Zara goes AR in their window displays

Starting in April, clothing chain Zara will introduce AR in their window displays. The move is said to be a way of attracting millennials who tend to prefer online alternatives such as Amazon to physical stores, according to Reuters.
So how will this AR installation work exactly? Well, when holding a mobile phone to a sensor in the window (or inside the store), customers will be able to see models wearing different looks, and also click to buy what they want.
The AR displays will be introduced in 120 Zara stores all over the world, from April 18.


SXSW 2018: L’Oreal showcased beauty tech service

Speaking about L’Oreal – the company actually showcased one of their existing beauty tech services at SXSW the other day.  A couple of years ago, their Innovation Lab developed a dispenser using artificial intelligence to mix foundation specifically adapted to the user’s skin. What it does, is that it collects data from three points in the users face and this data is picked up by an algorithm that identifies the levels of cyan, magenta and yellow in the customer’s skin.
The company actually debuted this tech exclusively at store chain Nordstrom in 2016, but according to Decoded Fashion it is still the most advanced innovation out there as of yet.
And foundation shades continue to remain a hard nut to crack for consumers. Although many brands provide a much wider range of shades these days, it can still be tricky to find the absolute right shade for your individual skin tone.
So I imagine that using data to come to terms with this might be worth quite a lot.

L’Oreal acquires digital beauty app ModiFace

The French cosmetics giant L’Oreal takes another step towards the digital beauty market. Today they announced that they’re buying Canadian beauty tech company ModiFace, Business of Fashion reports. ModiFace, with its almost 70 engineers, researchers and scientists employed, specializes in artificial intelligence. So far they have released several beauty apps for makeup tryout, real time video retouch and such. L’Oreal on their part, have been developing services like sensory brushes telling you how to care for your hair. So this is likely a perfect match.


ModiFace 2

Feature from ModiFace Virtual Makeover app.


Fashion tech events to check out this spring

There’s an ever present need to discuss how fashion and tech is going to make use of each other and evolve together in the future. Here are a few of the upcoming conferences not to miss this spring and early summer.

First out is the brand new Swedish Beauty & Tech conference in Stockholm on April 25. The event is organized by the Swedish online tech mag Breakit that over the past year or so, have started to focus their interest more on the ever expanding fashion tech area. Their one day conference Beauty & Fashion Tech 2018 will be held on April 25 in Stockholm and includes speakers such as H&M:s new brand /Nyden, digital beauty service Dashl and digital fitting solution Virtusize among others.

Copenhagen Fashion Summit on May 15-16, focuses on sustainability and innovation technologies in that area. Among the speakers are Stella McCartney, who is collaborating with spider silk company Bolt Threads.

Fashion Tech Talks in Stockholm, is back for a second edition on June 5, again at Fotografiska in Stockholm. No speakers are confirmed at this point.

Wear Conference 2018, New York City, June 11-13: features three days of presentations, workshops and sessions about wearables, featuring for instance Ivan Poupyrev from Google ATAP, Aldjia Begriche from biosensing garment brand OMSignal and dr Amanda Parkes from Future tech Labs.

Wear It Festival in Berlin, June 19-20, is focusing on the potentials of wearables, development of new products, and creation of prototypes.

CES 2018: what to look out for in fashion tech

As you know, the new year is already upon us, but for us tech nerds the real new year’s celebrations are still a few days away: On Tuesday, January 9, the annual Consumer Electronics Show 2018 is kicking off and we’re all anticipating what’s next in the world of AI, VR, AR, robotics, wearable tech and all that. I for one, am going to keep an extra eye open for the Fashionware Show,  that will showcase high tech textiles, experimental fashion, VR and AR fashion experiences, AI Stylists and much, much more.
And of course there’s the Wearable Technology Summit, where experts from ELLE, Heisel, Fossil Group and Ashley Chloe is going to discuss how wearables are moving from geeky to fashion-forward. Still a much needed step if you ask me…
A host of other interesting brands and people are also making appearances, such as Dr Amanda Parkes from Fashion Tech Lab, speaking about textiles of the future and ELLE USA:s fashion tech editor Jenna Blaha, speaking about the wearable as a fashion statement. Stay tuned!


Talk to the hand: Your next mobile phone might be your finger nail

What’s next to replace our beloved smart phones? That has been an ongoing discussion for years among futurists, technologists and basically anyone who is interested in the future of our everyday tech. Ideas are constantly flying around, and one of the latest are one from the digital communications company and mobile network operator O2. Together with beauty brand Nails Inc, they have designed a prototype finger nail that doubles as a mobile phone. Using Bluetooth technology, the mobile device can be tucked away and in the meantime the user can answer the phone, play a song or redial the last number called, using just the nail. Nina Bibby of O2 shared this about the prototype:
– The way our customers interact with one another will change drastically in the next thirty years, and as a brand we’ll need to adapt to this. We are always looking ahead to the next developments in mobile and to be able to bridge the gap between fashion and tech is a really exciting challenge. People have been customising mobile phones for years, but this is the next step towards tech becoming part of how we decorate our bodies.
This actualizes the question about how tech is merging with our bodies; with AI getting closer and closer to what used to be confined to a human brain and the way machine learning has made Virtual Reality feel more real than ever before. Perhaps this prototype can appear a ”kinder”, more concrete version of the tech of the future. Easier to handle, and easier to adapt to. 

Photo cred: O2


A smart watch without a touchscreen? Yes, that might actually be the thing.

A couple of weeks ago I was pondering if the smart watch might be having a comeback, considering the releases of several new ones in spite of recent years of dropping sales. And proof of that just keeps getting stronger. Just recently a new smart watch, that differs from most others, saw the light of day. The new collection from New York Standard Watch hasn’t just kept the traditional wristwatch look with the round watch face and the leather straps, but has actually skipped the whole touch screen altogether. Yes, no touch screen! How does that even work, you ask.
Well, they offer all the traditional notification and fitness tracking functions such as steps and calorie count, but display them on an analogue dashboard instead. It is actually kind of genius when you think about it.
Me and many others have long argued that a piece of wearable tech simply must be aesthetically pleasing for us to even consider putting it on. But being easy on the eye might actually not be enough to succeed. It might also need that hands on, analogue, three dimensional feel to really make it. That perfect merge between tradition and innovation, the just right mix of old and new.
I’m not saying NYSW has the final solution to this, but theirs is certainly an interesting step in that direction.

Photo credit: NYSW