Overview The fashion industry with
all its glitz and glamour seems far away from the world of
precision-programmed computers. However, computers have become an integral
part of apparel design, manufacturing, and distribution. To explore the
topic, start with an overview
of fashion software and technology where you can follow links to subtopics
that interest you, including body scanning systems and RFID tags. If you
want to explore the Lands’ End Virtual Model technology and try on
clothes online, connect to www.landsend.com
and click the link for My Virtual Model. For lots of information on RFID
technology, including the controversy about its use in clothing labels,
look it up RFID in Wikipedia.
Wearable computers Much of the
pioneering work for wearable computers was initiated at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology Media Lab. One of the best places to start
exploring wearable computers is the MIT Media Lab Web site (www.media.mit.edu/wearables).
The links at this site change frequently, but always point to interesting
new developments in wearable computers. A friendly attitude of competition
between MIT and Carnegie Mellon helps motivate students to come up with
ever more creative ideas. To see what Carnegie Mellon students are up to,
check out www.wearablegroup.org/.
For descriptions and photos of many
wearable prototypes, use the links at wearables.blu.org.
How would you like a handbag that keeps
track of your umbrella, wallet, and keys? What about a scarf that displays
today’s pollution level, temperature, and humidity? According to the New
Scientist Web site, smart
fabrics can do this and more.
Fabric Design Fabric designers are
creating bold new plaids and pattern designs using their computers. You
can find out all about this fascinating use of technology at the Wonder
Weave Systems Web site. Make sure you click the Jacquard Sample
Loom link to see how computer-generated designs can be instantly output to
a loom to create sample fabrics.
You can become your own clothing designer
with special fabric that runs through your inkjet printer, available from Jo-Ann
and other fabric stores.
Computerized pattern design and cutting
The clothes you wear originate as patterns, which re used to cut the cloth
that is sewn into shirts, skirts, jeans, and jackets. Computers help
automate this task. At www.apparelsearch.com/pattern_maker.htm
you’ll find lots of apparel-related links, including some for pattern
Fashion industry jobs If you’re
considering a career in the fashion industry, you should obtain an
industry overview and list of jobs, check out this fashion
At the Cool-Jobs-in-the-Fashion-Industry
Web page, you’ll find links that describe unique fashion-related
career possibilities. Once you have a list of job titles, you can Google
them and find sites like this U.K.
career Web site, which explains the job of a pattern grader and
how computers help to automate the job.