Industry 4.0: Everything you need to know about the future of apparel16 min read

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Have you ever stopped to think about everything you need to know about the future of apparel?

So, the most basic technologies that are part of our daily lives came from great scientific and technological revolutions. Let´s get more about it in this article?

From the machinery in factories to the computer or smartphone through which you read this article, all this was only possible with great discoveries and inventions, which in turn forever changed the formation of society and its daily life.

And although we talk a lot more about the first three industrial revolutions, we don’t stop evolving!

So today you will discover what Industry 4.0 is and why the industry — and the world as we know it — is experiencing an industrial revolution for the fourth time and the future of apparel.

What is and what were the industrial revolutions

Industrial revolutions are transitions driven by the development of new technologies that transform production processes and socioeconomic aspects, impacting people’s daily lives and societies’ way of life.

In order to understand the changes in the industry that the world has seen since the 18th century, it is important to know what characterizes an industrial revolution.

First, not every discovery or invention alone is capable of transforming the industry and being considered a revolution.

The second aspect of this phenomenon is that revolutions did not in fact happen overnight, nor were they immediate or sudden.

First Industrial Revolution

Considered the starting point of the industry, the first industrial revolution (called Industry 1.0) is linked to the emergence of steam and water machines.

Europe from the 1760s to 1850s, from the pioneer England, witnessed a good part of the manufacturing work being replaced by machinery, mainly in the textile sector.

It was the revolution of profound changes in the modes of production, in the forces and relations of work, and in the organization of society as a whole.

Second Industrial Revolution

Also known as the Technological Revolution, the Second Industrial Revolution (Industry 2.0) had intense technological development and scientific advances, mainly in medicine.

It began around the second half of the 19th century, lasting until the end of World War II in 1945.

Railways, electricity, and oil as a source of energy were important impulses for this second revolution, even grander than its predecessor.

The telegraph also played an important role, changing the form of communication in the 19th century, which would continue to occur in the following decades.

Third Industrial Revolution

The so-called Informational Technoscientific Revolution (Industry 3.0) was a milestone not only for development in the industrial sectors but also in Science and Communications.

It began around the 1950s and over the years we have seen the emergence of the first computer, its evolution into home computers, the birth of the internet.

The first programming languages, and other revolutions for telecommunications and the digital world that we know today.

What is Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is a new stage in the development of the industry driven by disruptive technologies that converge and unite the physical, biological, and digital worlds for the future of apparel.

The purpose of this merger is to automate and make production processes increasingly optimized, intelligent, connected, and digital.

As a result, Industry 4.0 will be more efficient in several aspects: quality, cost and resource savings, safety, errors and rework, data transparency, decision making, among others.

After centuries of significant technological advances in different sectors, the world is entering a new revolution, integrating Computing, Engineering, Biology, Robotics, and other areas of knowledge.

The technologies from these areas of knowledge are shaping the future of the industry and starting the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Klaus Schwab, German economist and founder of the World Economic Forum, coined the term Industry 4.0. Far beyond a new phase of the industrialization process.

Schwab defined this new era as a paradigm shift, something never seen before and that will change the world as we know it.

And despite seeming a futuristic reality, Industry 4.0 tends to intensify in the coming years.

The importance of industry 4.0 and the future of the apparel

There are several reasons why the Fourth Revolution is important for all industries and the future of apparel, not just apparel and textiles.

This is because it represents the next step in industrialization at a global level, which means that it benefits the entire world’s production chain, at all stages and processes.

As a worldwide process, Industry 4.0 is important because it is based on the principles of real-time information integration and sharing.

This not only facilitates the understanding of the production cycle but also speeds up production as we know it today (computerized or manual).

In addition, as it is the result of the combination of knowledge from several areas, Industry 4.0 presents solutions to Industry 3.0 problems – especially those related to automation, algorithms, production time, and cost predictability.

These factors, among others, are responsible for the final price of goods, which means that, by investing in the 4.0 transformation, it is possible to produce more, in less time, spending less.

Despite the benefits for industry owners and their workers, Industry 4.0, thanks to its technologies, is important for the environment, as it contributes to a cleaner and more sustainable production.

What are the principles of Industry 4.0 for the future of apparel?

As we said, the term Industry 4.0 emerged in the German academic context and then began to be actively, practically, and effectively incorporated into the industrial context.

In the meantime, many other scholars have also looked into the 4.0 theory and, as a result, the 6 principles of Industry 4.0 emerged – observed in pioneer industries in the fourth revolution by Hermann, Pentek, and Otto, which you can see below:

1. Interoperability

Interoperability or connectivity is the ability that industries 4.0 has to generate integration, sharing, and transfer of information, data, operations, and other essential and relevant tools between productive systems (physical, virtual and cyber-physical).

2. Virtualization

In cyber-physical systems that mix virtual reality and physical reality, virtualization is the ability of these systems to control information, operations, and processes by simulating real elements into virtual ones through data collected by sensors and algorithms.

In practice, virtualization is the application of artificial intelligence in operations.

3. Real time

Speed is one of the great pillars of the Fourth Revolution. Industry 3.0 instruments become even faster and more technological, sending, emitting, processing, and learning from data in real-time.

Based on this capability, devices are able to make better decisions and learn as they execute processes.

4. Modularity

We call modularity the ability of the 4.0 model to adapt to abrupt changes in the productive context – as in the case of the pandemic, for example, which required the remodeling of many segments of industry and commerce.

5. Autonomy

Industries undergoing the fourth revolution tend to perceive a certain decentralization of the production chain, especially with regard to localized decision-making and problem-solving.

Thanks to its technologies, the 4.0 model is able to identify and deal with problems much faster and more quickly, without having to go through several sectors, as in the traditional model.

The manager, in this case, follows up in real-time through data and monitoring tools.

6. Personalization

The high level of technology applied to creation 4.0, especially in the fashion segment, makes personalization one of its principles (and not just for this specific niche). In this way, it is possible to meet customer requirements every time.

The future of the apparel and the industry 4.0 Technologies

Despite looking like a science fiction movie script or a very distant reality, this fusion of the physical, digital and biological worlds are already happening.

While many of the technologies that underpin Industry 4.0 are in advanced development, there is still much to discover and some challenges for their implementation.

Even so, we face a very palpable disruptive future. Learn about some of these foundational technologies for Industry 4.0:

Additive Manufacturing

What became known as 3D Printing is one of the key technologies for Industry 4.0. Additive manufacturing allows the construction of products from digital models.

Its use is increasingly common in several sectors, such as in the health area, in prostheses and medical materials, in the automobile sector, in the manufacture of consumer goods, among others.

Just to illustrate some of the advantages of this technology, we have a faster and lower cost in the manufacture of parts, the possibility of customization and creation of complex products, in addition to raw material and energy savings are some of them.

With such production optimization, it is clear why Additive Manufacturing is one of the foundations for Industry 4.0.

Synthetic biology for the future of apparel

This is likely to be the most curious of the core technologies of Industry 4.0. Synthetic Biology, or SynBio, is about the possibility of personalizing and reprogramming living organisms.

Through the application of knowledge in biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, and computer science.

From the understanding of the functioning of the organism in comparison to electronic circuits, it is possible to redesign or modify its biological system.

In this way, a solution is created for some limitation or an improvement of the living organism.

And that’s where Synthetic Biology starts to drive Industry 4.0. Biodegradable, biosynthetic materials and more resistant plants without the use of pesticides are some of the wonders resulting from SynBio.

Applying A.I.for the future of apparel

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a set of computing technologies that seek to simulate human intelligence and its ability to learn, reason, solve problems and make decisions.

  • One of the pillars of Industry 4.0 is the constant collection and analysis of information to improve the knowledge and ability of Artificial Intelligence to make decisions and solve problems on its own.
  • So, when applied to industry and combined with other technologies, AI provides:
  • Reports and analysis of data and information quickly, in real time;
  • Automated and simplified processes;
  • Favorable conditions for decision making and the creation of more agile strategies;
  • Machine monitoring;
  • Identification of problems and impediments in the progress of production;
  • Security and maintenance need detection;
  • Improved performance in general.

Internet of Things (IoT)

We humans are not the only ones connected to each other in social networks and applications via the internet. After all, this technology so present in our routines is also basic for the functionality of various devices that use the so-called Internet of Things.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept of a network of physical devices connected digitally and communicating with each other over the internet.

One of the main goals of the Internet of Things is to make devices easier to use and automate tasks.

This automation ranges from scheduling tasks for a certain time to detecting danger or problems, in the case of using IoT for security and monitoring functions.

Cyber-physical systems

One of the most important foundations in Industry 4.0, alongside A.I. and IoT, is the cyber-physical system, a fusion of the physical world, of machines, to the digital world, of software.

From the information sent by the machines to the software, it is possible to generate data that allow the analysis, monitoring, and control of the machinery by Artificial Intelligence.

The Internet of Things, in turn, operates when the reading and action on the data obtained are performed by another machine connected to this information network.


Considering that virtualization is one of the principles of Industry 4.0, digitization, the process in which physical files are replaced by digital ones, could not be left out of the fourth revolution’s technology hall.

As this new industry model is based on connectivity and easy access to data and information, the importance of digitization is essential, not only as a process but as a culture within the industrial (and clothing) environment.

Advanced robotics

Robotics, an area of science dedicated to the study of construction and the interactions between machines and AI, appears in Industry 4.0 in the form of super-intelligent machines.

Devices capable of automating processes and autonomously interacting with the environment in which they are inserted, transforming them into them, analyzing them, or performing any other function for which they are assigned.

In the industrial field, advanced robotics represents a great advance and, applied in clothing, gave rise to cutting machines, spreaders, and other intelligent and high-performance equipment.

Big Data

Big data is one of the great concepts absorbed by the Fourth Revolution and concerns the processing of a large amount of highly complex information that can be managed intelligently to meet the demands of production.

Through the application of statistical and processing techniques, it is possible to have access to strategic information that guides strategic decision-making with greater speed and precision.

Digital manufacturing

The transformation in production modes advocated by Revolution 4.0 also gives rise, consequently, to new types of manufacturing: digital and additive (as we know it). Digital manufacturing, in turn, comes from simulation and virtual reality systems.

Both types have characteristics in common, the main one being the use of simulation software, CADs, and specific tools for use in a virtual environment.

The benefit of this type of manufacturing is precision, in addition to agility, and added value through the use of technology.

Cloud computing

Also called cloud computing, storing data in the cloud is the 4.0 solution to the problem of physical files or insecure virtual spaces.

This technology allows industries and clothing companies to have their computing resources accessible remotely and on multiple devices with all the necessary security and encryption.

Digital Twin

The concept of the digital twin is unique to Industry 4.0 and concerns virtualization and digitization to such a degree that each physical industry will have its digital twin.

In this way, it will be possible to operate and operationalize production in physical, virtual, and cyber-physical spaces.


Cobots (collaborative robots, in free translation) are equipment that apply artificial intelligence and robotics and whose result is machines that interact with humans in the production process – that is, helper robots.

The challenges of Industry 4.0

  • As it is a highly technological and integrated context, the implementation of Industry 4.0 needs to overcome some challenges, which today are the main ones to be overcome by those who wish to be part of the 4.0 transformation. Are they:
  • Data security: the large number of devices and machines connected to the network within an operation raises questions about the vulnerability of this data to attacks and the need to strengthen the security of corporate systems within smart factories;
  • Empowering Professionals 4.0: For the benefits of Industry 4.0 to be reaped to the full, it is essential to have the human capacity to interact with intelligent machinery and other digital technologies. 4.0 professionals are able to understand how physical and virtual systems work;
  • Connectivity of the entire operation: this is a challenge for the logistics and management sector – how to ensure that the entire operation is connected in real time and everything is working correctly. Fortunately, today there are already outsourced companies specializing in this type of solution.

Discover the impacts of Industry 4.0

Like any major change, the arrival of the Fourth Revolution has benefited the industrial sector with its technologies and optimized production method.

Likewise, Industry 4.0 has also impacted society, businesses, and the workforce due to the profound change it proposes in the current industrialization model.

In society, the 4.0 model has a direct impact on consumer relations, that is, the way in which we consume products, goods, and services.

And, contrary to what we had until Industry 3.0, in Industry 4.0 it is a society that influences the production mode, which is why sustainability is one of the great goals of smart factories.

In business, Industry 4.0 has become, in addition to a goal pursued by factory owners who want to produce more, a great competitive advantage – just as being able to perform functions in smart factories has become an expectation of professionals of the future.

The industry model as we know it is changing, and this requires professionals, managers, and business owners to be aware of the new demands of the market and society.

How to prepare to implement Industry 4.0 in your clothing?

If the future is 4.0, so are growth, profits, competitive differentials, and all stages of production.

Therefore, Industry 4.0 is strategic, as it fully integrates factories, paving the way for the manufacturing of the future and attracting new investments to the sector.

The advances allow clothing companies to increase their production capacities, which makes them offer increasingly customized and versatile products, in addition to experiencing gains in scale and greater security in production and in the return on investments made.

Production virtualization eliminates unnecessary inventories and waste, contributing to better use of resources and business sustainability. In addition, it fosters creative and productive intelligence, since product tests can be carried out in a digital environment, without impacting clothing costs.

Basically, we are talking about a complex information network, which facilitates the vision and decision-making made by qualified professionals.

The machine, in this scenario, in addition to automating operations, provides data in a much more agile and safe way, contributing to better planning and decision-making for each clothing professional.

Audaces takes its clothing to Industry 4.0

All the promises and benefits of Industry 4.0 technologies are within reach of fashion apparel. The protagonist of the First Industrial Revolution, the Textile Industry has enormous growth potential with the digital transformation of the fourth revolution.

Cutting Room 4.0

From software to the intelligent and automated cutting room, in a complete fusion between the digital and the physical.

Audaces are present throughout the production cycle, from creation to execution, being able to improve systems and generate more and more positive results.

Not all clothing companies are aware of the power that automation and digitalization have in the growth of the textile industry’s business.

But companies that have already immersed themselves in this transition to the 4.0 future are already seeing results never before achieved with more traditional technologies.

The benefits of an automated cutting room are numerous, but the guarantee of greater productivity and the quick financial return of an intelligent and integrated system are some of the decisive factors for a garment to become even more profitable and competitive.

And Audaces is ready to revolutionize its production.

Audaces 360

Audaces 360 is an innovative concept that integrates the creative and productive stages that guarantee the success of the collections.

By optimizing talent and production stages, the result is greater productivity, profitability, intelligent resource management, and much more profit.

Audaces 360 tools were created to make garments digital but in a simple and intuitive way. Each tool is connected to the other, sharing data and information in real-time, automating steps, and optimizing production time.

To learn more about how all these technologies will boost your company’s growth, download our special ebook for free and understand how Audaces will take your clothing to Industry 4.0.

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