This post comes from the perspective of Monsterrat Corominas and Dave Darsch

In the fashion industry, it's crucial to be at the cutting edge. So why are so many clothes and accessories companies behind the times when it comes to their engagement with technology? In the current retail environment, businesses often focus on social media and e-commerce platforms, but miss out on the other ways technology can accelerate their growth and help them truly understand their customers.

The future of fashion is in tech. The fashion industry needs real leaders, who are ready to tap into the powerful opportunities of evolving technologies. Here are 3 key tech trends all fashion companies need to engage with.

1. Voice technology

Speech is the most natural way of communicating, and companies are innovating to radically improve voice recognition technologies. This has big implications for fashion. Apparel that can work with smartphones and mic-activated devices will future-proof itself. And most importantly, companies will increasingly interact with their consumers by means of voice technology. It's predicted that by 2020, half of all web searches will use voice or image searches rather than text. Fashion apps and websites that allow customers to go from search through to purchase in one smooth voice stream - rather than multiple clicks - will build a strong competitive advantage.

2. Functionality and humanization

Fashion customers don't want to make choices between looking good and staying connected to technology. Humanized technologies are designed around how people naturally do things. Fashion needs to think about integrated solutions that take into account their main buyers' lives. Women still dominate fashion consumption, and fashion products that intelligently solve their specific needs with technology will thrive. For example, many women say they often miss phone calls, because their phones are in the bottom of their bag. And women's clothes don't have many pockets, making hands-free technology extremely important for this market. Savvy retailers will consider ways to adapt clothing to tech demands, and ways to make tech solutions - including wearables - genuinely attractive and stylish.

3. Smartphone use

Fashion companies must understand how their customers use technology. For instance, women tend to download more apps and make more use of video and photo functions than men. Both genders expect sophisticated retail phone experiences. Retailers with an eye on the future will use exciting tech advances to design interactive virtual showrooms and attractive apps. Integrating fashion platforms with camera and video technology will be key, and the most successful companies will develop a "live" strategy to tap into the power of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat live video streams.

Mixing the creativity of the fashion industry with the innovation of tech is a surefire way to engineer incredible user experiences and delighted customers.