ZMJ Call for papers: Fashion, Technology, and Social Distancing

Volume 10.2, 2020
Editor: Gustavo Marfia (University of Bologna)

In the history of humanity, the adoption of technologies is constantly accelerating (Denning and Lewis 2020). The time elapsed from the invention to the mass adoption of the telegraph, about eighty years, that required for the widespread diffusion of the telephone, sixty years, electricity (thirty three years), color TV (fifteen years) and social media (twelve). In this perspective, an interesting question for everyone, but also for consumers, fashion professionals, and scholars is: “Which of the technologies nowadays in an early adoption state will become mainstream in the near future?”.

In order to answer this question, we circumscribe an ecosystem consisting of three computer technologies, which are currently going through different stages in terms of maturity, but which will doubtless sooner or later influence and modify future scenarios, both from the point of view of consumers and fashion experts and practitioners.

The first of these technologies is already in the process of altering many of the situations to which humanity is accustomed, Artificial Intelligence. Even in an economic sector with a strong creative drive, such as fashion, more and more scenarios are imagined in which artificial intelligence tools can prove decisive, not only in relation to aspects related to sales, production and logistics, but also in relation to those related to the design of new collections and the identification of future trends (IBM Research – AI for Fashion).

The second technology, the Internet of Things, already well integrated in the industrial world in general, finds space in the value chain of the fashion system and to a lesser extent in clothes and accessories in the form of wearable technologies.

The third and latest technology taken into consideration in this call, Extended Reality (which includes Virtual and Augmented Reality), has been experimented by the main fashion brands for some years, especially in relation to its ability to amaze and create a connection which is more direct, compared to traditional media and the web, between customers and the most exclusive initiatives of a brand.

Now, the experience of the pandemic of 2020 has further sparked the interest of many fashion companies for these technologies; has imposed on many companies a management of their business based on digital systems, which starts from the supply chain of materials, to the creation, exhibition and sale of their products (Roberts-Islam 2020). Social distancing, in fact, amplified in the first instance the use of digital channels, but also the need to use digital technologies within each link in the value chain (The state of Fashion 2020, McKinsey report).

Therefore, this Issue of the ZoneModa Journal aims at investigating how the universe of fashion, made up of highly heterogeneous realities and with very different characteristics, can benefit from the existence of an integrated technological ecosystem, which contemplates the use of the digital technologies indicated above in all its phases. We therefore invite scholars to focus on a series of questions, in the light of future scenarios that presumably will arise:

  • How will fashion companies propose the physical experience of their stores and showrooms within new or existing virtual channels?
  • How will the online shopping experience change in the medium to long term, if it changes, in light of the rules of social distancing and the closure of many physical stores?
  • How will a large amount of data coming from the fashion system, following the digitization of many of its processes, change the working methods of the designers?
  • Will the pandemic, the pervasive use of the Web and the integration of Extended Reality technologies boost fashion archives?
  • The companies that today provide trend services, forecasts and styling to the fashion industry, as well as influencers and bloggers, will see their role changed within an increasingly digital scenario, in perspective, conditioned from the use of artificial intelligence?
  • Can the pandemic represent the stimulus that will bring the Internet of Things and Extended Reality technologies from an early adoption state to that of a mainstream one within all or some of the steps in the fashion value chain?

Denning, Peter J., and Lewis, Ted G. “Technology adoption.” Communications of the ACM 63, no. 6 (2020): 27–29.

Roberts-Islam, B. “Virtual Catwalks And Digital Fashion: How COVID-19 Is Changing The Fashion Industry,” April 2020 –

IBM Research – AI for Fashion.

The state of Fashion 2020 – coronavirus update. insights/its time to rewire the fashion system state of fashion coronavirus update/the-state-of-fashion-2020-coronavirus-update-vf.ashx


Abstracts of no more than 1000 words + 5 bibliographical references (word *.docx format), written either in Italian or English, must be sent to: .

Abstract acceptance does not guarantee publication of the article, which will be submitted to a double-blind peer-review process.

Key deadlines

  • abstract submission: July 20, 2020
  • notification of acceptance/rejection: July 30, 2020 (notice of acceptance might include comments and requests of explanations).
  • full-length paper (6000/7000 words) submission: September 30, 2020.
  • comments of the reviewers will be conveyed together with the editor’s decision (approval with no changes, approval with major/minor changes and/or rejection): October 15, 2020.
  • authors shall send the reviewed article to the editorial staff by October 30, 2020.

ZMJ 10.2 2020 is scheduled to be published by the end of 2020.