Fashion is among the most creative industries in the world, and it responds to changes. Today, technological advancements in the last century have resulted in improved fabric qualities and highly automated fabric production processes. People are busier than ever before and thus require flexible schedules, simple home laundering and safe attires. These factors have resulted in relaxed attitudes toward fabrics and clothes made to meet these unique demands (Thomas par. 1).
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What cultural shifts favor the development and use of technical and performance fabrics for streetwear?
There are several cultural shifts, which promote the development and use of fabrics for the new millennium for streetwear. These are mainly production, trade and consumption of such fabric products.
First, many countries have started to manufacture and use technical and performance fabrics. For instance, Japan, Australia, the UK and the US among others have focused on investments in technologies to produce performance apparel fabrics and other wearable technologies. These clothes have become part of the modern wardrobe.
Many textile companies work on different materials to produce technical and performance fabrics for streetwear (UK Trade & Investment 7). Australia has focused on developing of new fabrics from pineapple, corn and bamboo for the new polymer platform associated with the DuPont because of mounting eco concerns.
Trade in new technical and performance fabrics is also responsible for cultural shifts to streetwear. Traders of these products have started to realize rising incomes. Consequently, they have focused on various ways such as traditional stores and online platforms to reach potential customers of new fabrics and materials.
The new apparel market has noted constant shifts in the market, lifestyles, leisure activities and working trends from home and office, which all require comfortable fashion. Consumers want fashion styles integrated with easy care in their cloths. In fact, technical and performance brand has become one of the retailing hottest categories (Moin par. 5).
Consumption of street wear has emanated from designers and music stars such as Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kate Perry and Chanel among others who promote technical and performance fabrics for streetwear. For instance, Beyoncé has partnered with Topshop to produce an athletic streetwear (Ath-leisure) brand (Moin par. 1).
Trainers, celebrities and other casual-oriented cloths are more readily wearable relative to suits. In addition, performance fabrics made for competition have been integrated into high performance, high-end fashion with sporty features that reinforce a sense of fashion both on the street and fashion world. Many consumers have acknowledged that sportswear cloths are comfortable and affordable, which made them to crossover to casual wear and streetwear.
Since then, producers, traders and consumers have continued to define technical and performance fabric attributes for streetwear in terms of function, color and performance. Manufacturers must rely on different technologies to manipulate both casual and sportswear fabrics while designers look for unique elements of performance apparel fabrics to ensure innovative, fun and sophisticated products.
All these social practice participants and technologies are driving what is considered authentic, cutting edge and leading product. Nevertheless, fashion culture is dynamic and therefore over time, these different qualities find new meanings and shape other fashion trends. Many consumers have the desire to be a part of fashion or be in fashion. Dress is the simplest way to capture fashion and critical aspects of social life, which are defined by the need for continuity and drive for innovation toward the new trend (Hemphil and Suk 103).
What novel properties will be in demand in the years to come?
There is a remarkable focus on unique wearable products from different technology companies. Consequently, it is believed that the coming decades will be characterized by the desire to design unique, smart personalized products for consumers. Consumers will have several options to personalize their technical and performance fabrics.
Today, there are wearable digital watches, Google glasses, personal fitness trackers and electronically tagged clothing integrated with “inbuilt sensors to monitor sweat rate and body temperature for health reasons” (Bridgwater par. 3).
Although the wearable technology is already here, it is difficult to understand the wearable future because of rapid changes in technologies. Nevertheless, consumers have understood that wearable items could assist users to be more productive, healthy and social.
As a result, the fashion trends will shift to ‘new things’ for social life and personal expression, which could be highly scalable cloths and fabrics that ensure healthy, comfortable lifestyles. Overall, such products should offer ease of use, interconnectivity, compatibility with existing products and usefulness to users.
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Will the engineered properties of these new high-tech fibers replace the popularity of natural fibers?
There is a significant rise in new high-tech fiber products. As a result, it is imperative to understand whether such fabrics will replace natural fibers.
First, new high-tech fibers may not entirely replace natural existing fibers. Artificial fibers will have to coexist and blend with natural fibers. These new artificial fibers will become common and define different sense of fashion for people.
Second, for many decades, scientists have strived to improve qualities of artificial fibers. However, they have found better qualities by combining them with natural fibers such as wool and cotton. The integration has resulted in ease-to-care fibers with comfort for modern lifestyles. In addition, it is expected that technologies and fibers should reduce costs of producing future wearable cloths. This would also lead to low costs of natural fibers.
Overall, people need both new high-tech fibers and natural fibers for both their diverse qualities. Hence, artificial fibers will not replace natural fibers.
Which technical and performance fabrics are currently used primarily for active sports?
Currently, technical and performance fabrics for sportswear have multi-functional, high-tech finish for protection, repelling and removing moisture outside and from the body respectively. In addition, such materials must be highly breathable, less prone to dirt and easy to dry.
There are materials with fire and tear resistance qualities. These superior qualities are applied in protective gears for cushion and support, usually in extreme sports. The extremely lightweight quality of active sportswear also appeals to users.
In addition, there are fabrics with permanent antimicrobial protection. They have silver ceramic additives, which are added during product manufacturing to protect the textile permanently.
Are adventure sports textiles likely to make the jump to street wear?
One must recognize that adventure sports textiles have become common. In addition, producers continue to introduce new different fabrics to the market. Active sportswear is more fashionable and popular across different consumer segments.
Designers and manufacturers have recognized these fashion trends particularly relations between fashion and sports, which they have considered as major opportunities for sports textile growth. Sports textiles have blended well with the overall fashion trends globally toward casual wear for active lifestyle. In fact, Topshop aims to work with product development team to “create and produce a technical and fashion-led collection” (Moin par. 6), which will integrate both technical performance and ath-leisure characteristics.
Fabrics for the new millennium will be unique, technical and performance driven to meet the active lifestyles of consumers.
Bridgwater, A. “After Digital Watches, How Long Until The Wearable Twitter?” Forbes. 2014. Web.
Hemphil, S. and Jeannie S. The Law, Culture, and Economics of Fashion. Web.
Moin, D. “Beyoncé, Topshop Team For Ath-leisure Brand.” Women’s Wear Daily. 2014. Web.
Thomas, P. W. Fashion Technology: Fashion History. 2014. Web.
UK Trade & Investment. Textiles in Action: A guide to UK Performance Textiles. London: Crown Copyright, 2012. Print.