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...
SARTORIAL BRINGS TOGETHER DIGITAL ART, FASHION, SOUND AND TECHNOLOGY

SARTORIAL BRINGS TOGETHER DIGITAL ART, FASHION, SOUND AND TECHNOLOGY

Aussies, listen up. dLux Media Arts is organising a unique spectacle of the senses this September. The organization, which supports cultural vibrancy, will take part in Sydney’s Fringe Festival with a one-night event showcasing some of Australia’s leading artists and designers in the fields of fashion, technology, digital, industrial art and sound engineering. sARTorial, as the event is called, will be part fashion show, part exhibition, exploring the potential of merging fashion with cutting-edge interactive art and electronics. The event invites fashion designers, media artists, makers, geeks and technophiles to meet up, experiment and share their visions for the future. This year’s sARTorial will revolve around four sensory elements – light, sounds, movement and touch. Drawing on these elements, the artists and designers will create one-off wearable pieces using the latest techniques and design technologies to produce interactive wearable artworks. sARTorial’s 2016 ambassador is designer and artist Erica Gray, who is recognized as one of the leading figures in the field of wearable art, with her sculptural creations winning awards both in Australia and at New Zealand’s internationally acclaimed World of WearableArt (WOW). The even hints at the future of dLux and aims to create experiences that generate a deeper understanding of art and technology for stronger and healthier communities. Make sure to grab your tickets for sARTorial here. To keep up-to-date with our activities and upcoming events, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or sign up for our newsletter....
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...
THE CRATED CREATES SLEEK ENTERPRISE WEARABLE

THE CRATED CREATES SLEEK ENTERPRISE WEARABLE

Before smartwatches and fitness trackers hit the consumer market, the investments in wearable technology came mainly from the military, enterprise and medical industries. Why? Well.. while fitness buffs use these devices to track and boast about their workouts, the use cases in business settings can be far more valuable. For example, emergency workers and medical personnel could use wearables to get vital data at a moment’s notice or alerts around safety and security. Because of their purpose, the focus on enterprise wearables can be much more function than design but we are happy to see that this is starting to change. At The Next Web conference in Amsterdam, INTERLACED friends THE CRATED unveiled a sleek and functional safety wearable prototype for the enterprise. The Armor vest, as it is called, responds to a worker’s heat, stress levels and posture, using printed circuitry on fabric. The piece is a new type of smart apparel designed to monitor harmful working conditions that one may face during the day, such as bodily stress, extreme temperatures and compromising postures. THE CRATED collaborated with another New York startup, Strong Arm Technologies, and smart clothes platform Bon Bouton to create the prototype. Using a printed graphene temperature sensor by Bon Bouton and taking inspiration from StrongArm’s deep understanding and connection to the safety of active workers (who they call Industrial Athletes), The Crated designed and fabricated Armor using their own textile circuitry technology, INTELLITEX. The Circuit was printed onto fabric using custom formulas and machinery built by THE CRATED. This device can be housed in any apparel exterior. In industry, the circuit would likely be...
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...