Earlier this week, it was announced that the next exhibit to grace the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute will be entitled ‘Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.’ Was this a sign of a very tech-focused New York Fashion Week to come? As usual, there was plenty of innovation on the city’s runways for AW16, from Intel’s clever Curie Module to interesting fashion-meets-fitness collaborations.
Coach and Google reconsider the live stream
Fans who didn’t make it to the benches of Coach's runway show were, of course, able to live stream it from the comfort of their homes – but this live stream took things up a gear. Coach used Google Cardboard to create an immersive streaming experience for its fans, with 360-degree video offering up the opportunity to watch the brand’s FW16 show in more detail than ever before. While Topshop was the first brand to use virtual reality to to live stream its runway show last year, Coach is the first brand to have done it using Google Cardboard. Those wishing to get a piece of the action either had to pick up a pair of Coach-branded Cardboard ‘binoculars’ in their nearest Coach store, or simply request a set to be sent to them via Instagram or Snapchat.
Fast-track to the front row
Over recent seasons, Tommy Hilfiger has become something of pioneer for fashion-tech innovation. While incorporating the latest digital trends – like Periscope, for example – may have worked well in the past to generate a buzz and increase engagement from those not able to attend Hilfiger’s runway show itself, the brand decided to push a different strategy for FW16. This time, the focus was on making things easier for those privileged enough to receive an invite to the show. Attendees were able to ‘fast-track’ their way to their seats using their Apple Watches – a simple-yet-brilliant, stress-reducing idea that other designers will probably implement in future shows. Furthermore, fourteen ‘Instagram-famous’ figures were invited to sit in Hilfiger’s exclusive ‘InstaPit’, which was designed especially to give these iPhone-yielding bloggers and style influencers the best view for taking the perfect Instagram pictures. A smart publicity move.
Intel continues to innovate
We saw Intel’s Curie module, which launched in August 2015, pop up at New York Fashion Week last season on the Chromat runway, where it was generally well-received by both the brand’s fans and the press, so it wasn’t a great surprise to see the two companies collaborate again for FW16. This season, Intel’s efforts manifested in an LED-embedded ‘Lumia’ collection of dresses which, connected to sensors wrapped around models’ hands and wrists, lit up in response to pressure. In another smart move, Intel issued out emoji-themed, Curie module-powered pin badges to style influencers in a bid to boost awareness of the company’s fashion endeavours. The emoji pins were able to track wearers’ movement, step count and location.
FitBit hopes to sway the fashion crowd
Fitness trackers have been a key trend on the wearables scene for a while now – many brands have pushed fashion-forward options in order to score new buyers – so while Fitbit’s newly announced collaboration with NY brand Public School certainly isn’t groundbreaking, it at least looks impressive. During Public School’s FW16 show, the brand debuted five gender-neutral variations of Fitbit’s slimline Alta model, designed by Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Obsborne.
“We keep thinking how can we push the boundaries of fitness and fashion … We’re finally comfortable with the product we have that allows us the versatility that’s important when you partner with fashion brands,” Tim Rosa, FitBit’s VP of Global Marketing, told Mashable.
FitBit hopes to sway the fashion crowd
While many NYFW labels kept things cool in terms of tech, others just couldn’t resist the dramatic, showy element a bit of digitisation can bring to a piece of clothing. VFILES designer Nayana Malhotra, whose desire to create garments that looked “like wearing the Internet” was translated into a series of capes with GIFs projected onto them. Other designers such as threeASFOUR, Ohne Titel and Alexis Walsh all experimented with 3D printing.
This season NY has definitely taken a departure from tech for tech’s sake with some brands still uncertain on how tech can best be used to push them forward.
What brands are killing it in the digital space? Join us at the Fashion Futures Award on May 18th to find out. Book your ticket now.
Reported by Grace Howard
Image Source: Wareable