Smart Shops & Smart Fabrics, Future of Fashion Retail Top 10 by Collette Costello – Fashion Futures & Wearable Technology Series

Imagine the fashion retail world of the future, smart shops filled with clothes in smart fabrics.  I spent sometime as part of a PHD studying the future of fashion and below are my predictions for the near future of fashion, so start imagining.

Future of Fashion Retail Top Ten Predictions

  • Remote payment, paying without queuing.
  • Augmented Reality, screens and glasses.
  • The Physical Web, information beacons in product.
  • Personalised adverts and discount coupons sent digitally.
  • Real time on-line shopping experiences.
  • LED screens built into clothing.
  • Solar panels printed on items of clothing.
  • 3D printed clothing labels and buttons.
  • Body scanners in every shop to measure body.
  • Personalised 3D printed clothing, using body scanners.

Wearable technology and the future of fashion is big news at the moment.  Loads of events are taking place such as The Wearable Technology Show, IOT Retail Summit  discussing future developments, prototype wearables on Kick-starter being launched weekly and groups like Women of Wearables promoting females in tech.  So if its an area you are not up on and want to get into fashion, its time to get in the know.

Smart Shops

The shop of the future is already on its way and smart shops will be trialled at the Intu Trafford Centre as part of their new innovation in retail, incubation programme.  Contactless payment is already everywhere, you are even able to pay on your phone now.  Next no need to queue, you will be able to pay remotely by scanning the item or a poster of what you want to purchase.


On-line and physical shops will be mixed with AR experiences, such as styling screens that allow you to see an outfit on yourself without getting changed. The screens will also suggest items to you that are selling in the shop, your own personal adverts based on what you usually buy.  Wearing Google or virtual reality glasses would allow adverts to pop up as you pass things.

The Physical Web/ Internet of Things

The Physical Web, or the Internet of Things will become everywhere in all buildings, hotels and shops.  This could mean products in shops will have information embedded using beacons, so you may get a discount coupon come up on your phone as you walk past.  Finally on-line shopping will be more like real shopping, you will be able to walk round a real shop and buy off the shelf what is actually selling in store, for a more real experience from the comfort of home.  To find out more check out some companies doing Smart Shop experiences, BotsandUs, GoInStore, Infraspeak, Percent, Soza Health, Toky Woky and WoraPay

Smart Fabrics

Smart shops will be coming guaranteed in the next few years, however smart fabrics and wearable technology clothes in fashion have a way to go yet.  Wearable technology is huge at the moment, yet it is still to be seen selling in fashion shops, more used for sportswear or medical uses, such as clothes that heat up, monitor your temperature, heart rate and cycling safety  jackets with LED lights built into them.  Fashion has yet to find uses for such technology, some stuff has been seen on the catwalk such a Cute Circuits Twitter dress, displaying live Tweets, however they are gimmicky and could not really be mass-produced for the high-street fashion market.


I believe that fabrics with LED screens built into them could hold they key to wearable technology making it into fashion, instead of having images printed on dresses they could be inbuilt into the fabric of the dress, like a IPad screen.  Solar panels soon will be able to be printed onto fabrics and could be used to power the images.

Jacquard Touch

Google are working on a project called Jacquard, touch sensitive fabric that is now being combined with Levi jeans denim.  The fabric acts like the touch screen of a phone and could be used to power things such as your music playlist.

3D Printing 

3D printing is huge at the moment, everyone is trying to find a good use for it especially in fashion.  Some designers like Iris Van Herpen have developed 3D printed dresses, again they are expensive and not really practical.  I have done my own work with 3D printed fashion and feel the best use is for small details like buttons, clothing labels or contactless payment key-rings.

3D printing body scanners that take the exact measurements of your body will used in the future and will be available in every high-street shop.  They will also be used to make tailor made 3D garments like in Janne Kyattanen’s project lost luggage, predicting that in the future we will re-print our belongings when we arrive at our travel destination, cutting down on the need to carry luggage, imagine!

To learn more about Wearable Technology, Smart Shops and the Future of Retail check out the rest of my research, “Wearable Technology Blog” and “Becoming Fashion Robots”.


  1. […] companies such as Boohoo using technology such as AR for digital marketing, see my blog post “Smart Shops & Smart Fabrics, Future of Fashion Retail Top 10” and video above.  Recently in Manchester there was an event called Digital Fashion Futures in […]


  2. […] Augmented reality is already about and you probably have used it on your phone, such as Snap Chat Faces.  It is where reality is mixed, over-laid with digital images, such as personalised digital advertisements popping up when you are in a shop.  In the future the idea is you will probably wear Google or Snap-chat glasses rather then use your phone for the images to pop-up.  The Hyper Reality video above shows how reality and the digital world could merge, with social media interactions and virtual shopping taking place in your everyday world.  Augmented Reality is the one that is most likely to be used in fashion in the near future, with companies such as Ikea already using it.  In fashion retail some uses will be that in shops you will not even need to try on clothing, instead a screen will display them on your body, see video below “Cisco: The Future of Shopping”.  To learn more about uses for AR in retail fashion, check out my blog post “Smart Shops & Smart Fabrics, Future of Fashion Retail Top 10”.  […]


  3. […] Hyper  Reality – A cross between the real and digital world, augmented reality at a rave.  By Keiichi Matsuda the idea is that by wearing for example Google glasses the whole world becomes like a video game, shopping is fun you can collect points and check your social media all at the same time.  To learn more about how Augmented Reality will be used in the future for shopping, check out my blog post “Smart Shops & Smart Fabrics, Future of Fashion Retail Top 10”. […]


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