Updated: Feb 6, 2021
Kriti 16yo, Chicago// The thing about technology, is its an ever-evolving word. There was a time when the heavy-plow was considered a revolutionary feat of technology and innovation, coincidently leading to the agricultural revolution. But now, we have hydroponics (essentially growing plants without soil). So does that make the heavy-plow any less extraordinary than hydroponics? Or another example of a revolutionary technology: the printing press, the social media for the olden days, powering the scientific revolution and leading to cultural reforms in Europe and the Americas. Nowadays, we can scan our fingerprint and unlock a universe full of information, pictures, news and even history of the printing press. Still, arguably, the invention of the heavy plow or printing press was so important to that time period, we forget that we are not really living in THE age of technology, rather an AN age of technology.
Almost all areas of our lives have been impacted by technology, either industrial or digital. This brings me to the exciting part of this blog post. The fashion industry is becoming so heavily influenced by technology that one brand is dubbed “ZARA meets Netflix” by Brook Roberts-Islam in her article featured in Forbes. This brand is called FINESSE. The Business of Fashion explains Finesse’s Business model as this, “a vertically integrated fashion house leveraging AI on big data & community feedback to predict trends, forecast demand, and optimize distribution, producing hit sell-outs without overproduction”.
Why might this relate to WhyFI Matter$ values?
Well a keyword is overproduction. Unlike ZARA, where every week there comes a new supply of clothes, implying the older clothes get thrown out (which is bad for the environment) FINESSE focuses on producing only what will be consumed. They understand there is demand for their clothes, but the supply is directly based on data of how many of these, let’s say jeans, will be consumed. Isn't this genius. According to the article in Forbes, instead of having physical samples of clothes which ship from factory to store, FINESSE does 3-D sampling before actually producing the product. Then on their website, users vote which outfit they like best, and that gets created physically. I mean, I am in awe and questioning why other fashion houses don’t use this model. This model is great because it is good from the environment, good ethically in the sense that no garment-workers are making a livelihood by working in beaten down buildings and harsh working conditions, and this model appeals directly to FINESSE’S target audience, GenZ. According to the founder, Ramin Ahmari, fashion is drifting from the runways of the world, to social media. We, GenZ, are easily influenced by influencers, and FINESSE is able to take this data compiled with a lot more data about their users and create a revolutionary and sustainable fashion system. I think it is important because this limits conspicuous consumption. If I go to a ZARA one day and buy something, and then I go there in 2 days, I will find other things to buy, and it keeps going and going and going, draining our pockets. So perhaps FINESSE’S model will influence consumerism in our upcoming future.
Not only will FINESSE make a technological impact, but, I think, will create a lasting social impact on the fashion world. The founder Ahmari, according to the article in Forbes is a ‘queer, non-binary person of colour,’ and many of the people working at FINESSE are POC, and this hopefully will help the world move away from a euro-centric, westernized concept of beauty to a more diverse concept including everyone. What I find interesting is unlike many of the big fashion houses, the FINESSE team is composed of ex NASA engineers, AI researchers and scientists who have worked with Nobel prize winners, who help cultivate this brand new futuristic take on the fashion industry.
Overall, the world is constantly going to be influenced by technology that is invented, causing society to shift values and motives creating history in the making. It is important to look at the fashion industry and see how it often drains our pockets, harms garment-workers, and hurts the environment and see how technology may help us overcome these issues. FINESSE is a great example of innovation, entrepreneurship and ethics combining to solve the fashion industries biggest issues. For more information please read the articles, ‘Zara Meets Netflix’—The Fashion House Where AI Removes Designers And Overstock by Brooke Roberts-Islam in Forbes and also this Business of Fashion Article.