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London Fashion Week pushing virtual reality with Google Cardboard tie-in

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The British Fashion Council’s Fashion Film initiative is set to get a virtual reality spin this London Fashion Week season.

River Island, long-time sponsor of the seasonal film event, is partnering with designer Jean-Pierre Braganza to create a piece of content using Google Cardboard. As the picture shows, this is essentially a make-shift headset created out of cardboard with a smartphone embedded into it.

It’s possible to buy them pre-made via the Google Cardboard website, or download instructions there to make one yourself. All you need to do so is cardboard, lenses, magnets, velcro and a rubber band.

As the site reads: “Get it, fold it and look inside to enter the world of Cardboard. It’s a VR experience starting with a simple viewer anyone can build or buy. Once you have it, you can explore a variety of apps that unfold all around you.”

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Further details as to the Braganza film are yet to be revealed, though it’s assumed the BFC and/or River Island will provide attendees with the headsets to place their own smartphones in.

Peter Fitzgerald, UK sales director at Google and president of the BFC’s digital pillar, said: “We’re delighted to see River Island using Google Cardboard to create such an innovative, immersive and interactive piece of film, turning their customers’ smartphones into a virtual reality experience. It’s a great example of how fashion and tech continue to drive and inspire each other.”

While virtual reality is yet to make any substantial headway in the fashion and retail space (Topshop’s use of Oculus Rift in February 2014 is one of few early examples), it continues to emerge as an increasingly relevant technology to watch. With experiential marketing as the focus, there’s enormous opportunity for brands to make serious inroads with VR as a consumer engagement ploy. Those who have done so successful to date include Coca-Cola, HBO and Nissan.

Other designers to have received funding from the BFC for a fashion film this season include Gareth Pugh and House of Holland. All of them will be showcased at a breakfast screening open to the public for the first time this LFW.

By Rachel Arthur

Rachel Arthur is Editor-in-Chief of Current Daily, the leading news source for fashion, retail and innovation, and the co-host of its weekly Innovators podcast. She otherwise serves as Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Current Global, a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion luxury and retail. By background she is an award-winning business journalist and consultant, contributing to titles including Wired, Forbes and Business of Fashion.

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