HOW TOPSHOP INJECTS TECH TO LEAD THE WAY IN HIGHSTREET RETAIL

HOW TOPSHOP INJECTS TECH TO LEAD THE WAY IN HIGHSTREET RETAIL

London Fashion Week is just around the corner and, if NYFW was anything to go by, this season’s fashion extravaganza will bring much more change than new prints and colour palettes. Tech has been increasingly present in headlines each fashion month and as the capital of both (fashion and tech), we expect London Fashion Week to have a trick or two up its sleeve. One of most prominent players in this interdisciplinary field is highstreet retailer Topshop. Fancy bodycon dresses and bleached denim shirts aside, the clothing giant is investing in some serious tech innovation. In 2014, when both the public and the industry were trying to get their head around virtual reality, Topshop was transporting consumers from its stores to the front row with Oculus Rift. Last year, the retailer partnered with Barclaycard for a line of stylish accessories such as phone cases, stickers and bracelets, which incorporated Barclaycard’s contactless payment technology and let users shop seamlessly in more than 300,000 locations across the UK. Later this year, a second, more luxurious line of the Topshop x bPay collection was unveiled. During the summer, the clothing giant also launched its first Top Pitch competition, encouraging designers and technologists to join its bootcamp programme and receive intensive coaching on how to bring their product to market as well as the chance to pitch to Topshop. The retailer recently announced the winner of the competition, Loomia (formerly The Crated) – a company focused on e-textiles and developing enabling technologies. The two parties will now work together on designing a prototype for a heated garment. Top Pitch makes the future of smart...
EVENT REPORT | FASHIONTECH AND THE USER EXPERIENCE

EVENT REPORT | FASHIONTECH AND THE USER EXPERIENCE

Image credit: Brooke Roberts Wearables London and INTERLACED came together this month to host an event exploring the intersection of fashion and technology to enhance user experiences. On Wednesday evening, we gathered in the stunning Kingsway Hall Hotel for an inspiring discussion on the latest in the fashiontech space. The event kicked off with Dr. Camille Baker, media artist, curator and researcher, focused on soft circuits, DIY electronics for smart garments and haptic interfaces for performance and mobile media. Baker went back some 15 years and shared some of her initial projects, as well as her latest work, which looks into ways in which performers can benefit from wearables. ‘Dancers are the hyper users of this technology,’ said the UCA reader. She referred to her MIND Touch project, which looked into new understandings of the sensations of ‘liveness’ and ‘presence’ that may emerge in participatory networked performance, using mobile phones and wearables. Another direction in which we can look at wearables is by fusing technology and biology, said Baker. As examples of this, she pointed to Giulia Tomasello’s Bioconductive Skin and Future Flora projects as well as the work of Anna Dumitriu and Kasia Molga. Next up, award-winning digital knitwear designer Brooke Roberts spoke about the need for us to see technology as an enabler and not the whole purpose of fashiontech products. Roberts, who has over a decade of experience as a diagnostic radiographer within the NHS, uses inspiration from scan images of the brain and sinuses to create knitwear using the latest digital knitting technology and yarns. This truly shows how fashion and technology can exist in...
ONE YEAR ON: THE PROGRESS OF GOOGLE JACQUARD AND LEVI’S

ONE YEAR ON: THE PROGRESS OF GOOGLE JACQUARD AND LEVI’S

Technology giant Google has come a long way in the realm of fashion tech. After learning the hard way that you can’t just collaborate with a designer once to give a tech invention trendy status, the company has devoted significant resources into getting right the blend of fashion and technology. A testament to that commitment was last year’s announcement of Project Jacquard in partnership with clothing company Levi’s. To recap, Project Jacquard makes it possible to weave touch and gesture interactivity into any textile using standard, industrial looms, thus enabling everyday objects such as clothes or furniture to be transformed into interactive surfaces. At its annual I/O conference last week, Google and Levi’s shared progress of the project and announced their first interactive item – the Levi’s Commuter x Jacquard by Google Trucker Jacket. “This is going to be absolutely game-changing for fashion design.” “I am so fascinated by this project, and I’m really excited to see what Google creates. Through the utilization of conductive threads, it will be possible to create textiles that can recognize computation interfaces, opening up countless opportunities for further development of fashion tech,” said fashion tech designer Alexis Walsh when we reached out for a comment on the project. “This is going to be absolutely game-changing for fashion design.”   HOW IT WORKS   The fabric includes conductive yarns, made of a combination of natural yarns and metallic alloys. The jacket includes a detachable smart tag, which makes it possible to function. While the tag needs to be removed to charge or when the wearer needs to wash the jacket, the actual fabric of...
EVENT REPORT | FASHTECH SUMMIT 2016

EVENT REPORT | FASHTECH SUMMIT 2016

Over the course of two days last week, Studio Spaces in London gathered more than 300 leaders in fashion, retail, beauty and technology for the first FashTech London Summit. The dynamic agenda, consisting of panel debates, keynote talks and a workshop, included topics authentic to the fashion industry. From luxury retail to e-commerce and new payment options, attendees heard from speakers at the forefront of change and the innovators leading the future of commerce. As official media partners, we bring you the key takeaways from the summit. Virtual & Augmented Reality – from catwalks to real shopping experiences Discussing some of the trends within fashion for 2016 and beyond, many speakers highlighted virtual reality as one to watch. While we’re still at very early stages when it comes to VR and the technology is mainly used to drum up a brand’s PR, there’s a real possibility for virtual reality to revolutionlise the retail space. Henry Stuart, chief executive at Visualise, suggested that retailers could use such technology to create better shopping experiences. What’s more, he spoke about the idea of using VR to shop for products in virtual outlets exclusively for our virtual worlds. However, before the above comes true we need to make the headsets look good and fit enough for people to wear them outside their homes. “You shouldn’t be embarrassed to wear VR headsets in public”, said Stuart. The same goes for AR (augmented reality) – “Because of the speedy rise and fall of Google Glass, augmented reality is famously unfashionable but it’s one of the technologies that will come back in a big way”. Look...
INTERLACED: HOW TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING FASHION

INTERLACED: HOW TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING FASHION

If smart garments, environmentally reactive dresses and digital skins sound like a far-fetched future of fashion to some, technology’s role for the changing face of the industry today is undeniable. From the rise (and rise) of fashion bloggers, to decoding data for better customer experiences and the democratization of the catwalks, we looked at the way technology has already impacted fashion. The panel, chaired by INTERLACED’s Kristina Dimitrova, included Villy Devlioti (Account Manager, CULT LDN), Anton Dvorakovsky (Founder & Editor, Style Division), and Ivailo Jordanov (Founder & Head of Product, Styloko). The panel kicked off discussing the role of style bloggers in the fashion world. While years ago fashion weeks were only accessible for the selected few media and industry buyers, now an influx of bloggers are taking the front row seats, opening the catwalks for their readers and even becoming brands in their own right. On the other hand, the fashion blogging field has become so saturated that some have declared it dying. “I remember when the first blogging wave started 10 years ago, with Style Rockie – the 11-year old, who suddenly opened all the doors around the globe to join highly exclusively fashion shows,” said Villy Devlioti, explaining that this whole digital wave has brought democratisation to the fashion world. She also referred to Burberry’s use of Periscope as an example of how brands are actively choosing to open their shows to the world. “It’s not only about keeping exclusivity but also broadcasting to your niche and opening up to new demographics. I think we’re going to see both fashion bloggers and brands diversify in terms...