Editor's pick technology

Gareth Pugh turns to video game designers for interactive costume exploration

3D virtual renderings of Gareth Pugh's Antigona opera costume designs
3D virtual renderings of Gareth Pugh’s Antigona opera costume designs

Gareth Pugh has created a digital experience to celebrate the launch of his costumes for the Opera Antigona, which opened at Staatstheater Kassel, Germany on June 10.

A means of showcasing and previewing the costumes in virtual form, the interactive project guides users through four acts related to the opera flow itself.

The key however is in the user experience. Pugh worked with a team of video game designers from a young London-based digital art studio called Werkflow, as well as Turner-Prize-nominated artist, Goshka Macuga, who is creative director across the opera, to create the platform.

There’s a distinctive video game quality to it as a result – users can pinch, scroll, click and drag on their devices (it’s optimised for mobile and desktop), in order to zoom into the 3D virtual renderings of the garments and orbit each scene. Clicking on a circle in the first scene sees an explosion of light; tapping on the pulsating icon at the bottom right of the screen in each, then takes you to the next act.

3D virtual renderings of Gareth Pugh's Antigona opera costume designs
3D virtual renderings of Gareth Pugh’s Antigona opera costume designs

Each scene is anchored by one of the opera’s key characters: the king Creonte, the two warring brothers Eteocles and Polynices, and finally Antigona herself. The story itself is a reinvention of the original baroque tragedy by Tommaso Traeto, reframed against a science-fiction-inspired backdrop.

Said Macuga: “To imagine this production having a second life – using the tools created by Werkflow – feels like an opportunity to illustrate a technological step in our advancement, as well as a chance to explore a change in our relationship with issues of creative intimacy, or a sense of reality and truth.”

Tom Wandrag, co-founder of Werkflow, added: “As a studio, we like to see how far we can push unconventional ideas using emergent digital technology. We often discuss the use of the ‘game space’ as a theatrical space, so the concept of reframing Antigona against a futurist backdrop seemed to us like a perfect opportunity to work toward taking Gareth and Goshka’s ideas beyond what is possible on stage.”

This is not the first time Pugh has worked on stage costumes – he did so for the ballet Carbon Life, which opened at the Royal Opera House in 2012, and for the opera Eliogabalo, which opened at the Palais Garnier in Paris in 2016.

data digital snippets e-commerce social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: L’Oréal’s incubator, Bolt Threads teams with Patagonia, confessions of a social media exec


There are lots of updates this past week on interesting textile developments – from the spider silk of Bolt Threads to Spiber, both of which have announced new deals with Patagonia and The North Face respectively. Also worth a read is the anonymous social media exec spilling secrets to Digiday, not to mention the idea that we will all indeed be buying our designer clothing in the future on Amazon. If that’s not enough, further fashion and tech news from the past fortnight spans Birchbox’s use of Facebook Live to a breakdown of how brands are using Snapchat. Read on for all…

  • L’Oréal invests in Founders Factory digital start-up incubator [BrandChannel]

  • Bolt Threads raises $50 million to brew spider silk, inks deal with Patagonia [TechCrunch]

  • Confessions of a social media exec on influencer marketing: ‘We threw too much money at them’ [Digiday]

  • People will eventually buy their designer clothing on Amazon, because they buy everything there [Quartz]

  • Everlane’s Shoe Park interactive pop-up offers self-guided shopping [Footwear News]

  • How Birchbox uses Facebook Live videos to engage consumers [Retail Dive]

  • How Frank + Oak built a modern loyalty program for men [Glossy]

  • Google DeepMind killed off a little-known fashion website [Business Insider]

  • SpaceX has hired a legendary costume designer to create their own spacesuits [Gizmodo]

  • The North Face to sell parka made out of synthetic spider silk by Japanese start-up Spiber [Bloomberg]

  • Thesis Couture is bringing the engineering savvy of rocket science to the design of the high-heeled shoe [The Atlantic]

  • The rise of robot tailors [Glossy]

  • L’Oréal created this training program to keep its marketers on the cutting edge [AdWeek]

  • How fashion and retail brands are using Snapchat [Fashionista]

  • Will the ‘sharing economy’ work for fashion? [BoF]

  • Bots, Messenger and the future of customer service [TechCrunch]

  • Condé Nast is launching a beauty network [Racked]

  • How a data scientist (who studied astrophysics) ended up in fashion [Fashionista]

  • Infographic: here’s how Gen Z girls prefer to shop and socialise online [AdWeek]

  • What is going on with fashion and zines? [Racked]

  • How online shopping is cannabilising mall stores [Associated Press]

  • REI’s ‘#OptOutside’ Black Friday campaign wins award [AdAge]
data Editor's pick

If it were up to Google Trends, Santa would have a man bun

Real Santa Claus carrying big bag

We all know Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Santa Claus – call him what you will – has a beard (obvs). But what about a man bun? A turtleneck? Ripped jeans?

According to research compiled by London-based costume store Escapade based on Google Trends and the top 2015 men’s fashion trends, he should have them all. Plus Nike Air Max sneakers and a leather jacket.

Hipster Santa, as pictured, is what results.

Not convinced? Search insights from the UK, US and Australia were analyzed comparative to 2014, highlighting that “how to grow a man bun” and “how to tie a man bun” were the top style questions asked of Google across countries. Head over to Forbes to check out more of the data on men’s style.

Startups technology

Halloween costumes get virtual try-on treatment from Metail

try halloween def

Virtual fitting room start-up Metail is running an online campaign this week that invites shoppers to see what they’d look like in a series of different Halloween costumes.

“Try our scariest looks on your own MeModel,” reads the messaging. Clicking to the page reveals a series of appropriate outfits, including a zombie cheerleader, pirate and skeleton dress. There’s also a pumpkin, a corset spilling with guts, and a variety of blood splattered and gothic looks.

Users need only fill out their height, weight, waist and bust measurements, for a three-dimensional model, or avatar, of themselves to appear in a right hand pop-up box. From there, they can see what the various styles would look like on, as per the picture below (skin tone and hair style can also be adjusted to help visualisation).

The aim of the campaign, which on this occasion doesn’t actually enable purchase, is to drive awareness around the Metail product by helping people choose their costumes in time for Halloween.

Metail recently announced the closing of a further $12m in funding, bringing the total investment in its service to $20m since its founding in 2008. The finance will be used to develop the company’s mobile offering for release early 2015, and to advance its user ecosystem. It will also be looking to expand further overseas in South America, Asia and Europe next year, before setting its sights on the US.

Metail previously worked with House of Holland during London Fashion Week this season past, for a campaign that allowed consumers to instantly try-on and pre-order pieces from the designer’s spring/summer 2015 collection in the right size.


film Uncategorized

James Bond exhibition kicks off with online documentary focused on tailoring and style


The Barbican Centre in London has released a short documentary looking at the tailoring and styling of James Bond in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the iconic character.

The spot was created to accompany an exhibition showcasing the design and craft behind the movie series. “Designing 007 – Fifty Years of Bond Style“, is a multi-sensory experience opening on July 6, documenting everything from the costumes, set and production design, to the automobiles, gadgets, weapons and special effects.

The film (as shown above) sees Oscar-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming alongside tailors such as David Mason, creative director at Anthony Sinclair, and Ritchie Charlton, managing director of Douglas Hayward, looking at the varying styles of Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.

Says Hemming: “Bond is a British icon, but he’s a world citizen, and he’s beloved all over the world and he’s iconic all over the world, so what he looks like has to not just suit England and Britain but it has to actually be acceptable to the world.”

The spot also describes details such as the silk turned-back cuff worn by Connery in the first film as a sartorial nod to author Ian Fleming’s own style.

The exhibition has been created in collaboration with EON Productions, with unprecedented access to their archives. It was designed by Ab Rogers and curated by the Barbican alongside fashion historian Bronwyn Cosgrave and costume designer Hemming.

There is also another short film available that focuses on the design and craft of the sets, vehicles and accessories.