L+R's Abhi Patil explores how emerging technologies continue to shape fashion at NYFW 2024

Feb 14, 2024

by Abhishek Patil

New York Fashion Week (NYFW) is a key event that gathers the fashion community to preview upcoming collections from both established and emerging designers. At NYFW 2024, L+R participated in The Edge, an initiative focused on the intersection of technology and fashion. Our team explored the influence of AI, digital innovation, Web3, and circular fashion on creating a more sustainable and inclusive industry. The Edge showcased how these innovations are becoming integral to redefining exclusivity in fashion.

Bridging Luxury and Accessibility

The event highlighted a pivotal moment for luxury fashion, historically marked by exclusivity and elusiveness, now being redefined through technology. Generative AI is at the heart of this transformation, crafting designs once deemed unimaginable. Brands like Adidas are pioneering this movement, turning to AI to create their most advanced 4D running shoe.

The potential for AI to dive deeper, learning and embodying a brand's ethos and heritage, holds untold promise. Imagine future creations when AI not only designs but does so with a nuanced understanding of a brand's legacy and values. Some may fear that the blooming of AI in fashion signals a departure from the human touch and a threat to traditional jobs. However, this technological evolution is an expansive platform for creatives to broadcast their talent and craftsmanship to a global audience.

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Jana Bobosikova, co-founder + CEO, KIKI World.

Democratizing Fashion

AI's emergence in fashion signifies more than just an advancement; it represents a democratization of luxury. Through services like Turo and Rent the Runway, the once-unattainable is now within reach, offering everyday individuals the opportunity to experience luxury on their terms. This approach to fashion, powered by AI, opens the door to everyday glamour, offering everyone the chance to both look and feel like a celebrity on a daily basis. This shift doesn't diminish the value of any individual's creativity and skill; instead, it amplifies it, connecting creators and consumers in dynamic, previously unimaginable ways.

The Digital Wardrobe Revolution

At the event, a prominent trend among startups was the movement towards digital wardrobes, showcasing the use of 3D avatars for enhanced clothing selection and personal styling. This trend underlines a shift toward a more digitized future of fashion. However, industry experts Kotryna Jukneviciute of Arête and Nicole Belans of ThredX have highlighted the significant challenge of seamlessly integrating such advanced technology with current fashion offerings.

The introduction of Apple Vision Pro promises to bridge this gap, merging digital and physical fashion experiences. Innovations from Schumacher & Co. in employing 3D technology for engaging customers reveal the potential to surmount existing obstacles. This progress heralds a new phase of interactive shopping, aiming to refine online shopping experiences by making virtual try-ons more inclusive and accurate.

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Abhi Patil with Evermore Founder Robin Lim

Calculated risks and experimentation are crucial for leveraging technology to propel fashion forward

Abhi Patil
Luxury Technology Strategist

Overcoming Industry Hurdles

The dialogue around Web3 and circular fashion brought forward the inherent challenges and opportunities within the industry. The sustainability paradox, where the desire for eco-friendly fashion meets the reality of affordability, calls for innovative solutions that do not compromise on ethics or aesthetics. Moreover, the potential of Web3 in ensuring authenticity and fostering a new level of consumer engagement is yet to be fully realized, constrained by both technological barriers and industry reluctance.

Luxury brands stand on the cusp of a transformative opportunity to reimagine the essence of exclusivity through the lens of technology. The opportunity to purchase iconic items like the Hermes Birkin or a Patek Philippe Nautilus could become much more transparent and direct. Misconceptions driven by social media that once made understanding and acquiring these pieces difficult may give way to an authentic path to ownership, breaking down the barriers that existed before.

Pioneers in the luxury sector, including Gucci, Loro Piana, and Bottega Veneta, have already embarked on this journey, leading the charge towards a new era of luxury retail. Their initiatives, particularly in anticipation of Europe's forthcoming mandate for digital passports for luxury items, show a proactive embrace of digital innovation to enhance the luxury experience, ensuring authenticity, provenance, and exclusivity are preserved in the digital age.

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Looking Ahead

The insights from NYFW illuminate a path forward where technology not only addresses current industry challenges but also reimagines the future of fashion. L+R's strategic involvement in this evolution, particularly in the luxury market, foresees the importance of navigating these changes with foresight and innovation. Through workshops and Applied Imagination Sessions®, we're crafting actionable strategies that leverage technology to meet the demands of a rapidly changing world.

As we reflect on the discussions and innovations presented this week, it is clear that integrating AI, digital innovation, and sustainable practices marks the dawn of a new era in fashion. The journey ahead is one of collaboration, creativity, and relentless pursuit of a fashion industry that is as inclusive as it is luxurious. At L+R, we believe this transformation is crucial, ensuring that as the industry evolves, it does so in a way that honors both its heritage and its future.