The fashion industry, like many other sectors, has had to adapt following the coronavirus outbreak.
The pandemic has changed how we interact with the sartorial world, from swapping the high street for online shopping, to an indefinite pause of catwalk shows. With social distancing restrictions and a ban on gatherings of certain sizes, fashion designers have had to alter the way in which they showcase new season collections.
After decades of designers relying on catwalk shows and presentations to debut their upcoming ranges to press, buyers and the world, numerous brands have recently taken the decision to go digital for the first time in their history.
London Fashion Week saw its first digital showcase in June, quickly followed by Couture Fashion Week in July. The latter saw many high-end labels, including Chanel, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana and Dior, introduce a new era of virtual fashion shows and short films.
Many designers are also using these unprecedented times to utilise numerous technological advances.
Italian fashion house Gucci has introduced augmented reality technology that allows customers to virtually try on its shoes on Snapchat.
Meanwhile, Australian design duo Ralph & Russo used artificial intelligence to create an avatar to present their new collection.
However, it’s VR that continues to lead the way when it comes to the fashion industries digital future.
In a nutshell, virtual reality creates a computer-generated environment that simulates the physical world, which is accessed through a VR headset.
Verizon Media’s The Fabric of Reality
To help reinvent fashion shows for the future, RYOT, Verizon Media’s in-house creative studio has created The Fabric Of Reality, an immersive fashion experience that pairs three up-and-coming designers with virtual reality artists to create a unique collaboration.
The fashion designers: Charli Cohen
Having started her first brand aged 14, Cohen has since created a thriving London techwear brand and recently collaborated with Reebok on a sneaker collection.
The sustainably-focused brand sources responsibly produced technical textiles from Milan, as well as upcycling surplus materials.
Cohen is also a huge ambassador for health and wellness, particularly where mental health is concerned, and is dedicated to creating a healthier and more inclusive creative industry.
The fashion designers: SABINNA
SABINNA is the eponymous label of Russian-born and Austrian-raised designer, Sabinna Rachimova.
After graduating from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Rachimova worked for leading brands including Christian Dior and Mary Katrantzou.
She later created her own conscious lifestyle brand for women, which has become known for its signature handcraft, silhouettes and strong colour palette.
The fashion designers: Damara Ingles
Having recently graduated with an MA in Fashion Media Practice and Criticism at the London Collection of Fashion, Ingles was offered an internship at Gucci.
Her creative work focuses on blurry the binary of physical and virtual, and actively seeks technology for positive and radical change in the industry.
The XR artists: Ana Duncan
Ana is a designer for animation in television, film and VR.
She has worked on the hit animated series Teen Titans Go! And has done production work for Warner Brothers, Disney, Cartoon Network and Nintendo.
The XR artists: John Orion Young (JOY)
John, better known as JOY, is a contemporary artist and designer creating in all mediums, worlds and dimensions.
He is the creator of popular website, JOYWORLD, which creates virtual creatures that can be collected and traded online.
The XR artists: Stuart Campbell (Sutu)
Stuart, better known as Sutu, is an artist and immersive storyteller.
He has created 5 VR films and has been commissioned by the likes of Marvel and Warner Bros to create VR art for properties such as Doctor Strange and Ready Player One.
The XR artists: Vladimir Ilic (VRHUMAN)
The VR developer and artist uses Virtual and Augmented Reality to deliver stories and experiences.
He has worked on VR projects with companies like Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, Facebook, Oculus, and Samsung.
How to watch The Fabric of Reality
You can be part of the movement by watching live on 29 July 2020 at 6:30pm BST at www.thefabricofreality.com.
To get the full VR experience you will need access to a VR headset from a brand such as HTC or Oculus, which are readily available from many high street stores.
Viewers will also need a gaming laptop to accompany the headset. The laptop must have Processor Intel Core i5-4590/AMD FX 8350 equivalent or better, 4 GB of memory and be running Windows 10 64-bit.
Don’t have a VR headset? No problem. You can still view the show in 2D video format.
Where to buy a VR headset
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