The Future of Virtual and Augmented Reality in Fashion

There’s more to virtual and augmented reality than gaming. Fashion is just getting started with immersive technology, creating out-of-this-world experiences and revolutionizing the way the industry operates.

“All the world’s a stage,” Shakespeare famously wrote. Oh, if only he were alive to experience today’s immersive technologies, which merge the realms of reality and fantasy. There have been two prominent developments in this field: virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). The former removes us from our surroundings and immerses us in another; the latter enhances the real world, allowing us to perform a number of functions. Think Oculus Rift vs Google Glass. These technologies are forcing us to think of fashion beyond the physicality of clothing and accessories.

But how can something tactile be translated into a purely digital experience? Immersive experiences have been met with their fair share of scepticism and challenges. Businesses are generally afraid that technology will render traditional operations and actual interactions useless.

“There is a lot of research that goes into building haptics, which allow users to virtually sense materials and their stiffness, but they won’t replace the feel and touch of the real material – and why should they?” says Adrian Leu, CEO of London-based production company, Inition, who has collaborated with Gareth Pugh and Selfridges; produced the Philip Treacy fashion film, Spatium; and, most recently, created a virtual catwalk with Topshop. “Older generations are naturally a little bit reluctant in adopting new technologies, but there’s also a challenge with younger audiences, who are perceived to have accelerated learning and are harder to impress,” says Leu. “But a good combination of a wow factor, perceived value and good storytelling can change that.”

The Future of Virtual and Augmented Reality in Fashion Gareth Pugh
British fashion designer Gareth Pugh tries on his custom Oculus Rift virtual reality headpiece.

There’s been a handful of story-oriented projects this year. To reveal the inspiration behind their February 2017 collection, Burberry recreated its showrooms, artist Henry Moore’s studio as well as the hills of Hertfordshire (where his sculptures are erected) for its in-store VR experience.

In a similar fashion, Bulgari captured the architectural references behind the B.Zero1 Design Legend ring by late architect Zaha Hadid. Meanwhile, Gucci’s Pre-Fall 2017 video campaign was shot by Glen Luchford, giving viewers a 360° experience on their mobile devices by moving them around, no VR headsets required. It’s a perfect medium to experience the energy of the dancers in the video who are decked out in looks from the latest collection. But there are also more practical uses of new technology like this: Jaeger-LeCoultre released an AR app, On Your Wrist, that lets you “wear” their timepieces.

The Future of Virtual and Augmented Reality in Fashion 360
An image from Gucci’s Pre-Fall 2017 ad campaign, which has also been shot with a 360° camera.

This is really where the future lies: in practical applications that go beyond what consumers see and experience. “Some brands are still considering technology only from the experiential point of view,” says Leu. “To them, the focus is on PR and being seen as keeping the pace with the latest technologies. For others, the discussions are about quantifiable return on investment – finding a use for technology that leads to pure application that saves money, time and/or creates new value.”

more from : Allysha Nila – L’Officiel – The Future of Virtual and Augmented Reality in Fashion