London Fashion Week came and went and while its tech affair wasn’t as evident as the catwalks in New York, designers, influencers and editors were certainly exploring fashion’s relationship with technology in interesting ways.
Remember when Visa partnered with a number of international designers to launch 100 beautiful card designs? That’s so 2008. This year, Visa is taking it to the next level by partnering with Henry Holland for a new smart ring that double up as a credit card, letting people to buy pieces straight from the catwalk. The collaboration between House of Holland and Visa Europe Collab (Visa’s Innovation Lab) saw the creation of a beautiful bug-shaped fashion tech jewellery, in sync with House of Holland’s SS16 tropical designs. These rings were sent to 10 VIPs before the show, pre-paid with £500.
And here’s how it worked: at the HoH catwalk show, the designs that were available to buy with the wearable tech piece were marked with NFC-enabled brooch. The ring owners could then pick their favourite, walk up to the model and touch their ring to the brooch. Using Bluetooth, the ring was connected to Visa’s payment network enabling cashless payment. Once touched with the ring the brooches lighted up to signal that the purchase have been made successfully. The clothes were then bagged and ready backstage for their new owners.
The whole thing was done in just 100 days as proof of concept but both Henry Holland and Visa are working to make the contactless retail experience dream a reality.
Fashion tech taking over street style
One of the reasons why INTERLACED was set us is to show that fashion tech pieces are not only limited to the catwalks. If you’ve been following us you should know that we partnered with many fashion and style influencers to communicate the notion of fashion tech to their readers. Some of them even became models on our fashion tech catwalk show, part of INTERLACED 2015 (see pics here).
Couple of months ago we introduced fashion blogger Whitney Valverde to the lovely team from CuteCircuit as Whitney walked the INTERLACED runway in a CuteCircuit gown. We are so excited to see that this collaboration is extending beyond the catwalk and onto the streets of London!
For the first day of LFW, Whitney wore another CuteCircuit outfit – the anti-paparazzi fringed skirt and jacket with turquoise anti UV fast-dry bodysuit. The outfit responds to flashes, thanks to its innovative fabric. When someone tries to take a picture of the wearer, the outfit outfit flashes away so that only the clothes are seen and the wearer’s face is hidden.
We also saw Whitney rocking another fashion tech piece – the stunning Gianoi bags that combine Italian craftsmanship and innovative technology for the modern always-on, always-connected women who don’t compromise style for functionality.
It is truly exciting to see fashion technology outfits and accessories taking over street style. We are hoping to see many more examples like these next season!
New gen designers
Even among iconic fashion designers staging lavish catwalk shows the emerging talent didn’t go unnoticed at LFW. Someone who particularly caught our eye is Min Wu. The womenswear designer made her official London Fashion Week debut with her SS16 collection and digital screening of her fashion film ‘Adjusting/Healing’. Directed by Davis Richardson, Wu’s film took us into a futuristic journey of self-discovery and recovery.
Evidently from her presentation, this season Wu pays particular attention to fabrics and textures with pop of colour, creating clean sophisticated lines. She continues to explore the original beauty that is born from the deliberate combination of functional materials with an emphasis on technology and the reflection of this in the world today.
Sky high heels
Just on time for LFW, United Nude’s touring exhibition Re-inventing Shoes hit London. This one is actually part of London Design Festival (also happening this month). Hosted in their flagship store on 13 Floral Street in Covent Garden, anyone has the chance to see the five bespoke pairs of 3D printed shoes, made in collaboration between United Nude, 3D Systems and five leading architects and designers.
The selected architects and designers, who each worked on a single pair, are Ben van Berkel (UNStudio), ZahaHadid, Ross Lovegrove, Fernando Romero and Michael Young. The Re-Inventing Shoes project is about exploring and pushing the boundaries of this rapidly developing technology by creating shoes with the largest amount of sculptural freedom. The production method used is the highest quality of 3D printing (Selective Laser Sintering) in a hard Nylon and all-new soft Rubber material.
United Nude have developed a system to combine harder and softer 3D printed parts for creating fully functioning shoes. Each shoe will be produced as a limited edition run of only 50 pairs.
The exhibition is in London until 27th September.
It’s not all hype around tech. While during New York Fashion Week we saw many designers championing technology and its empowering capabilities, in London the craze over tech was also challenged and questioned. This was particularly evident at Claire Barrow’s presentation.
Combining her signature hand painted illustrations and unique approach to construction, the designer’s inspiration for her SS16 collection was the dystopian post-tech future where technology has broken down in a society that has been relying on it for too long.
Titled ‘Broken Machines’, the presentation explored what happens when tech doesn’t exist any more, with models looking like they’ve caught the Dismaland bug. Raw, uneasy and undoubtedly thought-provoking.
Images belong to their respective owners.