With the start of the S/S 2017 Fashion show calendar beginning in New York last week and the end of London Fashion week, we have seen not only the unveiling of the latest fashion styles but also the showcasing of a variety of fashion technology advances indicating that this trend is set to continue.

Whilst innovations in wearable technology in recent years have included the robotic dress, 3D printed apparel and of course the smart watch, the rapid rise of social media has seen technology in fashion shift slightly away from “wearability” towards enhancing the fashion show experience and the high fashion hook up.

At NYFW Tommy Hilfiger introduced a new click and buy collection so that anyone who wanted to could instantly buy the new collection straight off the runway, Burberry was live streaming its London show and using Facebook Messenger chatbots to allow fans to interact with the collection and online retailer Lyst coined the phrase “humannequins” when they used Augmented Reality (A.R.) to allow passers-by to dress semi-naked models with virtual representations of clothing using smartphones and iPads. But by far the most exciting technological fashion experience unveiled at LFW was the product of a collaboration between luxury brand Martine Jarlgaard London and technology company DoubleMe. The Jarlgaard collection was presented also using Augmented Reality for a mixed reality show. Attendees at the event staged at the exclusive W Hotel in London wore Microsoft’s head mounted Halolens that when worn allowed them to see and move naturally whilst viewing the collection through a transparent lens. Commenting on the event Martine Jarlgaard stated “Technology, from mixed reality to 3D printing, will redefine fashion and has the potential to become the most significant engine of change in the quest of a more intelligent, sustainable and ethical approach. Virtual presentations will become instantly viewable worldwide, even on smartphones and tablets. 360 degree navigational control will enhance the experience and democratise the fashion show. It will leave you in control.”

This collaboration of fashion and technology was brought about by Olswang partner, Fashion Innovation Agency, who have been behind many fashion and technology projects including the Fyodor Golan and Nokia partnership that created the first interactive skirt made of Nokia Lumia 1520 smartphones. Speaking about the Jarlgaard show, Matthew Drinkwater, who heads the agency, commented “The potential of mixed reality to transform the fashion industry is huge. From creation to showcasing and retailing, this medium will have a profound impact on the way brands and designers will connect to their consumers. This collaboration is an exploration into a new approach to showcasing that removes the barrier between physical location and the audience and challenges the concept of a traditional fashion show”.

As official technology partner of NYFW, Intel is already transforming the fashion show experience using virtual reality. It therefore remains to be seen what other fashion technology innovations will feature at next year’s Fashion Shows.

By: Yvonne Onomor
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