All Saints technology director talks up 3D printing

New technologies like 3D printing have "a huge role to play" in how the business world will change over the next 30 years, according to All Saints' global technology director James Wintle.

Speaking at an event run by Virgin Media Business and its founder Sir Richard Branson, Wintle took part in discussions with start-up brands focused on the future of retail, including the idea that customers may one day be able to co-create clothes by liaising directly with the fashion houses that produce them.

The group discussion, which involved start-up representatives from the shoe, sports and menswear retailing sectors, predicted that technology such as 3D printing will allow everyone to be able to create exactly what they want, signalling an end to mass-produced cheap clothing.

In a nod to emerging technologies related to the 'Internet of Things' concept, they predicted a revolution in fabric, which will see clothing inform consumers if they are lacking vitamins or putting on too much weight.

Virgin Media's 30:30 Vision event saw 30 start-ups and challenger businesses join up with leaders from various sectors, including media & entertainment, food, fashion & beauty, social enterprise, retail and healthcare, to discuss the future direction of these respective industries.

The 30 small businesses were supported by Virgin Media Business during their respective start-up stages, as part of the company's Pioneers scheme, a free online community of support for thousands of UK entrepreneurs.

All Saints' Wintle said: "The fashion and beauty industry is defined by trends and evolutions – not just in the products themselves but also in how the industry operates.

"It's inspiring to see the young businesses in this sector taking on the challenge of ever emerging technologies and using them to enhance their products, engage their customers and continue to evolve our industry."

The start-ups joining Wintle in the discussions at the Virgin Media Business event were hair stylists Hairport, customisable shoe brand Skribbies, 3D-printed accessories e-tailer WonderLuk, sports fashion brand ilu Fitwear, and menswear retailer The Chapar.