Digital fashion: seduction or innovation?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper aims to initiate a critical reflection on the relationship between fashion and new technologies. In fashion studies and in the sociology of the fashion a body of work is currently developing around the concept of digital fashion. Fashion scholars argue that a new trend is emerging - open, democratic, shared and hyper-technological - able to transform the canons of taste, costume and design. The vast majority of the literature on digitization has focused on the fact the fashion companies suffer, and partly incorporate, the seduction typical of digital aesthetics. Social networks and blogs have enhanced the way through which fashion brands communicate their imaginary: from their website to online streaming fashion show, from apps to online showroom. In this paper we show the relevance of theories of digitization to an understanding of the contemporary field of fashion design. Digital has in fact also entered the world of production overturning the rules and conventions of one of the sacred places of creation, the atelier. Digital fabrication, based on open design, 3D prints, digital laser cutting and engraving, has transformed creative and productive phases, developing a concept of popular crafts, re-contextualized and enhanced. In particular, and through a discussion of cases of collaborative fashion production, we focus on the idea of digitization as articulated through collaboration. Designers, stylists, tailors, costume designers meet online to share their creativity and their knowledge and thereby contribute both to the creation of a shared collection and to the public dissemination of sketches and patterns. The future of fashion is, therefore, a digital present that is transforming the Web from a simple communication tool to democratic sharing platform. The concept of collaborative production, we argue, allows us to capture the deeply intertwined nature of fashion and digital media and moreover allows design system to foster a more ethical and sustainable fashion because they shorten the supply chain, encourage direct knowledge of the protagonists and facilitate the use of local resources.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of GFC2014 “Re-thinking & Reworking Global Fashion”
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event“Re-thinking & Reworking Global Fashion” - Gent (Belgium)
Duration: 19 Nov 201421 Nov 2014


Conference“Re-thinking & Reworking Global Fashion”
CityGent (Belgium)


  • collaborative fashion production
  • digital fabrication
  • digital fashion


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