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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.

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

ICYMI: Brand activism, Adidas on evolving dark social, the role of augmented reality this holiday


TOP STORIES
  • The thorny business of brand activism [BoF]
  • How Adidas is evolving dark social to stay ahead of the game [Marketing Week]
  • Target’s Christmas tree sales aided by augmented-reality feature [Bloomberg
TECHNOLOGY
  • DeepMind’s AlphaZero now showing human-like intuition in historical ‘turning point’ for AI [Telegraph]
  • Alphabet’s Wing spinoff is about to launch drone deliveries in Finland [Technology Review]
  • Robot janitors are coming to mop floors at a Walmart near you [Bloomberg]
  • Athlete’s Foot announces new 3D tech [Retailbiz]
  • eBay will now authenticate luxury jewelry items [TechCrunch]
  • YNAP supports Hour of Code with fashion hackathon for London children [The Industry
  • 70% of consumers still want human interaction versus bots [Retail Dive]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • UN climate change chatbot makes saving the world personal [CNET]
  • Stella McCartney is on a quest to save you from the fashion industry [Wired]
  • Kering partners with Savory Institute for regenerative sourcing plan [WWD]
  • United Wardrobe launches program for brands to sell unsold stock [Fashion Network]
  • Why Chanel’s exotic skins ban is wrong [BoF]
  • Can transparency solve the consumer trust deficit? [BoF]
  • Stella McCartney, Burberry among fashion brands uniting against climate change [CNN]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Amazon Go cashierless stores are coming to airports [Venture Beat]
  • Alibaba signs agreement with Belgium for e-commerce trade hub [Fashion Network]
  • Why luxury shopping via WhatsApp, WeChat may be the future [SCMP]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Under Armour is running a YouTube series on IGTV [Digiday]
  • Love Magazine bringing video issue to YouTube [WWD
  • Coty unveils Google Assistant tool for Clairol [WWD]
  • Swiss hotel chain offers a ‘social media sitter’ to handle your Instagram while you relax [TheNext Web]
PRODUCT
  • Marc Jacobs set to launch affordable ‘The Marc Jacobs’ line [FashionNetwork]
  • Heineken launches capsule collection with Union [FashionUnited]
BUSINESS
  • Just 20 fashion companies are making almost all of the industry’s profits [Quartz]
  • Ted Baker founder Ray Kelvin to take leave of absence [TheGuardian]
  • Calvin Klein is facing the fact that it’s a jeans-and-undies company now[Quartzy]
  • L’Oréal launches VC fund [WWD]
CULTURE
  • Virgil Abloh on the power of being creative without limits [Dazed]
  • K-pop’s popularity is starting to shape fashion worldwide [Vox]
  • The $4 trillion reason so many companies are rebranding for wellness [Quartzy]

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.

Categories
Campaigns Events Retail technology

Swarovski celebrates the holidays with sparkle-themed activations

Swarovski's "Sparkling Box
Swarovski’s “Sparkling Box” in Covent Garden

Swarovski is launching a host of interactive experiences in the UK, hoping to spread delight in the run-up to Christmas.

The “Sparkling Box” activation, which popped up at London’s Covent Garden area last week, features a giant box where each façade offers a different digitally-enabled experience for passersby. It includes a GIF photobooth encouraging customers to take a photo and share on social media;  an interactive wall featuring a virtual snowscape that showers visitors in digital snowflakes; a video showing the jewelry brand’s Christmas advert; and a guide for Swarovski’s must-have gifts for the festive season.

The box is set to tour the UK over the coming weeks, appearing in Manchester next, followed by Glasgow and Birmingham.

In keeping with the sparkle theme, Swarovski is also set to launch “Sparkle Street” at London’s Westfield White City mall location, which will feature a Christmas tree accompanied by digital advertising, creating a festive landscape for visitors to take pictures in front of that will then be shown on a large screen opposite the installation.

Lastly, the brand is also teaming up with a team of black cab drivers in the city, who will be handing out Swarovski gifts to lucky passengers throughout December. 

Brands are increasingly diversifying the way they celebrate special events throughout the year with activations that aim to surprise & delight unassuming shoppers. Last week, Harvey Nichols visited London offices with a very special musical performance, while allowing consumers to buy the festive clothes the choir was wearing on the day directly on Instagram.

Are you thinking innovatively enough in your brand messaging? 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.

Categories
Editor's pick technology

De Beers is using blockchain to authenticate its diamonds

De Beers is trialling blockchain
De Beers is trialling blockchain

De Beers is piloting a blockchain program in order to ensure all diamonds are conflict-free and natural, while also enhancing efficiency across the sector.

The industry-wide initiative will take advantage of the very nature of blockchain technology – providing an immutable, permanent record for every diamond registered on it from the moment they are dug up from the ground.

It will then follow them throughout the value chain in order to validate them at each step of the journey, so every time they change hands.

Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group, said: “Diamonds hold enduring value and represent some of life’s most meaningful moments, so it’s essential to provide assurance that a diamond is conflict-free and natural. By leveraging blockchain technology, we will provide an additional layer of assurance to consumers and industry participants, with every diamond registered on the platform having a record as everlasting as the diamond itself.”

“We are very excited about this initiative and the benefits it could deliver across the diamond value chain, from producers through to retailers and consumers. We look forward to continuing to engage with industry stakeholders as we progress development of the platform over the coming months.”

Blockchain is largely known as the technology that underpins bitcoin, but has wider application beyond cryptocurrencies through its basis as a distributed and secure digital ledger. For the fashion and luxury industries, it also has application from a provenance perspective as well as an anti-counterfeit measure.

The De Beers pilot is underway with a small number of participants in the industry following the success of an initial proof of concept trial. According to the press release, during this development phase, key considerations are being addressed, including the protection of commercially sensitive data, streamlining processes at various stages of the value chain and providing further assurance for those that finance the industry. The aim is for a full launch later this year.

Categories
data e-commerce

Machine learning: Jewelry.com drove revenue +39% by personalising its homepage recommendations

Personalization on Jewelry.com from Dynamic Yield
Personalisation on Jewelry.com from Dynamic Yield

Product recommendations for e-commerce sites are not new in concept, but the suggestions they present to shoppers are increasingly getting smarter thanks to the algorithms behind them.

And the result of delivering more relevant product ideas? Higher spend of course. When Jewelry.com partnered with omnichannel personalisation technology firm, Dynamic Yield, to integrate personalised product recommendations on its website, for instance, it saw revenue increases per visitor of 39% from the homepage, 13% from product pages, and 18% from cart pages.

The key, according to the team, was not just to focus on the usual ‘most popular’ or ‘similar to current item’ suggestions, but instead to turn to machine learning to automatically select the most effective strategy for each user.

That meant finding a personalisation strategy that would work for both visitors with a rich history of behavioural interactions, and those who are new to the site, thus for whom minimal information is known. Doing so is about capturing signals from shoppers about their buying intentions and preferences for specific products as they move through the sales funnel, the Dynamic Yield team explained, and then providing upsell and cross-sell opportunities throughout.

“Traditional retail is beginning to have what we like to call a ‘moneyball moment’ where the old way of simply making gut decisions on which experience to serve your customers is being challenged. As machine learning technology becomes more advanced, algorithms will outperform humans in recommending products that users are more likely to show an affinity for, and ultimately buy,” Mukund Ramachandran, CMO of Dynamic Yield, notes.

“With Dynamic Yield, we can use machine learning to make data-driven recommendations based on where visitors are in the sales funnel. The ability to assess the level of valuable information about each visitor and automatically serve the most effective strategy has empowered us to increase revenue across our site,” said Jon Azrielant, director of marketing at Jewelry.com.

On the homepage, for instance, the Dynamic Yield widget leveraged affinity-based recommendations, recommending products according to a weighted score of what returning users had added-to-cart, viewed, or purchased in the past. To induce engagement among new visitors, the widget presented products with the highest amount of page views and click-through-rate on the site.

“While ‘point solutions’ for deploying product recommendations have existed in the market for decades, these solutions are limited by data silos that restrict their algorithms to only making decisions based on a user’s interactions with product recommendation widgets. With Dynamic Yield’s unified data stack, information onboarded from all onsite interactions, third party data, CRM data and loyalty data can be ingested,” Ramachandran explains.

On the product pages, the team has been running A/B tests, comparing 45% of users who were recommended products ‘similar to the current item’, 45% who were recommended ‘top-selling’ products, and 10% who received?a control variation. As a result, Jewelry.com revealed that recommending ‘top-selling’ products provided a 10% uplift compared to the other variations.

Finally, an additional widget was introduced on the bottom of the cart page to showcase items frequently bought together with the current item.

“These results are very strong compared to industry benchmarks. We think this is the case because with Dynamic Yield product recommendations are only part of the puzzle. The entire site starts working better for you – the homepage engagement is higher which leads more people to discover the most relevant products as they browse,” Ramachandran adds.

This post first appeared on Forbes.com.

Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce product social media Startups sustainability technology

What you missed: Wang’s text-to-buy line, Stitch Fix to IPO, activism from outdoor brands

The Adidas Originals by Alexander Wang line launched via text message
The Adidas Originals by Alexander Wang line launched via text message

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


TOP STORIES
  • The second Adidas Originals by Alexander Wang line launches via text-to-buy event [Racked]
  • Stitch Fix has filed confidentially for an IPO [Recode]
  • A call to activism for outdoor apparel makers [NY Times]
  • How Reebok, Adidas and Y-3 will dress future space explorers [Fast Company]

BUSINESS
  • Jimmy Choo bought by Michael Kors in £896m deal [BBC]
  • MatchesFashion.com could enter stock market [Fashion United]
  • Bangladesh to digitally map all garment factories [JustStyle]
  • Fashion must fight the scourge of dumped clothing clogging landfills [Guardian]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Vogue takes ‘hub and spoke’ approach to Snapchat editions in Europe [Digiday]

MARKETING
  • Why Helmut Lang hired an editor-in-residence in place of a creative director [Glossy]
  • Amazon and Nicopanda launch LFW ‘see now, buy now’ range [Retail Gazette]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • China’s store of the future has no checkout, no cash and no staff [BoF]
  • Saint Laurent to launch online sales in China [WSJ]
  • You will soon be able to search eBay using a photo or social media web link [CNBC]
  • MatchesFashion.com’s Tom Chapman: Amazon’s missing the ‘magic’ of high-end fashion [Glossy]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Walmart is developing a robot that identifies unhappy shoppers [Business Insider]
  • For the first time ever, you can buy your own 3D-printed garment online [Fashionista]
  • MIT’s living jewellery is made up of small robot assistants [TechCrunch]
  • Intel axed its entire smartwatch and fitness-tracker group to focus on augmented reality, sources say [CNBC]

START-UPS
  • John Lewis unveils retail tech start-ups for JLAB 2017 [The Industry]
  • Spider silk start-up spins into retail by buying an apparel company [Fortune]
Categories
Editor's pick product technology

Loewe unveils 3D printed bracelet in new menswear campaign

Loewe's autumn/winter 2017/18 menswear campaign featuring the 3D printed bracelet by VOJD Studios
Loewe’s autumn/winter 2017/18 menswear campaign featuring the 3D printed bracelet by VOJD Studios

Loewe has teamed up with Berlin-based VOJD Studios, which specialises in 3D printed luxury goods, to produce a bracelet made from a newly developed ceramics material. The design was unveiled as part of the Spanish brand’s autumn/winter 2017/18 menswear campaign shot by Steven Meisel.

Made from VOJD’s ceramics compound, a durable and flexible powder-based material processed via selective laser sintering, it is printed in one piece as an oversized interlocking chain, which then requires no assembly.

“Loewe approached us with the idea of a bracelet they really wanted to work on but couldn’t realise with other technologies because it would have been too heavy if made of metal. We managed to realise it through 3D printing in our ceramics compound – once metalised the final piece looks like metal,” VOJD Studio explains.

Loewe's autumn/winter 2017/18 menswear campaign featuring the 3D printed bracelet by VOJD Studios
Loewe’s autumn/winter 2017/18 menswear campaign featuring the 3D printed bracelet by VOJD Studios

The company offers consulting on material, finishing and technology suitability, as well as design, development, prototyping, manufacturing and finishing. It has already worked with other fashion houses including Alexander McQueen, Carolina Herrera and Akris on integrating 3D printing into their collections. A big long-term focus centres around personalisation.

“3D printing is already starting to re-shape several industries, including fashion, by introducing new possibilities and concepts. Probably one of the most talked-about features of the technology is its ability to build customised and personalised pieces, since each one is printed separately and there is no mold requiring the manufacturing of a large number of identical products. In the near future, this can lead to an increased role of the consumer in the ideation and creation of the final product they desire,” the team adds.

“Besides that, 3D printing enables design solutions and complexities impossible for other technologies. This, combined with the introduction of new materials and material properties over the next years, can direct the aesthetics of the future and transform most creative industries.”

Loewe's autumn/winter 2017/18 menswear campaign featuring the 3D printed bracelet by VOJD Studios
Loewe’s autumn/winter 2017/18 menswear campaign featuring the 3D printed bracelet by VOJD Studios

Loewe's autumn/winter 2017/18 menswear campaign featuring the 3D printed bracelet by VOJD Studios
Loewe’s autumn/winter 2017/18 menswear campaign featuring the 3D printed bracelet by VOJD Studios

Categories
data Editor's pick product technology

Historical weather data informs this 3D-printed jewellery collection

3D-printed jewellery
Love & Robots’ Windswept collection

Remembering exactly what the weather was doing, or more specifically which way the wind was blowing, might not be the first thing that springs to mind as something you want to capture forever in a piece of fine jewellery. But, it certainly makes for an interesting story to tell when your friends admire what you’re wearing.

Enter then Love & Robots, an Irish 3D-printing jewellery company that has recently introduced its new Windswept collection – a line of necklaces that can be personalised based on historical weather data.

“The world’s first wind-sculpted jewelry”, enables the user to choose any location on any date over the past 50 years and then see how the wind that was blowing at that particular time and place changes the drape of the metal accordingly. Using an online tool to do so, consumers can then pause the movement of the virtual material to create their unique pendant in either sterling silver, 14k gold or gold-plated brass.

Head over to Forbes to read the full story.

Categories
digital snippets technology

Digital snippets: all the wearable tech news from #CES

under-armour-hb-2

Trawling the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center during CES is the equivalent of perusing 38 football fields of shoulder-to-shoulder booths featuring endless displays of new technology.

The great news about the internet: you don’t have to actually do that hard work yourself. So here’s a round-up of all the fashion-related and wearable technology news that came out of the week, as written by other people all over the web (I too gave it a miss this year!)…

  • How Under Armour plans to turn your clothes into gadgets [Wired]
  • Under Armour’s Gemini 2 sneakers are fitness trackers for your feet (as pictured) [Mashable]
  • Misfit’s wearables hide their tech behind cool minimalism [Wired]
  • Fitbit Blaze launches as $200 Apple Watch competitor [TechRepublic]
  • Samsung unveils ‘Smart Suit’ as part of family of wearables [Mashable]
  • Samsung made a smart belt that doesn’t suck [The Verge]
  • Fossil to roll out 100 wearables [WWD]
  • OMbra biometric smart sports bra woos women [BrandChannel]
  • L’Oréal patch measures UV exposure [TrendWalk]
  • Fashion icon Iris Apfel debuts luxury smart bracelets that track health [MedicalDaily]
  • Mira’s new smart jewellery combines tech and high fashion [DigitalTrends]
  • Futuristic sneakers tighten automatically, warm your feet and are controlled by an app [MailOnline]
  • Casio maps out smartwatch territory in cyclists and hikers [FT]
  • SCOTTeVEST’s new jacket lets users cleverly store a laptop inside their clothing [iDigitalTimes]
  • Clothes at the CES fashion show actually looked pretty normal [CNET]
  • A look at some of the wackiest wearables on show [Wareable]

Image via Mashable

Categories
Editor's pick technology

10 wearable tech gifts for the fashionistas in your life

wearabletech_GIFTGUIDE

If the new Hermès Apple Watch is a little out of price range, but you’re after something more than the standard fitness band to fulfill your wearable tech gift giving quest this holiday, look no further…

In honour of those thinking about fashion and not just function, our Forbes round-up of 10 wearables now on the market, is well worth checking out. Ranging from Everpurse x Kate Spade New York, to Altruis, The Unseen and Topshop x bPay, they not only do neat things like pay for products or help charge your other devices, but look pretty good too. There’s also Unmade, Gemio, Ringly, Away, Misfit x BaubleBar and Love & Robots.