THE TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION SERIES: AN INTRODUCTION

I’m so excited to introduce my latest series- Technology and Innovation. For my last year at uni, I quickly fell in love with how technology is being used in fashion. My dissertation was all about immersive technology such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) and it’s impact on the fashion industry. With new technologies constantly emerging, the future of fashion is changing and brands are finding new ways to create unique and personalised experiences for consumers. We are definitely going to see more digital innovations in the next few years.

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The introduction of digital innovations is largely due to consumers wanting an experience while they shop. With the rise of online shopping, consumers are becoming bored of traditional brick and mortar stores. As such, brands are beginning to adapt, introducing innovations such as virtual try on/virtual changing rooms, virtual shops and showrooms, and digital clothing to draw consumers back to stores. Trend forecasting agency WGSN predicts that ‘phygital design’ will be a key fashion trend of the 2020s, blending digital innovations with the physical touch and feel of a product.

Luxury fashion brand Dior was among the first to use these technologies, introducing a VR headset called ‘Dior Eyes’. This headset allowed consumers to see the backstage preparations fo a Dior fashion show, showing stylists, makeup artists and models getting ready. Tommy Hilfiger in 2015 and Coach in 2017, have also used VR headsets to give consumers the experience of seeing a fashion show in their stores.

Brands such as Rebecca Minkoff, Charlotte Tilbury and Burberry have previously made use of immersive technology with the use of ‘magic mirrors’ that allow consumers to virtually try on clothes and makeup in their stores. According to an article by Vogue Business, these brands already using virtual changing rooms, are seeing an increase in the value of orders placed, up 400% from 2019.

An innovative method that is also becoming popular among brands is pop-up stores. These types of stores are often only for a limited time, so brands have to be really considerate of how they want to be perceived from the pop-up shop. It is a chance for brands to show their creativity and that they can be unique.

For example, Glossier’s ‘Summer Fridays Showroom’ pop-up in a Manhattan penthouse, was designed like the brand’s Instagram feed. The founder of Glossier said “It’s not really just a store, it’s almost like this is a giant mood board for the company we’re hoping to build”. The pop-up store was so successful that they have created multiple pop-up shops across the globe. Their most successful one to date is in Covent Garden in London, which had over 100k visitors. Due to this, the company decided to keep the pop-up open throughout 2020.

If there is anything in particular you want to see in this series, please let me know in the comments. I can’t wait to explore the future of the fashion and the latest innovations for the fashion industry.