FASHION'S NEXT GRAND PRIX

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BRIDGET CURWIN

03.01.21

Incorporating technology into fashion is not a new concept, but is on the rise and taking strides. Haute couture has been drawing inspiration from the digital world ever since the internet entered mainstream media. Most notably, Alexander McQueen had motion-sensored robots film his runway show in 2010; Dolce & Gabbana used drones instead of models during 2018 Fashion Week; and Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen frequently uses 3D printing to make her intricate couture come to life. Techno-chic was officially inducted into the ranks of high fashion with the selection of "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology" as the 2016 Met Gala theme. In both past and current collections, designers have looked to technology and engineering as a source for creativity, but now the roles are reversed, as technology and engineering are looking to draw inspiration from fashion. Thanks to engineers who have pushed aesthetic and conventional boundaries, a class of vehicles known as supercars allows consumers to blend their passion for both technology and fashion. These cars represent a seamless combination of state-of-the-art technology and avant-garde design, and should therefore join art and fashion as a device for self-expression.
 

At the crux of high fashion lies craftsmanship, elegance, and design. These same values are displayed in the construction of supercars, but are only noticed when we overcome the preconception that these vehicles are superfluous. Indeed, supercars are often written off as a waste of money, as we fail to recognize that fashion is not necessarily restricted to what one can fit into a closet. One respects the art put into a Fendi baguette and honors its price tag, even if this item isn't considered an essential. However, one neglects the possibility that the desire to own a supercar goes beyond wanting to go 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, but rather reflects an appreciation for unique feats of modern engineering. Although these cars may come with a hefty price tag, the resale value of some limited-edition vehicles may be worth the initial plunge, and the personal benefit of having the ultimate fashion-forward car collection may outweigh the value of the car itself. If supercars were to be seen as the ultimate high-fashion accessory, or even as an indicator of style for those who prefer tech to clothing, the world may be ready to embrace the very best both design and engineering have to offer.
 

The tech world's favorite supercars are finally being introduced into the space intersecting fashion and technology, a prime example of this being the all-new 2022 McLaren Artura. The British company’s most recent automobile exploit incorporates the quintessential aerodynamic look into a contemporary 2021 design. Marketed as "the full force of McLaren," the hybrid supercar is fully customizable down to the stitching on the carbon-fiber interior. It also features a maximum speed of 205 mph. However, with a starting price of $225,000, the McLaren Artura is definitely geared toward the uber wealthy and ultra trendy.  
 

The Bentley Bentayga is the novel and luxurious supercar SUV. Although it may seem too large to be considered a supercar—as they are usually pictured as compact sports cars—the Bentley Bentayga is the fastest SUV on the market today, with a top speed of 190 mph. The car's impressive build is only outshined by its elegant design, which doesn't deviate from the fan-favorite classic Bentley look. In order to build a seven-seater with such a high maximum speed, Bentley offers a starting price of $160,000, which is always subject to increase depending on customizations. For a family-sized vehicle that compromises no aspect of the aesthetic, the Bentley Bentayga is a smash-hit, bold take on a timeless work of art. Both McLaren and Bentley manufacture their product in England which requires higher wages and material costs. This may offer some explanation as to why the prices of these vehicles are not for the faint of heart.  
 

From the creative mind of Elon Musk, the 2021 Tesla Model 3 is an ideal supercar for tech aficionados looking for a fashion-forward ride. Already a Silicon Valley staple, the Model 3 sports an all-glass roof, wireless charging pads, and autonomous driving capacity, all wrapped up in a sleek exterior reminiscent of what one would expect to see on Netflix's Black Mirror. The innovative user interface eliminates the need for a cluttered dashboard, and integrates all controls into a singular 17-inch screen. Averaging at around $37,000 the Model 3 is a far more affordable supercar for those looking to invest in high-fashion tech without (completely) breaking the bank.  
 

Lastly, the innovative DS X E-Tense is geared toward the admirer of the avant-garde. A true vehicular pièce de résistance, the DS X E-Tense was presented at the Paris Motor Show in 2018 as the future of supercars, set to start production in 2035. Rarely do we get to peek at fashion fifteen years into the future, but French company DS Automobiles proposes an asymmetrical exterior with a NASCAR-like driving cockpit, complete with an autonomous driving system and ever-sleek scissor doors. Based on Formula E racing cars but with a blue-chrome high shine color scheme, DS Automobiles envisions the future as the ultimate utopian combination of high-tech, high-power, and high fashion. Although the car’s pricing is yet to be announced, sources predict that the car's price tag will most likely dwell somewhere in the six-figure range. Currently only what DS calls a 'concept car,' the waitlist for the vehicle should start in the early 2030s, depending on whether DS is able to configure the necessary engineering specifications.
 

Although some of the most influential innovations in technology have originated from the brilliant minds of supercar designers, the market is currently at a lull, and sources predict a decrease in market growth over the next five years. However, this does not necessarily signify a slow death for the supercar industry. Perhaps this points to a potential for growth, and that owning a supercar could mean being ahead of a trend. Take it from a 20 year old with no driver's license: investing in highly-digitized supercars could someday be akin to stocking one's closet with Rick Owens in 2006. While the rest of the world anxiously awaits fashion's next big thing, the most creative minds know that it's already arrived, waiting for a simple push to start.