Fashion and technology are two of the most fast-paced industries out there. Fall behind, and you’re a goner. Technology is taking over every single part of our lives, but what happens when it joins forces with fashion?

When the two meet, new opportunities for self-expression are made possible. PSFK’s 2017 Forecast report identified “Mutable Fashion” as one of the emerging trends. These technological innovations in fashion allow people to “freely, openly and easily express themselves.”

Take “The Intimacy Dress” by Daan Roosegaard, for example. Created with leather and smart e-foils, the dress has a very unique feature: it changes to become transparent. This doesn’t happen with age, nor with the click of a button, nor is it a pre-programmed loop: “Social interactions determine the garments' level of transparency, creating a sensual play of disclosure.” The material reacts to the heartbeat of each person involved in the interaction, and becomes transparent or opaque, consequently. Very risqué, but very innovative.

Another example of technology meeting fashion is the Robotic Spider Dress, something which looks like an item someone in The Hunger Games’ Capitol would wear. The garment was created to protect your personal space at all times. It has constantly moving arachnid limbs, that will poke anyone who tries to get too close to the wearer. The creation also becomes part of the person wearing it, rather than just being an accessory. The dress measures your heart rate, respiratory rate, and proximity during your interactions, and reacts accordingly.

Alongside these innovative dresses, you can also find fashion tech that you can wear on a daily basis for more practical purposes, such as Tommy Hilfiger’s solar-panel-lined jackets that can be used to charge your phone, or NuDown’s inflatable jackets that use air instead for insulation. A more obvious, and more popular example is the Apple Watch. After the first design was greeted with some criticism, Apple had to find a way to make their product appeal to the fashion world. In 2015, the tech giant released their most luxury-focused wearable to date: the Apple Watch Hermès.

While the Apple Watch might be great for tracking your fitness, keeping you organized and paying for your groceries, it has to work as a fashion accessory as well as a tech device.

The current selection of Apple Watches does not give consumers much choice when it comes to personal expression. For the Apple Watch to be a success as a fashion product, Apple will need to work with more designers to expand its current range of products.

In a world increasingly encouraging people to embrace and express who they truly are, the combination of fashion and technology brings the possibilities of self-expression to a whole new level. Be it through clothing or accessories, I am sure that fashion and technology will live together happily ever after.

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