Hong Kong Fashion Week Unveils the Next Wave in Technology

A press release by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council stated that the 25th Hong Kong Fashion Week for Spring/Summer (9-12 July), featured a seminar titled “The Next Wave in Fashion Technology” at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

During the seminar, Dr Li Li, Associate Professor at the Institute of Textiles and Clothing, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, analysed the topic “Intelligent Manufacturing and its Medical Application of Wearable Electronic Textile Products” while Dr Andrew Zhu, CEO of TOZI Technology Company Limited, spoke about “Intelligent 3D Human Modelling – Making Shopping Well-fitting Clothes Easy and Fun”.

Intelligent Manufacturing and its Medical Application of Wearable Electronic Textile Products Dr Li Li co-ordinated the “A Novel Approach in Thermal Functional Textile with Conductive Materials” project which won a Silver Award at the 42nd International Exhibition of Invention of Geneva, Switzerland in 2014. The challenge presented by the exhibition, said Dr Li, was to design and develop electronic textile fabrics that are as washable, comfortable, light and soft and fashionable as traditional fabrics. These fabrics – or conductive yarns - could then be applied across a range of uses and needs including healthcare and medical uses, outdoor apparel, and even for keeping people warm on their way to work.

During the seminar Dr Li also explained the following developments:

  • Until very recently, “heated garments” mainly meant placing heating pads inside wearable fabric. However, as technology and scientific research have advanced and improved the ability of the fabric to retain heat, clothes have become more elastic, more comfortable, and more controllable in terms of both temperature regulation and where the heat is directed.
  • When the conductive element becomes part of the fabric itself, rather simply being a part that is placed inside the fabric, the possibilities for both design and use are expanded. These  types of clothing can then be applied for everyday use, such as evening wear and underwear, or perhaps for specific purposes – such as for use by     Winter Olympic athletes who need to stay warm.
  • These new fabrics are not only soft, thin and light, they are washable too. Combining conductive yarns with regular yarns also opens up choices in terms of both colours and styles.
  • Temperature levels can either be controlled by a button placed somewhere on the garment or via Bluetooth from mobile phones.
  • This technology also lends itself towards the development of “medicine release” garments, where the user can control dosages throughout the day.

Intelligent 3D Human Modelling – Making Shopping Well-fitting Clothes Easy and Fun Dr Andrew Zhu, a graduate (MPhil and Doctor’s degree) from the Institute of Textile and Clothing at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, explained how TOZI recently conducted research into the booming trend of online shopping but had found that there was a return rate of more than 30 per cent when it came to the clothes that were purchased. Hence, the institute turned its attention to “intelligent 3D human modelling technology”. This technology requires two mobile photos to be taken. Once the photos are taken, the technology can calculate accurate body measurements immediately. This means that in the near future custom-made clothes can be purchased and the rate of return will be decreased.

During the seminar, Dr Zhu further explained how this technology:

  • Aims to solve the main problem with online clothing purchases – fitting – by obtaining accurate and precise body measurements.    
  • Makes the process more convenient by eliminating the need for scanners, which are expensive to purchase and require the shopper to travel to where this service is offered.
  • Is adaptable, accurate and simple – and can read body contours even under clothes.
  • Can customise a 3D body model based on the contours under the clothes using the two 2D mobile photos supplied.
  • Has enabled the development of apps that help clients maintain healthy body shapes, choose their own fabric and bespoke clothing, and recommend clothes that suit different individuals.

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