Forever 21 launches AI visual search tool

How about if you could search on specific features you’re looking fo in a piece of clothing, instead of just browsing endless amounts of items until you find what you’re looking for? Fast fashion brand Forever 21 just launched a visual search tool for online shopping, that helps with that. In their feature ”Discover your style”, shoppers can click on features such as sleeve, neckline and cut and under each category find images of the different features instead of text. In other words, you don’t have to know the correct term for feature you’re looking for, you just have to know what it looks like.
The company hopes that this will help shoppers with their more subtle likes and dislikes, and also remove language barriers for shoppers.
Above all, I think it will save shoppers valuable time, not having to browse through the enormous range of products within each category, that fast fashion brands are associated with.
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The Wardrobe of the future to showcase in Munich

Forget next season. The future is the thing to look for in fashion right now. Starting on September 4th, Munich Fabric House and fashion tech magazine FashNerd are collaborating on an exhibition/experience that will focus on the fashion of the future. Designed as a bespoke walk in-closet, the event will showcase a lineup of fashion tech brands such as Wearable X, Lorna & Bel, Thesis Couture, Emel + Aris and Pyrates that demonstrate the potential and advantages of fashion tech.
In a press release about the event, Lorna, the founder of Lorna & Bel said:
”We see the fashion space as having limitless potential for all kinds of tech integration, big and small, especially with technology being so central to our lives. It is exciting to see brands integrating technology into fashion in fresh and innovative ways. The Wardrobe of the Future gives us a peek into how our wardrobes will evolve. It shows how fashion can put technology to work to give us performance-driven products that make our lives a little easier while still speaking the language of style.”
The event will go on until September 6th.
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Lorna & Bel, bags with built in phone chargers.

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Smart fabric clothing from Pyrates.

Amazon 3D scanning trial points towards future virtual try-on service

Last October, Amazon bought 3D model company Body Labs, their first step towards creating a virtual try-on service for clothes.
Now Amazon are inviting people to have their bodies scanned at their New York office, The Wall Street Journal reports. The participants are being asked to return every two weeks to have their bodies scanned over a total of 20 weeks. They also need to answer questions about fitness, health and weight-related loss and goals, in order for Amazon to understand how bodies shape over time.
In January , the tech giant patented a blended reality mirror that lets you that lets you try on clothes virtually, a step up from their style assistant Echo Look Camera, released a year ago.
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Body Labs 3D Scan

New head of research group to lead the development of new sustainable materials

Radical thinking is needed when it comes to investing in new materials. And that is what The Burberry Foundation and The Royal College of Art is hoping that Professor Sharon Baurley, their newly appointed Professor of Design and Materials, and Chair of the Burberry Material Futures Research Group, will bring. As FashNerd reports, she will now play a key role in applying radical thinking to invent new sustainable materials. Baurley has a long track record as Head of Design in several institutions, as well as consultations and industry collaborations on research.
The RCA was awarded 3 million pounds last year by The Burberry Foundation to form The Burberry Material Futures Research Group.

Stella McCartney and Bolt Threads launch bag made of mushroom leather

We have known for a while that british designer Stella McCartney has partnered up with biotech startup Bolt Threads. In 2017 they launched their first collaboration together, a spider silk dress that was showcased at MoMa in NYC.
Now they’re launching their second product together: McCartneys iconic Falabella bag, in the mushroom leather material Mylo, The Current Daily reports. The material is made out of mushroom mycelium cells, that has been grown in beds of corn stalks and other nutrition and self-assembled into a leather-like material.
– Once you take that technology and innovation and you marry it with luxury fashion and design and creativity, there’s no end to what magical madness you can create, Stella McCartney has told Forbes.
There are no plans as of yet to put this bag up for sale. But if you want to see it in real life, head out to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London where it will be displayed in the exhibition ”Fashioned by nature” from April 21.
Bolt Threads will also release their own version of the Mylo bag, available for preorder i June. With this project, Bolt Threads are moving in to new biotech territory. The company has so far been known for its manmade spider silk material Microsilk.
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The Stella McCartney + Bolt Threads Falabella Bag in Mylo leather.

Consumers: give us AR tools for online shopping!

Are consumers warming up to the idea of virtually enhancing their online shopping? So it seems, according to a new report from e-commerce agency PushOn, The Current Daily reports.
According to the study, 45 percent of consumers would spend more money online if they had access to technology to help them visualize what they’re buying, while more than half (52 %) think that retailers should invest in technology for creating a seamless link between in-store and online shopping.
40 percent of the surveyed shoppers, would also specifically like to use some kind of Augmented Reality solution to try out what they’re buying beforehand.
Zara, Ikea, Google and Apple have all begun to invest in these technologies, and it seems it was right on time.

Swedish Neue Labs go to NYC to teach students about fashion tech

Fun news dropped in this Friday. Swedish fashion tech company Neue Labs is holding an exclusive fashion course at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City this spring. During this course seven students at FIT will get to study how tech and fashion can merge. Over three months the students will develop at least three advanced fashion tech products, focusing on how tech can be implemented in clothing and add more levels of communication to digital services and business models.
Joining Neue in NYC are their partners Swedish Fashion Council and brands Ann-Sofie Back and POC. Should be really interesting to see what this results in over the next couple of months.
Meanwhile, innovative fashion tech pioneer Hussein Chalayan is visiting Sweden and Textilhögskolan in Borås for an inspirational lecture on Thursday. His work was actually my first introduction to fashion tech back in 2008, so naturally I’m planning to be there.  Stay tuned for reports!
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Photo. Screenshot from LinkedIn.