How does Augmented Reality influence fashion?
Augmented and virtual reality had an aura of science fiction and fantasy until not too long ago. But ever since Pokemon Go appeared, augmented reality gained a lot of mass appeal. It became a very exciting but easily accessible aspect of technology merging with everyday life, altering communication between different individuals, groups and classes in a playful and entertaining way. The question is: Which aspects of life will be altered by augmented reality next? Let’s see what’s been happening in fashion in this context:
Influencing fashion design through augmented reality works two ways these days. It’s either about creating an additional layer of design on top of the analogue world, which can then be viewed through specific devices or even with the naked eye. Or it’s about entering virtual reality with headsets to create design mock-ups in 3D, and to test ideas which might make the transition from the virtual to the real world afterwards. Implementations range from pure art projects which are more about storytelling, to actual ways of creating designs which would go into production right after their creation in virtual space.
Apparel by NORMALS is an art project which allows you to display your social media presence (only Twitter so far) as a virtual design on your actual clothing. The idea of NORMALS is that your social media profiles will be as important for your status as clothing used to be in the past. So why not give your social media achievements a shape and form, and add them to the way you look? So far, this experimental idea works best on the test garment displayed on the project’s website, but that doesn’t diminish the idea nor the implementation. Download the app and connect it to your twitter account to check it out.
So how does it work the other way around? How do we get that extra layer of design into the real world? Ishikawa Watanabe Laboratory created a high speed projector called DynaFlash which allows projections on to moving, deformed non-rigid surfaces. Translated into non-scientific language, this could be something like fabric. Here is a wonderful example from the labs:
Our very own finalists Mimeme are working on a smart service connected to wearable pieces with visual markings. These markings will serve as placeholders for elements, forms and models that are projected digitally onto the body. This kind of virtual clothing will allow users to wear fashions that they do not physically own or that do not exist in the real world. This way wearers can play with their identity much more freely than with conventional analogue clothing. The virtual clothing will be viewable in real time through end devices such as augmented reality glasses or smartphones. The results will be presented at the end of this seasons Fashion Fusion contest. But right here and right now, we have some exclusive first impression showing their amazing work in progress:
Retails is another area in which to make use of augmented reality in fashion. A prominent idea is to create mirrors in which you can virtually try on the merchandise before choosing a piece and actually holding it in your hands. This is one example:
But this new approach to trying something on doesn’t necessarily require a mirror. Already in 2014 LCST created an app which lets you see your feet through the lens of your smart phone with different kind of shoes layered onto them. But as this sub-brand doesn’t seem to be around any longer, this tool is lost to the world.
At Covent Garden however, Christmas 2016 will be celebrated under the star of augmented reality. Together with the company Blippar, the traditional shopping area in London created a 360° shopping experience which can be accessed with any smartphone. Its set up like a treasure hunt for Santa’s reindeer, including the largest digital reindeer ever, and with its more than 140 stores participating it is also the largest bricks and clicks collaboration so far.
Augmented reality in fashion is still in the fledgeling stages. But we can be sure that the next few years will bring a variety of exciting new experiences and possibilities. We all will be part of it, influence it and make sure it will be meaningful and appealing. No matter if we act as consumers, designers or critics.
Keywords: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 3D design, Pokémon Go, Art Project, Retail Project, Virtual Layering, Virtual Design