Anina Net Takes A 360Fashion Catwalk Turn : It’s The Time Of Tech

At a time in which tech­no­logy is lit­er­ally tak­ing over the world, the rise of the fash-tech coup­ling is at hand. 360 Fash­ion Net­work is one such cross-bor­der example.

360 Fashion Network allows for creative designers to collaborate with brainy engineers and create products that are both techie-able and beautiful enough to sell.

Anina Net was an inter­na­tion­al mod­el caught in-between the crosshairs of two com­puter engin­eer­ing par­ents. Not exactly the match up one would expect. Although start­ing at odds with her fam­ily back­ground, this story has a happy end­ing. With eco­nom­ic crisis in the fore­see­able future, Net took a left at the Parisi­an Cat­walks and moved to the next largest emer­ging mar­ket she could imagine…China !

Encour­aged by her divided back­ground, in both fash­ion and tech­no­logy, Net knew there was a niche mar­ket des­per­ately cry­ing out for her atten­tion. We live in times where tech­no­logy is lit­er­ally tak­ing over the world, ergo the steady rise of the fashion/​tech coup­ling is now unstop­pable. To live hap­pily ever after. Net too was — as com­manded by her very nature — moved to blend these unre­lated con­cepts into a won­der­ful con­coc­tion known as “Fash­ion Tech”. The idea for 360 Fash­ion Net­work was born.

azraelYM-360Fashion
Azrael YM and 360 fash­ion Net­work lock hands dur­ing Beijing Fash­ion Week March 2017 : Behold, the uni­sex smart glove ! Copyright@360Fashion Net­work

The Fashion Factory : The Non-Tech Trials

It all seems so obvi­ous, you’d almost want to kick your­self. Over the past few years, I’ve heard whis­per­ings and mus­ings of such attempts, but they all soun­ded just too good to be true. People often tend to be ahead of their time… but not in the case of Net. She made out like Charlie and found the golden tick­et at just the right time.

Unfor­tu­nately, not every­one was quite on board from the begin­ning. This con­cept back in 2007 was still per­ceived to be so for­eign, people peered at the idea just as they did the iPod when it first came to mar­ket — that “why would I need this when I have all of these great CDs!” type of thought. Non­ethe­less, after a few years of dip­ping their toes into the largely uncharted waters and work­ing with the provided tools, people warmed up to the “nov­el” idea. Moreover, they jumped on it. 360 Fash­ion Net­work turned into a home base for fash­ion tech and, what makes it even bet­ter, it lives in a coun­try which through­out the 2010s has been pav­ing the ways in both tech­no­logy and man­u­fac­tur­ing.

The largest issue at hand ? Fash­ion itself — yep, that’s right, fash­ion itSELF. Although fash­ion nev­er dies (a trav­esty, that would be), every year approx­im­ately 80 to 200 stu­dents gradu­ate from the elite schools of fash­ion. With little suc­cess to fol­low. People love fash­ion, they want to cre­ate fash­ion, they want to make fash­ion. And of course they do ! For many of us, it’s the only source of cre­at­ive expres­sion to be found.

As pro­foundly and deeply I wish to believe every single one of these freshly gradu­ated tal­ents will be the next Gal­li­ano, it’s just not going to hap­pen — any time soon. Fash­ion tech is the future of fash­ion design, yet fash­ion design­ers in se are usu­ally unequipped with the engin­eer­ing skills required to bring to fruition such mak­ings. Although very cap­able of con­quer­ing oth­er fields such as tech­no­logy, that’s just not where the imme­di­ate expert­ise exists.

Check out this tutori­al on how to use LED rib­bon (cour­tesy of the 360­Fash­ion Net­work You­tube Chan­nel):

The Fashion Network : The 360 Turns

The 360 Fash­ion Net­work allows for cre­at­ive design­ers to col­lab­or­ate with brainy engin­eers — yes, they do have to sit at the same lunch table — and begin cre­at­ing products that are actu­ally tech enabled but beau­ti­ful enough to sell.

It’s been said that “one of the most sig­ni­fic­ant trends among fash­ion tech star­tups is the dis­rup­tion of the tra­di­tion­al con­sumer mod­el ; not so much dic­tat­ing fash­ion trends as upgrad­ing the way that people can see them and buy into them.” Find­ing a place for fash­ion tech should seem­ingly be easy, espe­cially in the world in which we live today. The pain point behind selling this con­cept is the cum­ber­some dif­fi­culty for people to envi­sion an engin­eer­ing brain and a design­er brain recre­at­ing the ward­robes and shop­ping exper­i­ences as we know them today. Fash­ion brands were res­ist­ant to the use of tech­no­logy, but that was dur­ing a time when even words like “blog” and “app” were for­eign con­cepts. The idea of pur­chas­ing a Pra­da bag sans touch and feel was a fig­ure of absurdity.

Without fall­ing vic­tim to des­pair and dis­cour­age­ment, Net executed her dream of open­ing up a fash­ion tech com­pany and revo­lu­tion­iz­ing the fash­ion industry from with­in (China). Although China may seem to lag behind in more than one way, it in real­ity is one of the most for­ward think­ing and incred­ibly pro­gress­ive soci­et­ies. The crafts­man­ship of young brands such as Azrael YM, with whom Net worked on pro­du­cing a smart glove, was one of the many fash­ion tech products found on TaoBao, one of China’s largest online shop­ping malls.

The above not­with­stand­ing, in a coun­try where people are try­ing to amp up their eco-friendly beha­vi­or and busi­nesses are striv­ing for sus­tain­ab­il­ity, the loom­ing ques­tion is wheth­er or not intro­du­cing fash­ion tech into an oth­er­wise already waste­ful and pol­lut­ing industry is, when all is said and done, the smartest decision. Allow me to be.. The Devil’s Advoc­ate — advoc­at­ing China’s pros instead of cons, that is.

For one, this is a per­fect way for China to main­tain its man­u­fac­tur­ing industry, whil­st sim­ul­tan­eously chal­len­ging its repu­ta­tion as a man­u­fac­tur­ing state by adding a cre­at­ive com­pon­ent. From Net’s per­spect­ive, as a tech­no­logy com­pany, they’re invest­ing in soft cir­cuits. The LED rib­bon, as seen in the You­Tube video above, is e-tex­tile based. Its cre­at­ors have woven elec­tron­ics into the rib­bon, mean­ing it car­ries less cop­per back­ing and, the­or­et­ic­ally, is bio-degrad­able with min­im­al waste. The com­pany has also cre­ated the 360 Fash Tech maker kit, help­ing to pro­mote a recyc­ling pro­gram where people can return old parts for dis­as­sembly and to be reused in a safe and func­tion­al way.

Check out the Smart Glove as unveiled dur­ing the CCTV Spring Fest­ival Gala 2017 (cour­tesy of the 360­Fash­ion Net­work You­Tube chan­nel):

“Very few businesses have the budget to develop concepts or experimental devices, but it does tap heavily into one of the fashion industries most admirable traits : Creating something new from something existing by taking inspiration from the world and the culture around it.” Forbes on Fashion Tech.

The Fashion Kits : All Decked Out In Tech

Cre­ativ­ity fuels the fash­ion industry, as does a thirst for cre­at­ing new from the ashes of old. Admired for their open-minded approach to the world, cre­at­ives play a sig­ni­fic­ant role in how the world evolves, with fash­ion tech as the next step. Why not take some­thing that’s nev­er been done before and turn it into a neces­sity ? That’s what 360 Fash­ion Net­work is doing. They’ve provided a plat­form and launch­ing pad in order to smooth the ter­rain for this new trail.

That’s also the pur­pose of the 360 Fash Tech maker kit. Fash­ion brands don’t have extens­ive engin­eer­ing teams nor do they have the budget to hire such a skilled group of experts, espe­cially when money and energy could be bet­ter spent else­where. Instead, the kit does all of the heavy lift­ing — it elim­in­ates the need for cod­ing know-how, which allows for brands to focus on the stuff their good at, integ­ra­tion and design. The 360 Fash­ion Net­work acts as an in-between guru for all mass man­u­fac­tur­ing, pri­cing and bring­ing-to-mar­ket issues by canood­ling with their hard-earned Chinese part­ner­ships and net­works.

“We’ve invested more than 10 years in creating systems and platforms and networks to help designers embrace technology and be able to implement it in their business, their products and their marketing.” Net in her own words.

 

Check out this testi­mo­ni­al from one “Robot­ic Dress” Kit Work­shop par­ti­cipant (cour­tesy of the 360­Fash­ion Net­work You­Tube Chan­nel):

The Fashion Future : Dress Me Up, Netty

Prac­tic­al­ity is of the upmost import­ance and a fash­ion tech inven­tion such as the all-see­ing eye of Google Glass is a per­fect example of how aug­men­ted real­it­ies and tech­no­lo­gies should be approached slowly and meth­od­ic­ally. People need to be eased into the idea, they must feel the pro­duct is user friendly and that it will improve their qual­ity of life in one way or another, espe­cially when it comes with a whop­ping price tag of USD1500. Con­sist­ently facing a chick­en and the egg type situ­ation, it bears the ques­tion : Who wants to go first and will enough people in the fash­ion industry stand strongly behind the pro­duct, as a uni­fied front ?

Net said it well. China is known for jump­ing on the band­wag­on on these sorts of trends. So why start a com­pany in a coun­try where the lifespan of a pro­duct or idea is short­er than that of a fly ? Although it is a viable con­cern to believe that fash­ion tech could take an ever-so-sud­den, nev­er­the­less expec­ted, plun­ge into the val­ley of deceased trends, the 360 Fash­ion Net­work has your back. With a grip that’s only get­ting tighter.

The future of fash­ion tech still finds itself in the incub­at­or stages, some would say, and that can be a scary place for investors, let alone any future “slaves to the trade”. Hav­ing said that, that all-too-often-applied say­ing “ignor­ance is bliss” holds no value here. To ignore fashion’s tech-friendly future would only be a neg­at­ive. And yes, okay, we are all ter­ri­fied of ali­ens tak­ing over the world and we def­in­itely don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night to find our shirts and pants lean­ing over the bed with a belt in “hand” pre­pared to attack.

Even, when fash­ion and tech­no­logy are placed in the right (well, “smart” might be the more appro­pri­ate term to apply here, I sup­pose) hands, there is no end to what can be accom­plished and those earli­er fears can be tossed to the side. The bene­fits take charge. Fash­ion tech can ease the shop­ping exper­i­ence for those stressed at the sight of Nord­strom Rack and help defy the inde­cis­ive per­form­ance of the online shop­per.

 

 

It’s the time of tech and that means it’s all about build­ing a glob­al net­work and work­ing togeth­er. This is the exact reas­on why Net cre­ated 360 Fash­ion Net­work : To build a bridge between fash­ion and the tech­no­logy. From online plat­forms to holo­grams and 3D print­ing, the exper­i­ence sur­round­ing fash­ion is chan­ging and advan­cing with every wak­ing minute, with Net as one lead­ing cata­lyst for such change. Guess that left turn from the cat­walk was the right turn after all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Jessica Laiter of Chinese Graffiti for Temper Magazine 2017 All rights reserved
Edited by Elsbeth van Paridon
Featured image : Led Ribbon Flower. Copyright@360Fashion Network
Images and videos : Copyright@360Fashion Network
Follow Anina Net on Instagram

Copyright@Temper Magazine 2017 All rights reserved

 

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