Tania Allan-Ross and Tracy Kennedy are helping shape the future of fashion.

Digital technologies are become more advanced and more available to industries; the fashion industry is no exception. These technologies create new opportunities for innovation and collaboration.

Tania Allan-Ross and Tracy Kennedy, both lecturers at Otago Polytechnic, have noticed and reported on this trend in the fashion industry. Appropriately, they used technology to research how emerging designers are using digital technologies in their work. They have observed that a new global fashion system is emerging, championed by young and innovative designers who are intent on changing the face of the fashion supply chain, while putting customers at the forefront of their business model. Tracy says:

“Instagram and Facebook are the major platforms for many designers. For example, our graduate Jessie Wong’s hand-crafted handbags, released under her label Yu Mei, have become an industry sensation. The first person she employed in her business was someone to manage her Instagram page, which is an indication of just how important social media has become.”

Advances in technology, and the social and collaborative nature of modern communication platforms, are allowing fashion designers to interact with their customers in new and sustainable ways. Technology is enabling formally isolated fashion communities worldwide to engage with their customers beyond geographical borders. In an industry that relies on consumption and mass production, will this new way of thinking allow existing and emerging fashion businesses to maintain economic, ethical and environmental sustainability? 

The ‘new guard’ of fashion designers have been enabled by technology to collaborate more authentically with their customers while maintaining personal design integrity within a changing creative environment. By reporting on these developments at international conferences Tracy and Tania are helping ensure fashion educators all over the world remain at the cutting edge.

October 2017

Image credit: Phoebe Lee, used with permission