LONDON @COACHELLA – TECH AND FASHION UPDATE

From pixelated sandals to 3D glasses, there’s no escape: the Coachella fever has hit FashTech. This week’s [retail bytes] rounds up the festival’s hottest trends for all of us who couldn’t make it to Cali this year – and rather experienced the festival from the comfort of our ‘couchella’. 

 The Matrix calling: The festival season kicked off with Coachella in sunny California, breaking records with their ticket sales as millennials crave an off-line get-together in a nostalgic Woodstock 2.0. This year was more of a ‘couchella’ version for all those who stayed home – or rather those lucky ones with VR headsets – thanks to the team at Vantage.tv, who made all the festival fun accessible from the comfort of your sofa. If you actually made it to the festival, there was no need to leave your tent as all ticket holders got personal cardboard VR headsets so they could follow the acts virtually. You might be able to leave your tech at home but at today’s festivals there’s no chance of unplugging from the matrix.

iSandals are a go-go: Festivals, particularly those in sunny places, are now taking over from catwalks as locations for the new season fashion launches. Coachella and SXSW are becoming the hotspots where the tone is set for your summer key looks. London brands made their presence felt at Coachella with Hackney-based EEight by Miista.com, with their black vegan leather sandals: those pixel-like, digital-looking wrap of multicoloured crystals definitely look like a digital soft screen. Will the next version of the shoe have an interactive screen on them, to check your Whatsapp messages without having to reach out for your phone? The future of footwear lies in “connected sandals” – you read it here first! Get the tech shoes of your dreams here.

Nitrogen magic: Not satisfied with becoming the fashion high point of the year, Coachella is also a testing ground for new food concepts. Our favourite was Smitten Ice Cream, whose founder has bagged a patented nitrogen-enabled ice cream machine that can produce fresh ice cream on the spot. Much better than the Red Bun burger, which just looks like someone had a mishap with food dye. Naturally, expect both in Shoreditch soon.

What happens at the festival stays at the festival: As Whatsapp and Viber are offering end-to-end encryption, the need to protect their digital privacy has driven the return of the Polaroid for festival goers. Millennials are more aware of the need to protect their private data and photos, so the hit around this year festivals is Instax, an adapted piece of old-tech in a new bottle, which found its new audience in privacy-savvy youngsters. Instagram is still going strong (1,789,664 posts after the first weekend), but for many visitors – particularly celebs – some pictures are best kept in a non-digital version. Wise.

Shepherd’s Bush 3D printed A-frames: Sunglasses tech is also making a mark and European frames were seen hanging off Coachella visitors’ trendy noses. The best came from Dutch optician-rebel Carl Kramp, a small shop hidden in a quiet leafy street near the Maastricht canal, which offers a real treat for stylish glasses-wearers who are after something really special. Ron Arad, the hipster-in-chief of design, has created an A-frame, where the A-shaped nose bridge lets the wearer adjust the two lenses so they are closer or further apart, giving you 100% perfect fit. 3D Systems are sponsoring the collection, giving Ron the freedom to spread his innovative design wings and explore the glasses in a way that not many have dared to before. With names like ChigWell and Shepherd’s Bush, those ARE the glasses you are looking for…

Dream bra in glitch print from RubyMoon: This week we’re supporting a fundraising effort by our friends at fitness lingerie start-up RubyMoon – it’s for an all-in-one bra that can be worn to work, to the swimming pool and the gym. Fed up with having to change your bra for every occasion? So was Jo Godden, previously a designer for Victoria’s Secret swimwear, who’s developed a bra suitable for all-day wear. Yes, it is possible! The bra is made of fabric coming from waste fibres of fishing net production, in order to save on carbon footprint. The product scores high on sustainability AND fashionability, as Jo’s gorgeous glitch prints are also an option. Donate now and be part of this exciting product development! Less is more in the future of fashion, and RubyMoon are the team to back now.