SEE BENJAMIN JOHN HALL’S HI-TECH SHOE COLLECTION IN LONDON

SEE BENJAMIN JOHN HALL’S HI-TECH SHOE COLLECTION IN LONDON

Avant-garde international award winning footwear designer Benjamin John Hall is bringing back his newest work to London. Laboratory 12 is an experimental seven-piece collection of highly functional footwear involving 3-D printed components and embedded technology combined with artisanal shoemaking. With the help of his collaborators, Nanda Khaorapapong, Richard Beckett and Martyn Carter, from the fields of wearable computing, material science and 3-D printing, the shoes are operated wirelessly from afar to perform tasks such as detecting radiation, recording sound, releasing a gas and even remote ignition. The technology is covert and skilfully embedded inside each of the shoe’s designs, resulting in a complex yet seamless marriage of hand-made shoemaking and advanced technologies. How far should or would our government go to secure its best interests? Laboratory 12 takes its name from the secret poison laboratory of the KGB and was inspired primarily by the high profile assassination of Alexander Livinenko, who in 2006 was poisoned with the radioactive material Polonium. This led to the question: How far should or would our government go to secure its best interests? ‘We did deeper analysis of covert operational techniques used by security services to manipulate and control certain individuals. Many of the shoes were inspired by or reference these techniques,’ shared with us Hall. Each of the seven pairs of shoes highlights a specific notion or concept unearthed through extensive research into documented tactics used by various security agencies worldwide. For example, the Zersetzung platform sandals house a mechanism that can be activated by sending a text message to a defined phone number: the letter ‘x’ sets off an atomiser emanating a...
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...
INTERVIEW | KATE UNSWORTH, CEO, VINAYA

INTERVIEW | KATE UNSWORTH, CEO, VINAYA

Kate Unsworth needs no introduction to the fashion tech community. Since 2013, she has been using technology to help people find digital balance. Back then, under the name Kovert Designs, Unsworth and her team unveiled a smart connected jewelry, Altruis, which is undoubtedly created with the fashion-conscious crowd in mind. Last November, Kovert Desings rebranded to VINAYA and split the company into a Lab and a Studio. The researchers in the Lab look at academic papers and scientific articles, boil down the main findings and present them to the Studio product team, who use them as a guide for VINAYA’s upcoming products. And it looks like this approach has proven successful. When the startup announced the launch of its second product– the first emotion tracker – it smashed its crowdfunding goal of $100k in 41 hours. We sat down with Kate to hear more about the inspiration behind Zenta and trends in fashion, tech and wellbeing. What triggered the creation of Zenta? Our first product, Altruis, was all about using technology to help you silence the noise and still stay connected to the most important things and people in your life. A year in, we started digging deeper and asking “Why are we doing this? Why do we care about helping people disconnect from their phones?” What it really came down was emotional wellbeing. So, for the past 18 months we’ve been diving deeper into that and what we’ve created is the first emotion tracker that comes to market. It’s really cutting edge technology and the reason it doesn’t exist yet is because the technology hasn’t been advanced enough...
INTERVIEW | SAIF SIDDIQUI, FOUNDER, ISHU

INTERVIEW | SAIF SIDDIQUI, FOUNDER, ISHU

Ever wished that your friend, little brother, stranger wouldn’t take a picture of you? Bad hair day, hangover or just not feeling your best. Whatever the reason, sometimes we can’t control the digital content people put of us online. In a world where the choice to remain anonymous is no longer a choice, the ISHU scarf comes handy. Officially launched in October 2015, the product combines fashionable prints with technological functionality that black out the wearer. Think of it as an invisibility cloak. Whenever you don’t want your picture to be taken just wrap yourself with the ISHU and the final image will be just a black silhouette. Five months into the market and the ISHU has gathered a bunch of celebrity fans. Nick Jonas, Nina Dobrev, Cameron Diaz and Paris Hilton have already been spotted wearing it. We sat down with Saif Siddiqui, ISHU’s founder to chat fashion tech, privacy and entrepreneurship. Tell me about your background and how you started the ISHU? I came up with the concept six years ago. Within those six years, I joined IMG William Morris, where I worked for four and a half years and also started my own company – Access All Brands – an online product placement platform which helps brands reach celebrities and influencers. Five months ago I launched the first ISHU scarf. It’s an antiflash scarf, which means if someone takes a picture of you, your face blacks out so you don’t see anyone in the picture apart from the scarf. Do you have technological background? No, I have no professional background in anything that I’ve ever done....
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...