For the past few years, New York Fashion Week has had its share of tech-centric moments, from drones swooping over runways and Dior-designed VR headsets to insect rings embedded with contactless payment chips and more LED dresses than any firework-loving pop star should be allowed to own.
But this year, the gimmicks are gone, and tech takes a more backstage role. The most lasting visible innovation at NYFW is a classic: livestreaming.
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Suitably, fashion was way ahead of the pivot-to-video trend that's been sweeping through media; it was a groundbreaking change for an industry that thrives on that sort of thing. This year, it's even easier to access on apps like NYFW: The Shows and Twitter feeds like @FashionWeek and @TwitterLive.
It's a welcome palate cleanser after imbibing too much tech for the past few seasons. There are only so many augmented-reality tricks you can pull before you're declared a catwalk copycat. Clothes speak for themselves.
But while you might not see as many flashy gadgets on the runways this year, technology is woven into the seams of the fashion industry. Artificial intelligence silently works as a sales assistant, selecting clothing and accessories for shoppers on ecommerce sites. Wearables are a de rigueur part of most wardrobes; there are Fitbits for cool kids by Public School and Tag Heuer's pricey, modular smartwatches. And the social media-fueled see-now-buy-now strategy of making pieces available for sale as they are shown (rather than three months later) is becoming standard for many mid-priced labels.
The two industries have changed the other so much that neither can imagine itself apart. Fashion needs technology to run its business; technology needs fashion for promotion. You can't split up things that are so made for each other. Just leave the drones and 3D glasses at home.