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...
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...
INTERLACED: RETAIL CHANNELS FOR FASHIONTECH

INTERLACED: RETAIL CHANNELS FOR FASHIONTECH

Price and distribution are one of the main challenges for mass adoption and awareness of the notion of fashiontech. It’s difficult for the average consumer to find these types of products online unless they’re specifically searching for them and if they’re sold in brick and mortar stores, the price increases significantly. At INTERLACED 2015, we discussed how to get the balance between online and offline right, successful retail channels and winning strategies to attract consumer interest. The panel, chaired by INTERLACED’s Kristina Dimitrova, included Sabrina Faramarzi (Trend Researcher, Portland Design), Saverio Romeo (Principal Analyst, Beecham Research), Jennytha Raj (Founder & CEO, Teqtique) and Miranda Davis (Creative Producer, MIMIRA) The session started by discussing if, as outlined by a report from Vista Retail Support, wearable tech will become an integral part of retail in the next 2-5 years. This doesn’t refer to people expecting to see wearables sold in stores but to use them to navigate around retail spaces. “We can use this technology to engage with customers and facilitate better experiences,” said Saverio Romeo, giving as example Virgin Atlantic’s use of Google Glass to deliver the industry’s most high tech and personalised customer service yet. Certainly, such technological evolution has an effect on consumption. “While consumers are more informed now than ever before this also applies for the retailers, which can give them much more refined understanding of the consumption behavior of the individual,” said Romeo. “This can in turn guide anything, from store design, marketing, and promotion strategies.” While consumers are more informed now than ever before this also applies for the retailers, which can give them much...
INTERLACED: DISRUPTION IN THE LUXURY RETAIL SPACE

INTERLACED: DISRUPTION IN THE LUXURY RETAIL SPACE

While in recent years the pairing of the terms fashion and technology has been making waves and we’ve started to see more brands and retailers catching up on the movement, it seems that luxury has been one are in fashion which has consistently refused to warm up to tech. It was only in 2015 that the powerhouse Chanel embraced ecommerce while the likes of ASOS and Net-A-Porter had already established themselves as leaders in the online retail space. At INTERLACED 2015, we invited technology and retail expert Jonathan Chippindale, CEO of Holition to talk about disruption in retail in the luxury space. Looking at the broader picture first, Jonathan highlighted the power of technology companies and entrepreneurs to solve global issues, even more successfully than governments today. “The solutions of the really big issues facing us today are things that would have been done by governments ten years ago but are now done by technologists. Technology can has this incredible power of punching through barriers of geography, time, race, colour, gender, in bringing the world together in a way that our fathers and grandfathers would never imagine possible.” The effect of digital in every aspect of our lives is undisputed, but while some industries embrace it, luxury has been consistently refusing to experiment with tech. In his talk, Jonathan explained how rather than fearing technology, luxury clients can use it to their advantage.   CREATE THE INFINITE LOOP Today brands need to constantly engage in conversations and on-going communication with consumers. This is particularly true for premium retail brands and can be used powerfully to influence consumer choice. Burberry...