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The Perfect Couple

Published by Hannah Mason on 2-May-2013 Industry, Fashion
Tags: technology, showstudio, alexander wang, , samsung

We’ve seen SHOWstudio and Alexander McQueen do it. Now Topshop has done the same with Google. Have digital collaborations become the future of fashion?

2010 saw Burberry become the first to live stream in 3D, suddenly fashion lovers across the globe could all be on the front row of fashion weeks while really being in their pyjamas. This is a trend that hasn’t slowed with the majority of shows now streamed live online and I am among one of the thousands who curled up to watch the latest A/W 13 collections from the comfort of my own sofa, cup of tea in hand; you don’t even have to be there to experience the collections in real time anymore. Fashion and Technology are the perfect couple.

A new era has been born, meaning that the latest designer innovations are instantly there for the consumption of millions via the web. Technology and fashion have gone hand in hand for a long time, we have witnessed Hussein Chalayan’s unbelievable creations that change shape and light their own runways with built in LED’s, Tim Jockel’s 2011 work presented us with three dimensional hologram catwalk shows, and no one can forget SHOWstudio’s own Nick Knight’s work with Alexander McQueen. We are seeing things that no one would have thought possible thanks to the fact that fashion now goes hand in hand with technology. Our world is digital so it is no wonder that now so is fashion.

We live off of a diet of Twitter feeds, YouTube videos and have an app for absolutely everything, so it is no wonder that labels are now tuning into our new online behaviour to get a better grasp on what their target market desires. Social media has fuelled the public’s appetite for instant images of the latest trends, we are in a time where bloggers fill front rows, fashion brands are teaming up with digital wizards to utilise technology in new ways and reap the benefits.

High Street giant Topshop are the latest to try this. Their new Be the Buyer app, launched alongside their collaborative show with Google in February of this year, which saw their London Fashion Week show streamed live via Topshop.com and their own YouTube channel, Topshop TV. All products featured in the show from garments to nail varnishes and even the music was available to buy instantly. It was a show unlike any other and the app is no different. Designed to put the customer in the role of a buyer, they can choose looks for the catwalk, note their favourites and share them with others, Topshop can then gather information on what colours people are sharing the most, which styles seem most popular and to evaluate buying habits, informing their in store buying choices and future designs. This collaboration has opened up a new level of interactivity within fashion, benefiting both brand and customer.

Topshop’s groundbreaking show also saw the birth of the Model Cam; models such as Cara Delevingne and Jourdan Dunn carried Topshop handbags and wore clothing fitted with hidden cameras that fed live ‘models eye view’ footage to viewers worldwide. Thanks to technology the public can now not only see what it’s like to be front row but can actually experience what it is like to walk in a show.

Social media has taken the catwalk to another level with live show streaming and a substantial growth in blogger culture, everyone can consume the fashion that was once only available to the privileged few.
The future of fashion without a doubt is going to be overflowing with digital collaborations; this year sees the exciting combination of Alexander Wang and Samsung. A pairing which sees doodles and patterns sent in via smartphones become part of Alexander Wang prints. Samsung are not new to this collaboration game, they worked with designer Zac Posen in 2012 to create a viral video advertising their new tablet featuring Posen using the new technology to aid his designs, similar to the press released image seen above of Wang on this latest project.  Again the relationship and interactivity between brand and consumer is evolving and going from strength to strength thanks to this partnership.

Fashion and technology are now interchangeable, with innovations in each pushing the other forward. So yes, this is the future. I can’t see these amazing collaborations coming to an end and why would we want them to?
There is now constant innovations in technology, for example take the newly released Google Glass, which crashed into our lives last year as part of Diane Von Furstenberg’s September 2012 show. The glasses, worn during the show took photographs from the models point of view. Google Glass is the type of thing previously only predicted in science fiction films but it is now, like many other fresh innovations, becoming part of our everyday lives. If revolutionary inventions like this are already a reality then surely the best is yet to come (?).

I grew up when black and white mobile phones were utterly amazing, and that was only ten years ago. Today we have so many more options; so much technology available that it is no wonder that fashion is using this to its advantage. Technology has proved itself to empower creativity so the limits are endless.

The digital fashion age is here, we are in a time where lines between fashion and technology are blurring. The growth in partnerships between digital brands and creatives to me means only one thing for fashion; an exciting, interactive future is secured.

It’s a match made in heaven.

A fashion communicator who strives to innovate and inspire through fashion design and journalism, Hannah is studying Fashion (Concept and Communication) at Leeds College of Art.

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