We all have our strengths and weaknesses. I think of myself as someone who knows how to put an outfit together but when, say, the printer goes down, I am lost. Spoiler alert: I am not technologically savvy! Thankfully, my husband is the resident IT guy and has me covered in all areas of computer knowledge. I am completely spoiled in the sense that any glitch or problem gets fixed immediately and is unbeknownst to me. You might ask: “Where is she going with this? What does technology have to do with fashion?” The answer is that technology in today’s world has everything to do with fashion.
Fashion has become more and more innovative over the years. One example of this is when Levi Strauss & Co. made a “smart” jacket. The jacket vibrates when someone calls you. It also plays music and can give you directions. The technology is implanted in the cuff of the jacket and is washable. Another recent innovation is bioengineered fabric. Companies can make leather-like material from yeast cells. Just imagine the implications this has for those concerned with using animal skin. Now fashion companies have more Earth-friendly sources. The coolest factor is that these materials are both natural and man-made. Advancements in fiber science show a dedication to sustainability. Garments can also be made from recycled plastics, plastic yarn, and plastic sequins.
Technology is also changing the way clothes are made. In 2016, the Met Gala’s Theme was “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Celebrities and fashion editors came dressed in everything from light-up fiber-optic eveningwear to garments covered in LED flowers. The whole idea was to explore the dichotomy between hand and machine. Some might worry about the implications of the use of technology. While, yes, computers are making things easier in many industries, the human creative mind will not become obsolete. Take, for example, 3D printing, which is one of the latest trends in fashion.
Noa Raviv is a fashion designer based in Tel Aviv who blends the virtual and physical. She uses a 3D rendering program, prints the pieces, and then puts them together. She likes to draw attention to the confusion in our world between what is original and what is the copy. In her designs, you can see the beautiful struggle between the two. Noa Raviv also reminds us that although her pieces are made using the technology, a huge part of the process is still done by hand. Hand stitching and draping is a big part of the final product.
Danit Peleg is an Israeli fashion designer who works with 3D printing as well. She designed a dress for Amy Perdy who wore it to the Paralympic Games opening ceremony in which she dances with an industrial robot. Peleg used a soft fabric called Filaflex printed in a lacelike texture; it took 120 hours to print the dress. According to Peleg, 3D printing is liberating and allows the creative mind to achieve what before was impossible.
So fear not, there still needs to be a creative mind behind the technology. The next question you might have is, what technology has to do with modest fashion. Although right now, because of the time constraints of 3D printing and fiber science, these tech-produced garments are not as accessible, we are getting closer to a world where these products will be available to the masses. When this occurs, hopefully designers will have the modest fashion dressers in mind. Another way technology can impact the modest fashion world is that 3D printing allows for personalization and customization. Clothes can be made to fit to the consumer’s body and modesty specifications.
On a deeper level, for me, the whole tension between man-made and tech-made brings to mind the balance we have in Judaism of the physical and spiritual worlds. We are taught to use materialistic things to achieve a higher connection to G-d. For example, if we are given prosperity, we are able to share with those less fortunate. Let’s embrace technology and use it to uplift us through fashion. Designers can uplift their collections by making them modest, thereby encouraging their wearers to be modest. Turning the mundane into something holy is the ultimate goal.
Michal Goldfein is a fashion influencer and content creator on Instagram and posts daily modest fashion inspiration @TheFashionDetour. You can listen to her modest fashion podcast on Apple podcast and on Jtriberadio.com. Email your fashion questions to Michal at