A view of how digital and physical will merge

The digital and the physical world is merging, no doubt about it. Not only are we starting to expect digital features or alternatives in a lot of our everyday interactions, but we are also starting to expect more and more from our physical objects and environments.
And we’re going to see a lot of this in the fashion and retail segment looking forward. An article in Vouge Business suggests that the advances in machine learning, mixed reality technologies and adaptable and reactive materials, together will change our perceptions of digital versus physical. Forecasting agency The Future Laboratory recently even coined a term for it, ”Programmable reality” which means the growing ability for objects to assume digital attributes. This is expected to cater to a customer who expect everything around them to be as personalized and responsive as online is.
So what’s going on in this field then?
Well; Nike and Puma have both developed shoes that adjust the fit to the wearer’s preferences. Meanwhile Reebok has made the PureMove Bra which contains fluids that solidifies at higher velocity, basically offering better support when you pick up the pace during workouts.
Meanwhile Italian furniture company Natuzzi will install Holo Lens VR-sets it their stores offering the full product range to customers, and not just what fits the floor. Others use the virtual and augmented features to create experiences, like H&M did in October at the New York preview of the H&M Moschino collab, where visitors could see a handbag appearing to melt and gold accessories and undergarments appearing to float, all through the lens of Magic Leap One glasses.
And then there’s of course the digital clothing, which I have already adressed in recent posts, here and here. While this is far from mainstream yet of course, several brands have actually started to offer 3D renders of clothing on their sites to offer the customer a way to examine build and texture of the products online.
Eventually we will all have a ”digital twin” or ”data double” like Lil’ Miquela, the photo realistic avatar model, The Future Laboratory predicts.
Personally, i can’t wait.

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Industry giants gather at Hong Kong retail conference

What will retail become in the future? Retail industry leaders such as H&M and Guess will gather on January 23rd to discuss this in Hong Kong, at this year’s edition of the Retail Cutting Edge conference. The conference will revolve around the four themes retail for the next decade, blockchain in retail, global change pain points and AR and VR. Within these themes they will explore for instance how blockchain can be used to prove product authenticity, how the demand for sustainability changes the way brands interact with customers and how AR and VR can make the transition from gimmicky to mainstream in the retail space. Read more at https://live.insideretail.hk/.
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VR for consumer retail – hot or not?

American retail corporation Walmart recently filed two patents, suggesting they will launch a Virtual Reality shopping experience sometime in the future, The Current Daily reports. The patent was accompanied with a detailed plan of a virtual showroom where customers, with the help of sensor-enabled gloves, could browse and experience products and thereby actually to feel  what they are like.
So, is VR the way to go in retail? Well, there is definitely a lot of talk about it.
Walmart already acquired VR startup Spatialand in February. Meanwhile, internet giants Alibaba and Amazon respectively, have both launched their own VR experiences. Last year, Alibaba launched the retail experience Single’s Day at department store Macy’s, while Amazon recently set up 10 VR kiosks in India to promote a shopping event.
The question is, what’s in it for the consumer?
Apart from the potentially cool experience, it still remains a problem that VR headsets are very expensive at the same time as they get old very fast, because of the rapid evolvement of the VR tech.
The pro’s and con’s of this tech and its place in VR is actually the topic of discussion in the first episode of The Current Debate, a new feature on The Current Innovator’s podcast, by Liz Bacelar and Rachel Arthur. Listen to the episode here.
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Walmart VR.

Back in business again

There hasn’t been much reporting from this swamped in work-blogger the last couple of days, but now I’m back! So, let’s round up the past week so far: Fashion Week in Stockholm happened, and I was there to witness talented designer Naim Josefi showing his aw17 collection covered in high tech steel sequins made with able assistance from Swedish 3D print jewelry brand Lumitoro. Meanwhile, Magazine Bon and Studio Bon assembled a group of experts to talk about the future of virtual reality in fashion, while Swedish Fashion Council launched the book ”Sista skriket” by Emma Veronica Johansson och Philip Warkander. This is basically a letter exchange between the two authors about the complexity of fashion, for instance the role of fashion in a digital age.
As always, I was hoping for more tech influence during fashion week but, as we say in Swedish, let’s ”hurry slowly”. These things need to happen organically and can’t be forced. Designers and tech companies need to find each other based on a genuine interest in each other and the in the genuine wish to create solutions to actual problems, rather than just keeping up with the latest trend, for anything good and truly innovative to happen. Luckily, there seem to be a lot of exciting things happening in this field in Sweden right now, so I guess we’ll just wait and see.
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Photo credit: Stil & Teknik

I dag börjar SXSW! Och de fortsätter att satsa på fashion tech

Hoppla, är det redan mitten av mars? Yes, och det betyder att det är dags för en ny upplaga av SXSW, festivalernas festival om man så vill, som står på de tre benen musik, film och interactive. Under Interactive-flaggan hittar vi för andra året i rad SXstyle, festivalens särskilda inriktning på kopplingen mellan mode och teknik.
På plats i Austin hittar vi bland andra Google Made With Code, initiativet som vill få tjejer att börja programmera och Decoded Fashion som samlar alla innovatörer och inspiratörer inom området FashionTech. Plus en hel hög med intressanta föreläsningar förstås: till exempel hur vi närmar oss en ny era där 3D-printing gör det möjligt att skapa helt personliga plagg och hur Virtual Reality kan komma att förändra hela modelandskapet.
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SXSW 2016 starts today! And the focus on fashion tech continues
Hold your horses, is it mid March already? Yes, and that means that it’s time for a new edition of SXSW, the festival of festival if you will, standing on the three legs Music, Film and Interactive. For the second consecutive year the interactive leg features SXStyle, with its special focus on the connection between fashion and tech.
Ready to get going in Austin is Google Made With Code, who wants girls to start programming and Decoded Fashion who gathers innovators and inspirators from all corners of the fashion tech field. Plus a bunch of interesting lectures of course, such as how we are now reaching an era where 3D-printing helps enable personalized clothing and how Virtual Reality will change fashion.

Äntligen teknikfokus på modeveckan

Under modeveckan i augusti frågade jag mig när Sverige skulle få sin första Fashion Tech-modevecka. Och hurra – nu är den här! Under en dag av Fashion Week Stockholm (som pågår 1–3 februari) blir det allt från Virtual Reality-upplevelser till paneldiskussion om fashion tech. Fokus har lagts på modeveckans sista dag den 3 februari, då det först blir en paneldiskussion som reder ut själva begreppet fashion tech. Senare på dagen gör Ida Klamborn en livestreamad virtual reality-visning av sin show på temat ”democratic front row”. Idén är att robotinstallationer utrustade med VR-kameror tar några kändisars platser på front row (läs mer här), och i stället låter allmänheten se showen i realtid från dessa platser via en app och Googles VR-set Cardboard. Som avslutning på veckan visar märket DRKN med Erik Bjerkesjö i spetsen sin kollektion i en laserinstallation. DRKN har rötter i gamingvärlden och digitala subkulturer, så det ska onekligen bli spännande att se vad de har kokat ihop.
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Finally some tech at Fashion Week Stockholm
During the last Fashion Week in August, I asked myself when Stockholm would get its first ever Fashion Tech fashion week. And yay – here it is now! During one day of Fashion Week (1–3 February) there’ll be everything from Virtual Reality experiences to a panel discussion on fashion tech, with emphasis on the last day, 3 February, starting with the panel discussion aiming to explain the concept of fashion tech. Later, designer Ida Klamborn invites the public to her Virtual Reality-show ”Democratic front row”. Robot installations with VR cameras will switch places with a few celebrities on front row (read more about it here), to instead let the public se the show in real time from these seats via an app and Googles VR-set Cardboard. Fashion Week debutants DRKN is closing the week with a laser installation supporting the show.  DRKN, with Erik Bjerkesjö presenting his first collection for the brand, has a background in gaming culture and digital sub cultures so it’ll certainly be exciting to see what they’ve been concocting.

Dior bjuder på virtual reality-mode

Hoppla, det hade jag inte trott om Dior. Men ser man på, det franska modehuset hakar nu på Virtual reality-trenden med sitt nya koncept, Dior Eyes. VR-setet är helt utskrivet i 3D-printer och ska användas i butik för att erbjuda kunderna modeshow med bakom kulisserna-känsla, skriver 3dp.se. Tanken är att showen Ready-To-Wear ska ge en inblick i hur proffsen jobbar med makeup och hår och visa hur modellerna gör sig redo för att kliva in på catwalken. Dior Eyes kommer bara att finnas i ”utvalda butiker” men var och när har inte närmare specificerats.
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Dior Eyes.