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Topshop Russia intros Kinect technology for virtual fitting room experience

Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect technology is making waves in retail. Hot on the heels of its integration in Nordstrom’s windows, comes news of it being used in the fitting rooms of Topshop Russia.

The motion sensor system, developed by augmented reality company AR Door, means anyone is able to try on clothes by waving their hand, reports Emma Barnett at The Telegraph.

Using image recognition technology, the virtual clothes then pin themselves on an image of the user.

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Digital snippets 15/04: Bottega Veneta, Bergdorf Goodman, Burberry, Franceline Prat

Bottega Veneta's Viaggio Notturno

Some more great stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital this week:

  • Bottega Veneta unveils first fashion film, “Viaggio Notturno”. Based on the subject of travel, it was made in collaboration with photographer and director Christian Weber [Bottega Veneta, NOWNESS]
  • Bergdorf Goodman places location-based banner ad in mobile application game Words With Friends to drive consumers in store [Luxury Daily]
  • Burberry is kickstarting its digital retail commitment by outfitting its China stores with touchscreens the size of full-length mirrors and iPads to facilitate ordering; other markets will follow [WSJ]
  • And watch highlights from Burberry’s Beijing hologram show [YouTube]
  • Why we still love magazines, including a short film of infamous French Vogue editor Franceline Prat telling the story of her first shoot with Helmut Newton [The Business of Fashion]
  • Online advertising revenue grew 15% in 2010 to $26bn [IAB]
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Burberry live from Beijing

Burberry’s “music, fashion and tech extravaganza” is streaming live from Beijing, now. Expect to see ground-breaking virtual image technology placing live models against animated footage and life-like holograms. Not to mention British band Keane performing for the first time in China.

Watch it here – http://live.burberry.com

Or read about it here – Burberry to host music, fashion, tech extravaganza for Beijing opening

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Nordstrom uses Xbox’s Kinect for interactive windows

US department store Nordstrom has integrated Microsoft’s Kinect technology into the windows of its flagship Seattle store.

The Xbox accessory has been used to enable shoppers passing by to “write with light” on the white backdrop of the display simply by moving their hands.

“With the help of Kinect’s infrared technology and their technical genius, our teams created a seamlessly interactive display that anyone can ‘paint’ on using just the motion of their hands in front of the glass,” Nordstrom posted on its blog.

The Kinect controller is reportedly hidden underneath a Dolce & Gabbana bag.

The interactive windows, which run until today, April 11, follow on from the store’s Spring 2011 Designer Catalog, a partnership with Glen Luchford and Ruben Toledo which also saw experiments in writing with light.

According to AllThingsD, Kinect for Xbox has also been used to create the world’s best shadow puppet and to operate a computer like Tom Cruise in Minority Report.

See the Nordstrom windows in action below:

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Burberry to host music, fashion, tech extravaganza for Beijing opening

Burberry's new flagship store in Beijing

Burberry is set to celebrate the opening of its new flagship store in Beijing with its most immersive experience to date, combining music, fashion and technology.

Live-streamed from the Beijing Television Centre on April 13, the event will see ground-breaking virtual image technology placing live models against animated footage and life-like holograms. British band Keane will perform throughout.

A sensory element is also supposed to feature, with rumour of the weather playing a part.

“I love the creativity, vibrancy and history of China with its exciting and dynamic energy and it is a huge privilege to be flying the flag for Britain in the magnificent city of Beijing connecting all of our global communities to celebrate everything Burberry represents today from music, to heritage and innovation,” said chief creative officer Christopher Bailey.

The event will welcome 1,000 VIP guests, but as usual with Burberry, also be live-streamed online and to 50 stores around the world.

At the new Beijing store, a 12,500sq ft space at Sparkle Roll Plaza (as pictured), the extravaganza will be viewable on the giant flat-screen LED video walls.

On Keane’s participation, lead singer Tom Chaplin, said: “I met Christopher Bailey a few years ago. He’s a big fan of Keane and I’m a big fan of what he does for Burberry, so we hit it off. Christopher suggested that we should team up to create an incredible event combining music, new technology, and fashion in one of the world’s most vibrant and exciting cities, Beijing.

“It’ll be our first trip to China, and we hope to put on a show that will surprise and delight the folks of that fascinating and brilliant country.”

He announced the band’s participation in the event through a short video on Facebook, as below:

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Tweet mirror hits Westfield shopping centre

The tweet mirror

Westfield London has unveiled a “tweet mirror” as part of its Big Fashion Wardrobe event this week.

Designed by Dutch retail services company Nedap, the mirror aims to connect shoppers to their friends in real time in order to help with their purchasing decisions.

An in-built high-definition camera enables users to take pictures of themselves from various angles in their chosen outfits, and then share via email or text, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

Feedback follows to the individual’s phone.

The Evening Standard calls it “an invaluable resource for the solo shopper”.

What’s more, if the user opts not to buy the item, the picture is sent to their email address alongside a link to the brand’s website.

The tweet mirror is part of the Go Virtual area of the shopping centre’s event, which is running from March 29 – April 3.

Tweet mirror hits Westfield shopping centre

 

 

Westfield London has unveiled a “tweet mirror” as part of its Big Fashion Wardrobe event this week.

 

Designed by Dutch retail services company Nedap, the mirror aims to connect shoppers to their friends in real time to help with their purchasing decisions.

 

An in-built high-definition camera enables users to take pictures of themselves from various angles in their chosen outfits, and then share via email or text, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

 

Feedback follows to the individual’s phone.

 

The Evening Standard calls it “an invaluable resource for the solo shopper”.

 

What’s more, if the shopper opts not to buy the item, the picture can be saved for later, whereby a link to the brand’s website will also come attached.

 

The tweet mirror is part of the Go Virtual area of the shopping centre’s event, which is running from March 29 – April 3.

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Lessons from Bailey

Photo by Nick Knight

My obsession with Burberry in relation to all things digital continues, and gets further satisfaction from this profile of Christopher Bailey in American Vogue.

In it, writer Robert Sullivan refers to Bailey as a pioneer in this space: “To Bailey, designing a trench and designing a Web-savvy business fall along the same lines—each creates a place for his customer to live.”

Bailey’s focus on this hybrid world, has resulted in a real change in what luxury today actually means.

“Slowly, with a meticulous assuredness, [Bailey] has traded in the traditional idea of luxury—status as defined in large part by exclusivity—for something that is cool because it’s thoroughly global and modern, modern in the sense that it thrives at technology’s leading edge,” says Sullivan.

In so doing, Bailey acknowledges he’s not just aiming to appeal to his current customers, but to consumers at large.

“Brands are more and more multidimensional,” Bailey says. “It’s about an experience as well as buying a product. And I think what we’ve found is the more we entertain, the more we allow people into our brand. Then maybe one day they’ll buy. And then… who knows?”

He also suggests plans with mobile and location could be a next step for the brand. “I love the idea that if someone is part of our Burberry community, they can be fed content based on where they are… So if I’m in London and I’ve been interested in this bag, these pants, this coat, and I fly to New York and I pass our window on Fifty-seventh Street, something might pop up that says, ‘You’re at Burberry, and this product is in this size’.”

The industry could learn a lot from Bailey. As Sullivan puts it: “He has positioned Burberry as fashion’s leader on the next frontier, a global digital frontier that many of the largest fashion brands have watched while standing nervously behind their just-cracked penthouse doors.”

Read the full article here: Christopher Bailey: Tech Mate

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social media technology

Burberry steals #LFW with global digital strategy

Yesterday’s Burberry show, though perhaps not a favourite-ever collection from Christopher Bailey, nonetheless stole the London Fashion Week limelight hands down.

Once again proving itself as a digital leader within the luxury sect, the brand live-streamed around the globe through 40 in-store virtual trunk shows, as well as on the mega 32m digital billboard in London’s Piccadilly Circus.

A total of 11 cameras as well as a live text feed, provided viewers with both pre-show content – featuring A-list guests including Rachel Bilson and Kate Bosworth as they arrived at London’s Royal Park of Kensington Gardens – and full coverage of the collection as it came out.

While this is the seventh season the brand has live streamed its show, which was also available online, it’s the first time it has done so on an outdoor digital screen at Piccadilly Circus. In fact, it’s a first for any brand.

The aim was for an immersive, interactive and entertaining experience, said chief creative officer Christopher Bailey. “We have always used digital communication to deepen our connection with the customer and allow people all over the world to experience Burberry no matter where they are. Whether you are at home online, watching in Piccadilly Circus, using a mobile device or in our store in Beijing everyone will be able to feel the energy and attitude of the brand and the excitement of the show,” he added.

The brand also continued with its runway to reality initiative, allowing consumers in store – via iPads – as well as online, to order items of outerwear or bags for delivery in seven weeks.

Those with the cash to splash are still able to pre-order until February 28, while the full collection will otherwise be available from August.

An on-demand version of the coverage is also now available online, which includes footage of the collection being put together and red carpet interviews.

Not forgetting the importance of music to the brand, viewers can also download the tracks featured in the show, including You Don’t Own Me by Dusty Springfield and Someone Like You by Adele, through iTunes on the Burberry.com site.

 

Yesterday’s Burberry show, though perhaps not one of my favourite ever collections from Christopher Bailey, stole the London Fashion Week limelight hands down.

Once again proving itself as a digital leader within the luxury sect, it live-streamed around the globe through 40 in-store virtual trunk shows, as well as on the mega 32m digital billboard in London’s Piccadilly Circus.

A total of 11 cameras as well as a live text feed, provided viewers with both pre-show content – featuring A-list guests including Rachel Bilson and Kate Bosworth as they arrived at London’s Royal Park of Kensington Gardens – and full coverage of the collection as it came out.

While this is the seventh season the brand has live streamed its show, which was also available online, it’s the first time it has done so on an outdoor digital screen at Piccadilly Circus. In fact, it’s a first for any brand.

The aim was for an immersive, interactive and entertaining experience, said chief creative officer Christopher Bailey. “We have always used digital communication to deepen our connection with the customer and allow people all over the world to experience Burberry no matter where they are. Whether you are at home online, watching in Piccadilly Circus, using a mobile device or in our store in Beijing everyone will be able to feel the energy and attitude of the brand and the excitement of the show,” he added.

The brand also continued with its runway to reality initiative, allowing consumers in store – via iPads – as well as online, to order items of outerwear or bags for delivery in seven weeks.

Those with the cash to splash are still able to pre-order until February 28, while the full collection will otherwise be available from August.

An on-demand version of the coverage is also now available online, which includes footage of the collection being put together and red carpet interviews.

Not forgetting the importance of music to the brand, viewers can also download the tracks featured in the show, including You Don’t Own Me by Dusty Springfield and Someone Like You by Adele, through iTunes on the Burberry.com site.

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technology Uncategorized

London Fashion Week: young designers must embrace technology or risk shutting the door

London Fashion Week’s young designers must use the power of technology to promote themselves, rather than taking a leaf out of Tom Ford’s book and shutting the door completely.

For a city known for emerging fashion creative talent, the news that American heavyweight designer Tom Ford was intending to show his womenswear line during London Fashion Week (LFW) this season, instead of New York where he first launched it last September, was quite a surprising one.

Before a flurry of brands returned to the UK’s capital around LFW’s 25th anniversary in 2009, there were few big designer names that chose to show their latest collections here. Even now, those that do – Pringle of Scotland, Burberry Prorsum, Matthew Williamson – are predominantly, and quite understandably, British.

Tom Ford’s presence therefore, makes a statement. Quite simply it says that London is truly back on the international scene, holding its own against its European counterparts as a go-to destination for fashion. This is in stark contrast to a mere few seasons ago, where LFW was skipped by many press and buyers entirely.

The former Gucci designer and Hollywood film director broke the mould in New York last season when he opted for an intimate fashion show event for just 100 guests.

In an age where the catwalk is live streamed online around the world, enabling consumers to feel like they themselves are on the front row, he also only invited one photographer (his own), turned away all the bloggers, and set a strict embargo on information about the collection so as to relate it more closely to the date the garments hit store.

“[Today] you see the clothes on the runway, and within an hour or so, they’re online,” Ford said at the time. “They’re overexposed… I wanted to pull everything back.”

It was a daring move, but it worked for him. Accordingly, he’s opted for the same strategy with his autumn/winter 2011/12 collection in London. Today, Ford will present his latest designs to a handful of monthly magazine editors only.

But I question whether his method is really suited to this city at all.

Given the current dire financial state of the country, this alternative to the lavish and extravagant productions fashion shows have become, is certainly no bad thing; it’s more Ford’s strict restrictions around any detail being released in real-time that doesn’t quite fit.

Turn to the strategy currently being employed by the British Fashion Council (BFC) for instance, and the complete opposite approach can be seen.

Aiming to reach a wider audience than ever before, the council’s dedicated digital policy will see a total of 37 shows live streamed by the end of the week as well as a series of fashion films.

And it’s not just online – an LED screen currently dominates the wall of the tent at the official home of LFW at Somerset House, which, when it’s not showing the live streams, displays daily video highlights as well as tweets from the @londonfashionwk feed.

The same is happening on various screens on the London underground – in Oxford Circus, Holborn and Charing Cross stations to name a few.

Meanwhile, later today Burberry will become the first ever brand to stream live on the Landmark 32m digital screen at Piccadilly Circus.

In doing all of this, both Burberry and the BFC are helping to pioneer a new fashion landscape where democratisation, or put more simply, fashion for the masses, is key.

“It’s about reaching out to broader audiences,” says the BFC’s CEO Caroline Rush. “Showcasing digitally is a fantastic opportunity for our designers to reach global audiences without obviously having to have those big advertising budgets.”

At a time when convincing consumers back into shops is crucial, she’s hoping the outdoor initiative will also help generate a sense of excitement about LFW with the public and eventually lead to sales too.

Ford’s argument however, as many of his counterparts would still agree, is that it goes against the notion of luxury to make yourself so accessible.

It’s for that very reason many designer brands have been slow on the uptake of digital in the first place – in some instances still not having their own websites, let alone pushing forward through social media.

But then Ford is now a big established brand, and the bulk of those on the LFW schedule are not.

“The luxury Tom has is that he’s had the opportunity to develop his name, reputation and audience through the likes of Gucci… most of the designers we have in London haven’t got that grounding and so [digital] gives them the means to reach much further,” says Rush.

Save for its hero returnees, the city remains largely a home for emerging talent. Putting a collection together, let alone producing a show, is expensive business, and having any cash left over for marketing is fairly unlikely for these small companies. In utilising technology, the very best of London Fashion Week can be catapulted around the world no matter what financial backing it has.

Only by taking advantage of the true power of technology will these new fashion designers build their future. By shutting the door to the digerati, these rising stars will jeopardise their careers before they have even taken off. Therefore I encourage them to follow more in the footsteps of digitally enlightened fashion houses like Burberry, and not, though it’s wonderful to have him here, Tom Ford.

This piece originally appeared on fashion.telegraph.co.uk