventurous use of technology for the brand. The use of live streaming shows means that a wider audience can engage with the brand outside of the fashion elite and influencers who occupy the seats at the side of the catwalk – they get an audience without a seating limit. 

Gucci also nodded to technology, as their Milan Fashion Week show saw models walking the runway clutching 3D printed versions of their heads. The concept behind the Gucci show was all about cyborgs and feminism, drawing on the work of Donna Haraway as a muse for the project. Haraway’s definition of a cyborg is one leaning towards a combination of ideas rather than of technologies, but with the increasing presence of cyborgs and robots throughout pop culture it is difficult to ignore an eerily technological presence in the Gucci show. Technology, it seems, is more deeply rooted in fashion than we might first think.

Harriet Timmins

Image: Narrative Blog