Tech-infused Moments During Fashion Week That You Might Have Missed.

Although technology seemed to be in stealth mode this fashion week season, there were a few headliners that are worth a mention.

As fashion week wraps up for the big 4 (New York, London, Milan and Paris), I am happy to report that there were a few tech-infused moments that did not disappoint.

PFW: Drones Dress Models

Drones dressing models sound somewhat gimmicky, and it is, but it did make for an exciting catwalk moment for Japanese designer Issey Miyake’s Spring/Summer 2020 show.

Fashion Week

So how did it work? Well, the models walked onto the runway in undergarments that gave them a nude appearance, and once in position, the garments floated down from above, seamlessly dressing the awaiting models. Once dressed, the models moved from their spot and started showcasing the clothes in a way that made the pieces look like they were made out of a spring-like fabric.

The collection itself was by new lead designer, Satoshi Kondo. His objective was to show a combination of choreography and colourful garments that moved in an eye-catching way. “I wanted to express joy through fashion. So I mixed different emotions—happiness, pleasure, a modern sensibility—combining different materials, Japanese tradition, and innovative techniques,” explained Kondo.

NYFW: rag & bone Powered by Microsoft Technology

It was an exciting season in NY because old-time favourite, rag & bone, partnered up with Microsoft Technology Augments to unveil their SS20 collection with a technology-fueled and robot-filled performance. Synonymous with innately wearable clothing that innovatively melds classic tailoring with an edgy yet understated New York aesthetic, rag & bone broke the mold and set a new standard in fashion presentations for the future by transforming the aesthetic experience of the catwalk.

Fashion Week
Image Credits: Microsoft

As the lights came up, a custom-built trained robot took centre stage. Powered by Microsoft Azure Kinect DK technologies the robots interacted with and interpreted the performance. The robot also captured the entire show and holistically presented it as a multidimensional 360-degree interpretation as the show’s backdrop. Following a three-year catwalk hiatus, it was refreshing to see rag & bone being compelled by innovation and marking their return to NYFW with a technology-ennced fashion experience.

“Fashion shows are traditionally just seen as a straight camera shot of someone walking down the runway, and we’ve always focused on different ways of seeing things and incorporating technology into an otherwise analogue situation,” says Marcus Wainwright, CEO of rag & bone. “The Azure Kinect DK was a massive part of this show. We couldn’t have done it without it.”

“Fashion shows are traditionally just seen as a straight camera shot of someone walking down the runway, and we’ve always focused on different ways of seeing things and incorporating technology into an otherwise analogue situation.”

To ensure the robot’s movements would complement those of the human cast members, the newly released Azure Kinect DK, including the Sensor SDK and Body Tracking SDK, were leveraged to instruct responsively from real-time feedback. Moving about the stage to capture the models and their garments from unexpected angles and unique vantage points, these technologies transformed the performers into 3D pointillist models of cloud-point data that could convey both structure and volume. In this way the narrative of the performance was translated into unlikely images projected for all to see in a multidimensional 360-degree view on screens around the amphitheatre, genuinely bringing the runway and the presentation of garments to the audience in a completely novel way.

“rag & bone truly unlocked the creative potential of our technology, making a complex project look so seamless,” says Maruschka Loubser, Director of Brand Partnerships. “They provided viewers with an extra layer of visual depth through the live-sensor SDK and body-tracking SDK of the Azure Kinect DK, and crafted a cultural moment by disrupting the traditional runway show.”

LFW: ‘Augmented Fashion’ as a Sustainable Alternative Physical Fashion

This season the Brooke Roberts Innovation Agency (BRIA) presented a digital fashion installation during LFW. Part of the British Fashion Council’s Positive Fashion Initiative, BRIA presented ‘Augmented Fashion’ as a sustainable alternative to physical fashion.

BRIA was co-founded by Brooke Roberts-Islam, an award-winning digital knitwear designer and consultant. For London Fashion Week September 2019 BRIA reimagined the fashion design process turning manual garment creation into a digitised process. The goal is not only to speed up design and manufacturing but also drastically to reduce textile waste and carbon emissions. BRIA has managed to do this by using 3D design and rendering software that eliminates the need for physical samples and physical fittings, yet still allows eventual physical manufacturing of garments, once the design has been finalised.

Image Credits: BRIA

Communicating the future of sustainable fashion through not only digital design but augmented reality, Brooke showed that it is possible to create hyper-realistic garments from patterns that are ‘snapped together’ in 3D then digitally fitted on bespoke avatars. The positive being greater accuracy than physical model fittings. Also, the garment patterns are amended in real-time, ready for eventual physical garment making. It is a process that will allow users to experiment with BRIA’s digital materials and designs, mapping them to their physical features and overlaying them on the real world.

MFW: Gucci’s First Carbon-neutral Show

Italian luxury brand Gucci presented its first carbon-neutral show at Milan Fashion Week this season. Part of their green strategy, Gucci is looking to address its role in the climate crisis by becoming entirely carbon neutral company. For those who are not quite sure what it involves, carbon neutral is an action that removes the same amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they put into it, whether it be from production, to transport to packaging – to offsetting its directly managed usage.

The £13.3 billion brand owned by luxury group, Kering announced earlier in September, their green strategy that will stretch from its supply chain to its fashion shows and comprises a mixture of reduction, elimination and offsetting what it calls “unavoidable emissions”. President and chief executive, Marco Bizzarri, told the Guardian, “The more time that goes by, the more reports from the scientists are clear – the planet has gone too far.”

Gucci runway show in Milan. The brand was one of 32 brands to sign up to the Fashion Pact in August. Photograph: WWD/REX/Shutterstock

Partnering up with Redd+ – a UN project to reduce emissions from deforestation, Bizzarri believes that with the advancement of technology, it is possible to improve ways that the industry can reduce emissions without the need of offsetting. He said: “In the future, we can look at going in that direction, but at the moment for me, the level of technology is not yet there, so the [show] is the best way to present the ideas of a luxury fashion house like ours … the level at which we do these shows is paramount in the connectivity of our creative directors and design teams because they express the narrative of the collection [to customers].”

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Founding editor-in-chief & WearableTechStylist of FashNerd.com, Muchaneta has worked in the fashion industry for over 14 years. She is currently one of the leading influencers speaking and writing about the merger of fashion with technology and wearable technology and a regular contributor to digital news sites like Wareable.