Long live virtual reality!
In our latest installment of Digital Fashion Week we’re reviewing the recent Autumn/Winter 2016 shows – first up? New York.
The first wind we got of new tech being used at NYFW actually came from media powerhouse Refinery29, who create 360 videos for the major shows and shared them via their Facebook page. We love! Only problem is – why weren’t more designers doing it? Hmmm… The only real innovations came, firstly, in the form of a wearable tech offering from VFILES, who were hoping to ‘disrupt fashion’ (founder Julie Ann Quay’s words). Secondly, Chromat had some pretty cool LED and sensor-enhanced garments that can be controlled by the wearer. At this stage, however, it seems to be more gimmick than function that makes the collections.
Our local London designers seem to be leading the fashion tech adoption, as we saw in our review of LC:M. The whole city is committed to championing our design talent, with exclusive show footage being shown via digital outdoor screens around London. As usual, Burberry was the one to watch for taking digital (and industry) initiatives, partnering with Apple to livestream their shoppable show and announcing that future collections will merge men’s and women’s wear as well as be immediately available for purchase – Tom Ford quickly followed suit. Surprisingly, we saw no digital or technological innovation in Milan – a sign that the city is behind the times?
In Paris, Balenciaga’s new creative director Demna Gvasalia (you may know him from cult label Vetements) made his mark and proved that although the Parisian shows were the last of the fashion month, they most certainly weren’t the least. He announced that the show would be livestreamed in virtual 360, available to any fashion junkie through a special app and a $15 Google Cardboard headset (or an alternative). This option allows viewers complete control over their angle and scrutiny of the designs – way better than your average livestream video. Our only complaint – Balenciaga doesn’t seem to be on board with the see-now-buy-now initiative that other fashion houses are embracing.
The industry is now asking, ‘Is virtual reality the future of the fashion show’? We say yes, yes it is.