Technological advances have reformed the landscape of the fashion industry; it was only a decade ago that luxury brands refused to sell their products online. Yet in the past ten years, the rapid rise of the internet caused a retail revolution, led by visionaries like Natalie Massenet at Net-a-Porter and, more recently, Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson at Gilt Groupe. These women, and the companies they founded, drastically reshaped traditional distribution channels for luxury consumer goods – but technological innovations can further disrupt retailing by taking aim at the product itself, rather than the point of sale.
Innovations in textile technology have led to the creation of scientifically engineered fabrics that offer functional benefits – such as sun protection. The dresses you see in this post are distinctive because they were created from these fabrics, which block 98% of UV rays and provide the same level of protection as SPF 50 sunscreen. Skin cancer is estimated to affect 20% of Americans over the course of their lifetime, and that number is rising; embracing recent developments in fabric technology could help reduce the prevalence of skin cancer and other diseases through superior sun protection.
I envision a future of smarter fashion, where products serve many purposes – not only will clothing be an aesthetic statement and an expression of personal style, but also a tool for safeguarding one’s comfort and health. To that end, I’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a sun protective fashion line, Canopy New York. Our mission is to offer clothing that marries the benefits of scientific advances with a modern design sensibility. In the future, all clothing will be sun protective. In the meantime, Canopy New York is delivering a better, smarter, and safer product.
Visit my Kickstarter campaign here.