IT’S ALL ABOUT TECH, POP-UPS AND OPEN LABS

Despite the changeable weather, our calendar tells us that summer 2016 is here, and nothing screams that more than al fresco Italian pop-ups, fabulous sandals and that always necessary bit of tech.

 Hurrah – no more typing on mobile! The lucky trade buyers of House of Holland were treated to a preview of the upcoming e-commerce app during their London Collection: Men show. The new “See It, Buy It” app was developed with Blippar and Visa, and uses image recognition capabilities to identify the clothes from the catwalk and match them to the online webshop ones. If you fell in love with one of the pieces shown on the catwalk you just opened the app, pointed your phone at the selected top or jacket and your phone would find the right product from the webshop simply by image recognition. No typing and damaging your eyes by searching for entry fields on tiny mobile screens! Trade buyers got their selection free but us, mere journalists, had to pay with a pre-registered debit card. Creepy? Yeah, but it beats typing! We also had some fun with the TryItOn function on the website, which invites buyers to create their own avatars then drape the items on the Virtual You – it still has a way to go to be showing the actual fit, but it’s worth checking out. The clothes are definitely worth it!

Fashion, with a sip of birra: The fashion fun continues post-LC:M shows. Summer is here and it’s good to see the Queen of Design, Margherita Missoni, leading the new House of Peroni pop-up in east London. Showcasing all things Italian, including an innovative way of mixing high-tech cocktails with just a touch of Peroni Nastro Azzuro, the brand’s eclectic content is served with some colourful Italian food and will attract fans from far beyond Haggerston. As permanent stores retreat from the high street, the future is in event-style pop-ups like the curated Peroni Amare L’Italia experience. Although we are purists when it comes to our birra, the House of Peroni recipes for cunning cocktails from Italy’s leading mixologists may just test our resilience. Book tickets on their official website.

Mad shoes, pink bikes and neon unicorns: More pop-ups emerging in Shoreditch, where lovers of bikes and shoes unite and where the team from maddeningly marvellous Miista.com footwear is launching their first showcase of the diffusion line Eeight. A colourful bike with a unicorn-shape neon light at the front signals the entrance to the pop-up, where Eeight (aimed at a younger shoe-loving tribe) is entertaining hip crowds till the end of June. The launch was announced with a timed Twitter offer that started at midday with a celebration discount which rapidly diminished as the day wore off, ending up with full price at the end for the latecomers. First-come first-served? Check out Eeight at Boxpark: their shoes are to-die-for.

(Ethically) transparent yoga pants: Across the pond Lululemon, the purveyor of luxury yoga pants (yes they exist), are showing that they are not just an overpriced form-over-content gym gear retailer. The Canadian yoga athleisure giant is throwing its considerable weight beyond transparent and ethical fashion, creating an open plan lab near The Bowery, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Fans can even peek into designer space in the back where the new samples are made. Of course the mass production is still hidden from the prying eyes someplace deep in Asia, but it is a first step.

Japanese-chic workshops: One luxury fashion brand that goes beyond paying lip service to ethical work practices is Obataimu.com – which literally means ‘overtime’ in Japan. Borne out of fascination with the Japanese worship of individual obsessions (don’t ask), Obataimu is based in Bombay and their elegant shop also hosts a remarkably transparent workshop. A lead sewing master passes on his knowledge to the young trainees, all under the watchful eye of online customers who can view the daily life of the workshop over the camera. Check out the latest high-tech loungewear on their homepage, inspired by an innovative Japanese fabric treatment that makes the material feel as soft as a second skin.

Call to arms: Don’t forget to vote on June 23rd – whatever your views, remember that UK fashion needs the European markets as 90% of UK designers export the bulk of their collections to the European Union. The EU is our biggest market by far and one that will be impossible to replace. Voice your support for fashion in the UK and choose to stay IN. Love and Euro-kisses to all!