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7 ways fashion brands are harnessing hologram technology

We all remember the vision of Tupac being brought back to life by hologram technology during Coachella in 2012. 

Divided though opinion was, the interesting fact lay in the advance of the tech itself. Today, it is entirely possible for life-like constructs to be achieved in 3D so as to be visible to the naked eye. And more to the point, increasingly in a cost-effective way too. 

Today, it is estimated that the holography market will be worth $5.5 billion by 2020.

Fashion is one industry that has been experimenting in this space for some time, using holograms as both elaborate marketing techniques, as well as more immersive in-store opportunities aiming to drive brand engagement. 

Here are seven of the most interesting examples we’ve seen released over the years…

Alexander McQueen
Kate Moss hologram

In 2006, Kate Moss became the first human hologram to be featured as a part of a major fashion show. Alexander McQueen presented the 3D rendering of the supermodel as the finale of his ‘Windows of Culloden’ show in Paris. The hologram of Moss in a flowing white gown appeared out of nowhere to the audience from inside an empty glass pyramid following an elaborate puff of white smoke. The model danced for a few seconds before shrinking and dematerializing.

This iconic hologram, designed by video maker Baillie Walsh and directed by Lee McQueen himself, has become an iconic moment in fashion history and as such even saw revivals in 2011 and 2015 at the Savage Beauty Exhibits, dedicated to McQueen, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London respectively.

Diesel
Diesel SS08

In 2007, contemporary denim brand Diesel took the concept one step further from McQueen’s show the previous year by creating the biggest holographic fashion show to date for its Summer 2008 collection in Florence. The ‘Liquid Space’ show incorporated holograms that were created using the Pepper’s Ghost effect, an optical illusion that uses angled glass and hidden spaces, the technology for which was provided by tech specialist company Vizoo.

The campaign centred around marine creatures in space and used hologram technology to merge 2D projections of a high definition multi-screen video of the creatures with the real life models. The video images? were projected onto multiple transparent screens while careful lighting illuminated the catwalk with little or no scatter on the holographic screens. The virtual and real life elements on the catwalk consequently appeared as one to the audience.

Pinar&Viola
Pinar & Viola hologram

Dutch artists Pinar&Viola also used hologram technology to project an entirely virtual fashion line onto real life models in 2016 at their Amsterdam Fashion Week show. The occasion was designed to prompt emotions about clothing and encourage consumers to reconsider their rate of consumption in order to reduce wasted resources. The show was created in collaboration with AMFI student Amber Slooten and inspired by the mixed reality concepts of companies like Magic Leap and Microsoft’s HoloLens. Its aim was to explore how a future of holographic garments might work. 

The technology also allowed each piece of clothing to be animated through the allocation of characteristics such as eyes and mouths to further emphasize the conscious theme and help viewers to greater connect with the clothes despite them being inanimate.

Ralph Lauren
Holographic Ralph Lauren

The 2018 GQ Men of the Year Awards saw another first on the holographic medium front as pioneering designer Ralph Lauren beamed in via the medium to accept his ‘Design Lead of the Year’ award. The innovative concept was also created in celebration of the brand’s 50th anniversary. The realistic installation was created by Cinimod Holograms and used a staged box located away from the stage to create the theatre. The concept enabled the real life presenter at the awards to stand alongside and interact with Ralph’s hologram in a highly realistic and entertaining way for the audience.

This spectacle followed a series of other hologram integrations by the brand in previous years, including holographic window displays of sparring boxers in its Fifth Avenue flagship in New York in 2017 to promote the release of the new Polo Sport line, and the virtual spring 2015 Polo Womenswear show back in 2014  in Central Park.

Nicholas Kirkwood
CyFi walking at the Nicholas Kirkwood show

Footwear designer Nicholas Kirkwood is another that has utilized holograms by incorporating them in his inaugural London Fashion Week show in September 2018. Current Global worked with the brand to strategize the theme of the show, enhancing its cyber-reality theme by showcasing innovative visual technologies and integrating the experience of “white-hat” hackers in the presentation.

The result also saw a number of 3D hologram displays integrated throughout the show venue in order to enhance its underlying message of non-conformity. Created by tech company, Hologrm, they presented an animated 3D version of the collection’s main boot with neon detailing.

Wrangler
Wrangler’s immersive pop-up

US denim brand Wrangler also recently got on board with holograms, marking its Wrangler Icons launch with a 360-degree immersive pop-up experience that incorporated musicians and actors as well as numerous uses of the technology. The London experience paid homage to the brand’s musical heritage and iconic star-studded clientele from across the years. 

A continuous hologram feature was used to modernize the initiative, as well as helping to link the music theme back to the brand’s western image. A small black room at the back of the space appeared at first glance to house just drums and speakers however, broadcasted on top of the various instruments were holograms of dancing Wrangler cowboys wearing jeans and cowboy hats. The futuristic projections ran on a loop throughout the duration of the event.

Cartier
Cartier holographic watch

Of all of the fashion brands that have used holography over the years, luxury jeweller Cartier has perhaps one of the longest standing relationships with the technology. Back in 1972 the brand generated a lot of attention through its projection of a diamond bracelet dangling from an elegant wrist onto the Fifth Avenue pavement from its store window, which aimed to entice customers in. The piece, which was created by artist Robert Schinella, elicited so many enquiries that it was later revived again in 1979.

Cartier has also harnessed other forms of holograms as the technology has developed over the years, including a virtual craftsman working at a physical station at the Tokyo National Museum’s Cartier Exhibition in 2009, and a store windows campaign in 2015 where a hologram story mapped onto a physical watch face showing the inner workings and intricate parts involved in a watch.

How are you thinking about new technology? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Each of the rules referenced above is matched by one of our products and services. Interested in how? Get in touch to learn more.

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business digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Farfetch’s IPO, everything to know about CGI influencers, Bitcoin hairspray

Farfetch IPO
Farfetch IPO

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • Farfetch files for IPO, testing investors’ appetite for luxury [BoF]
  • The numerous questions around the rise of CGI models and influencers [Vogue]
  • You can buy hairspray with Bitcoin now [TheCut]
  • Yuval Noah Harari on what the year 2050 has in store for humankind [Wired]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Amazon is losing its smart speaker dominance [AdWeek]
  • Microsoft’s HoloLens mall demos bring early AR glasses to the masses [VentureBeat]
  • Los Angeles subway to become first in the US to use body scanners [DigitalTrends]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Fur: A reality check [BoF]
  • Is clothing rental the secret to making fashion sustainable? [Independent]
  • Fashion for Good launches toolkit on how to develop Cradle to Cradle denim [FashionUnited]
  • Why Instagram’s ‘outfit of the day’ hashtag is bad for fashion – and bad for the soul [TheGuardian]
  • German outdoor brand Vaude starts upcycling community [FashionUnited]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • McDonald’s unveils new Apple store-like Chicago flagship location [HypeBeast]
  • Superga, Cos, Rains and Fred Perry join Coal Drops Yard lineup [Retail Gazette]
  • 5 reasons why LA is the place to be for retailers [FootwearNews]
  • Consumers opt for marketplaces, fast retail, personalization [WWD]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Neutrogena, Sonos beta test use of video in Amazon search campaigns [MobileMarketer]
  • Alibaba’s to host first fashion show in China [JingDaily]
  • Rebecca Minkoff to present new brand identity during NYFW [WWD]
  • It’s never been easier to buy a pair of Yeezys [GQ]
  • Counterfeiting make-up is a new trend in Chinese how-to videos [JingDaily]
PRODUCT
  • Everlane is launching ‘clean silk’ in a move toward greater sustainability [Fashionista]
  • This digitally-knitted sportswear is like 3D-printed clothing [Wired]
  • River Island launches homeware [Drapers]
BUSINESS
  • Why the gender discrimination lawsuit against Nike is so significant [Vox]
  • Mulberry hit by House of Fraser collapse [FT]
  • $500 million in counterfeit Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel Goods seized in one of the largest busts to date [TheFashionLaw]
  • Bringing affordable fast fashion to Africa [WWD]
CULTURE
  • How make-up swatches became a political battleground [Dazed]
  • In hype beast homes, Supreme accessories are the hot decor [Fashionista]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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data mobile social media technology

Benefit Cosmetics teams with neuroscientist for eyebrow analysis tool

Benefit Cosmetics' Brow Translator
Benefit Cosmetics’ Brow Translator

Benefit Cosmetics has launched a “Brow Translator”, which reads and analyses user’s emotion via their eyebrows.

Using a combination of facial recognition analysis and machine learning, the microsite reveals what our brows are really saying about our innermost feelings. Users merely upload or take a photo of themselves, and the site does the rest of the work. The result is a video, GIF or still image relaying the emotion represented and a speech bubble referring to it – it that can then be both downloaded and shared across social media using the hashtag #benefitbrows.

The initiative is a partnership between Benefit and Dr Javid Sadr, a professor of neuroscience at Canada’s University of Lethbridge. His research into the role of eyebrows in face recognition (conducted at M.I.T), shows how important they are at decoding emotions.

“Eyebrows can communicate the full spectrum of emotions from aggression to fear to joy,” he explains. His team separated the face into three compartments: upper, middle and lower. They then studied the six universally recognised emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust and surprise. They realised the upper compartment of the face, which contains the eyebrows, was found to play a key role in each.

“Even the smallest micro movements in the brows can change what emotion is being communicated,” Jocelyn McCanles, associate creative director at Deeplocal, the agency that worked on the project, told the LA Times. “Happiness is a relaxed brow that is slightly heightened. If someone is angry, the distance between the brows is narrowed. If they are sad, this can be conveyed by one eyebrow being slightly arched and the other one coming down slightly. There are all these different configurations, and it does matter how your brows are naturally. If your brows are naturally arched or close together, you can look like you have a particular emotion even though your brows are at rest.”

Benefit now has over 2,100 BrowBars in 41 countries, with an ambition for this campaign to help scale the size of the market for brow products.

Prior to its launch, Benefit was also showcasing the technology out in the real world via an augmented reality campaign. Consumers were invited to try on Benefit-branded Microsoft Hololens headsets to analyse their companion’s brows in real-time, as per the video below.

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Editor's pick fashmash mobile technology

Augmented reality in fashion and beauty: problem solving, experimentation and the need for quality

augmented reality
Augmented reality was the theme of our latest #FashMash L!VE event

Technology initiatives in the fashion and beauty industry are too often for the sake of it, rather than built around problems that needs to be solved, said Jonathan Chippindale, CEO of creative agency Holition on a panel about augmented reality (AR) at #FashMash L!VE this week.

He called on the industry to consider its use of AR as well as virtual reality (VR) as solutions, not just a means of PR. By doing so the tech will be much “stickier”, he said, meaning people will keep coming back to it.

His latest initiative with Rimmel London is one such example. “Get the Look” is an AR make-up tool that allows users to try-on different cosmetics based on the looks of others they like – that might be a friend or a picture of a celebrity. It then serves up relevant colour-matched products accordingly.

“We were very struck by how difficult it is for girls and women to explore new looks without actually walking into a shop and trying on make-up. If you do that using AR, then you can experience [them] very easily,” he explained.

Elodie Lévy, global digital marketing director at Coty Inc, which owns the Rimmel brand, said the goal behind using the tech really had to be about servicing consumers. Before even deciding what that tech would be therefore, they had to understand what the consumer wanted and needed. “It was really important for us to be grounded in consumer insights to make sure that this app would have utility, otherwise we’d have been pretty sure people would’ve downloaded it and dropped it,” she said.

augmented reality
The #FashMash L!VE panel: Rachel Arthur, founder of Fashion & Mash; Jonathan Chippindale, CEO of Holition; Elodie Lévy, global digital marketing director at Coty Inc; and Matthew Drinkwater, head of the Fashion Innovation Agency

One of the particular insights observed surrounded the shift in the consumer journey for buying make-up today. “What we had before is glossy advertising in a magazine, where the model was wearing the look and this was aspirational enough to go to the store to buy the same look. Over the past few years we’ve seen a drastic change in the consumer’s habits, where the sources of info have completely changed. Now it’s all Instagram looks, Pinterest, YouTube… and consumers record or screengrab them on their phones, then they go to the shop and they try to guess.”

To solve that issue, as well as help them see what make-up suits them as an individual, AR proved the most beneficial technology to use, she explained. Today, 60% of consumers return to the app, rather than the industry average of 20%.

In spite of this, Matthew Drinkwater, head of the Fashion Innovation Agency at London College of Fashion, urged the audience to consider the fact that there also needs to be experimentation in the industry in order to help move it forward. “I don’t believe we have to always justify the use of technology as if we always have to solve a problem. I think if you look for a problem to solve, you end up with something that is almost predictable. There are times when experimentation just needs to happen; we need to put technologies through trial and put them into market,” he commented.

Within a university context, compared to say a corporation like Coty, he is of course afforded more in the way of opportunity to experiment, to test and see what certain technologies can do for the industry. But without that, we wouldn’t be able to get them ready for mass consumer adoption, he urged.

augmented reality
One of the guests trying out Hololens’ mixed reality during the #FashMash event

His latest project, focused on mixed reality (essentially a next generation augmented reality), saw designer Martine Jarlgaard London’s collection showcased during London Fashion Week in hologram form using Microsoft’s Hololens headset.

That was achieved by the whole collection being scanned using DoubleMe’s Holo Portal to turn it into a volumetric 3D mesh. Unlike with virtual reality, which isolates you from the environment you are in and instead transports you to another when you have the headset on, this technology superimposes the holograms on top of your natural surrounds. In other words, you can still see the room and the people around you, meaning the collection could be explored by walking around it and up close to it as if it really was in front of you.

“This is early stage technology, so when you put it on I think you can see the limitations of Hololens, but to actually have a full scale hologram in front of you is quite exciting. To watch people’s reactions to it, is really exciting. When you have no point of reference and you see something coming alive in front of you, the application of that at fashion week for one, but also you can imagine in a retail environment, is also really exciting,” he explained. “Ultimately for consumers, we’re beginning to explore where this technology could allow us to create a new couture. Would consumers be able to walk into a space and begin to collaborate with designers on creating the product together, in real time?”

augmented reality
#FashMash guests trying out Holition and Rimmel London’s Get the Look augmented reality app

In all circumstances, the speakers agreed that the quality of the technology and the user experience was key, no matter the stage it’s at.

“Quality is absolutely everything,” Chippindale said, “Brands are not going to be interested in ‘that’s where the tech is, and that’s all you’re going to get’, they want it absolutely as photo-realistic as possible. If you can get that; get people believing that the make-up they’re trying on they’re actually putting on, the shoes that they’re wearing are real, then I think there’s a really interesting possibility to blur that digital and physical world.”

The biggest issue at the moment, he said, is that the hardware just needs to get better. While there are various headsets being developed, and others like Magic Leap, rumoured to be able to start moving all of this forward, the majority of experiences are still held through the 2.5 inches of our mobile phone screens.

“We need some major technological hardware breakthrough to liberate the power that AR can have in making our lives better. It’s not around the corner yet, but if we can unleash AR from our phones, that’s when it becomes interesting,” Chippindale added.


Additional reporting by Bia Bezamat. Thank you also to Huckletree for hosting the evening, to Nuva for the flavoured water refreshments, and the tech companies who came in and showcased their work, including Holition, DoubleMe and Exzeb.

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business data e-commerce film social media Startups technology

What you missed: digital realities at fashion week, lessons for retail, M&S on data

digital realities
At NYFW, 13 designers introduced Intel’?s immersive runway experience powered by VOKE?s TrueVR platform

The see-now, buy-now fashion week circus continues, wrapping up in New York and onto London. All eyes on the Burberry show as that takes place this evening, but before that a round-up of all the other bits you might have missed including J. Mendel’s Instagram Stories show, Hood by Air’s collaboration with PornHub and the role virtual and mixed reality are playing this season.

Also hitting the headlines has been everything from the first Bread & Butter by Zalando attracting 20,000 consumers, and M&S sharing detail on how data and technology can drive innovation and growth. Don’t forget to check out our full list of upcoming events at the bottom too…


TOP STORIES
  • Virtual reality hits NYFW [BoF]
  • Hololens’ mixed reality to transform London Fashion Week show [Forbes]
  • With shoppable runway shows, fashion brands court millennials [Bloomberg]
  • The real action at fashion week is on your phone screen [WSJ]
  • The influencer you use may be ripping you off [Inc]
  • Millennials prefer to deal with companies by text [BetaNews]

BUSINESS
  • First Bread & Butter by Zalando attracts 20,000 consumers [WWD]
  • Everlane: The San Francisco clothing company that launches t-shirts like they’re iPhones [Quartz]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • J. Mendel’s fashion show was on Instagram [Glossy]
  • Hood by Air collaborated with PornHub at New York Fashion Week [The Cut]
  • Bloomingdale’s gamifies in-store shopping through Snapchat filters [Luxury Daily]
  • Pinterest studies how to supercharge fashion content [WWD]
  • This GucciGhost installation might be the best Instagram moment of NYFW [Fashionista]
  • Facebook Messenger adds buy button, native payments [ZDnet]

ADVERTISING
  • Kate Spade does ‘see-now, buy-now’ with a new video starring Zosia Mamet [Fashionista]
  • Etsy’s first global campaign is an expression of individuality, just like the stuff it sells [AdWeek]

RETAIL
  • 7 lessons for retail in the age of e-commerce by Rachel Shechtman of Story [BoF]
  • 4 fashion brands that are getting creative with shoppable video [Digiday]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Your next pair of shoes could come from a 3D printer [NY Times]
  • This high-tech suit lets you feel things in virtual reality [Quartz]
  • Richard Hewitt of M&S on using data and technology to drive innovation and growth [Internet Retailing]

START-UPS
  • Fashion start-ups are crowdsourcing critical business decisions. Is it working? [BoF]

UPCOMING EVENTS
Categories
Blocks technology

Smart glasses: Finally ready for take-off?

googleglass

If you thought smart glasses began and ended with Google Glass, you’re mistaken. At least according to the wearable tech analysts at Juniper Research. They’ve launched a new report that says shipments will top 12m by 2020, with a growth spurt coming after 2017.

While admitting that the market has stalled somewhat and is actually 15 months behind previous expectations due to Google pulling (then re-starting) its much-hyped Glass product, Juniper is expecting big things due to some new technology and re-focus in the market.

And the growth it expects will be some feat given that only around 1m products in this category are likely to be shipped this year.

So what’s the tech that’s going to make it happen? Microsoft’s HoloLens. Juniper expects it to kick-start further development and interest in the category.

Announced at the same time as Windows 10, HoloLens will finally start shipping (for developers, not the general public) in Q1 this year. HoloLens is an augmented reality headset that’s basically a cordless Windows 10 computer. We’re not exactly talking about a fashion accessory here. But it’s interesting nonetheless. Check out this video to see what it can do:

So is there any other development happening in smart glasses? Of course there is. ODG (with its R7 product based on an Android operating system), Sony, Meta and potentially Magic Leap, also have products set to move beyond developer-only devices and into more general availability.

And then there’s Google Glass 2, which is meant to launch this year, this time targeted at business rather than leisure users.

But will they have much more success than Google Glass 1 did? I actually tried out a pair of Googles Glasses back in mid-2014 and really wanted to like them. But while the Google rep said they’d liberate me from staring at my smartphone all day, having to tilt my head up and down to scroll through web pages didn’t feel very liberating! Nor did having everyone stare at me because of the strange glasses I was wearing.

In fact, it felt like this was yet another tech product (just like the smartwatch) where the tech guys didn’t so much meet a consumer demand, as developed the tech and hoped it would be appealing enough to create the demand later.

sony

But tech firms have learnt their lessons, it seems. What’s different about the newer breed of smart eyewear is that they’ve realised trying to integrate them seamlessly into our everyday lives isn’t really on. They’re not fashion items with added functionality, and they’re not mini computers that can be made to look fashionable and feel like ordinary glasses.

This time round, their makers are targeting the business market and the augmented reality users, which means the products will be used in very specific scenarios, not to look generally cool while also giving you directions to the nearest bus stop.

Maybe one day we really will see smart glasses like those Geordi LaForge wore in Star Trek Next Generation. Now that would be smart…

star-trend-geordi-laforge

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce film social media technology

Digital snippets: Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Net-a-Porter, ModCloth, Nasty Gal, Dove

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

calvinklein_bieber

  • Justin Bieber drives 3.6m+ new social followers for Calvin Klein [WWD]
  • Tommy Hilfiger becomes digital showroom pioneer [Pursuitist]
  • Net-a-Porter hints at launch of new social commerce experience [The Drum]
  • What changes at ModCloth and Nasty Gal mean for e-commerce [TechCrunch]
  • Dove’s latest film encourages girls to love their curls [AdWeek]
  • Footwear brand Merrell invites Sundance attendees to virtual reality hike [PSFK]
  • Op-ed: A picture is worth a million likes [BoF]
  • Why celebrity casting is spring’s biggest campaign trend [Fashionista]
  • Microsoft’s HoloLens presents a bold near-future for augmented reality [WGSN/blogs]
  • Are magic mirrors the next big thing? [Retailing Today]
  • Ringly has raised $5.1 million to make cocktail rings that light up when you get a notification [Business Insider]