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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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Editor's pick technology

5 tech innovations we’re talking about from fashion week season

Balenciaga SS19

The latest fashion week season was marked by conversations on inclusivity, from celebrating diverse models at Ralph Lauren and Savage x Fenty, to industry experts openly criticizing the new era of Celine by Hedi Slimane for having 91% white models.

On top of that was a continued question mark around the validity of the see-now-buy-now business model, the ongoing impact of streetwear on the catwalk, and endless pop-up installations celebrating all things fashion.

And yet underlying this activity, though it may not have been obvious on the surface, was a tech-led narrative, with projections, hackers and immersive experiences all demonstrative of how fashion continues to push forward in the space.

Check out our round-up of the catwalk innovations to know…

LED Sculptures

Ralph Lauren’s 50th anniversary installation

Ralph Lauren celebrated the 50th-anniversary of his brand with a digitally-driven immersion. So-called LED sculptures, otherwise known as large scale digital displays, appeared under Central Park trees showcasing cuts from the designer’s most memorable collection reels. Campaign archive imagery as then projected across the walls of two T-shaped chambers that told the brand’s story through Lauren’s narration himself. The installation is now at the flagship store in NYC. An app launch was also part of the celebration: in addition to shopping, the platform gives consumers insider access and exclusive content.

Female Hackers

CyFi for Nicholas Kirkwood SS19

At London Fashion Week, footwear designer Nicholas Kirkwood’s show saw teenage hacker CyFi walk the runway alongside actress and #MeToo activist, Rose McGowan. Set in an underground bunker, with flashing monitors and LED lights, their appearance was tied to an underlying political message from Kirkwood against conformity. His latest shoe collection was inspired by tech and cyber-reality, with details including graphic TV static–style print and constructions that looked like tangled computer wiring. The show also featured a hologram technology that showed the collection’s main shoe, a boot with neon yellow detail, in 3D by UK company Hologrm.

Robotic Debut

House of Honee featuring OhmniLabs robot

A robot debuted on the catwalk of London Fashion Week adorned in head to toe crystals. Part of the show of LA-based designer Honee, the telepresence machine was created in partnership with Silicon Valley-based OhmniLabs. Honee said the show “celebrates the human spirit via the robots”. Her vision was to marry fashion, culture and technology through the experience.

Massive Projections

Miu Miu using projectors for SS19

At Paris Fashion Week, Maison Margiela surprised guests with 12 enormous projections alongside the catwalk at the launch of its new fragrance, My Mutiny, the first to be released under John Galliano. The film showed a behind-the-scenes look at the campaign. Miu Miu also decided to use projections, with models’ faces featuring bold lips and vivid red streaked across their eyelids, placed onto bubble letters spelling out the brand’s logo. It was a way to complement the theme of the collection: “Deconstructing beauty”.

360-Degree Kaleidoscope

Balenciaga’s 360-Degree Kaleidoscope

If there was one show that stole the tech limelight this season however, it was Balenciaga. Taking immersion to the next level, the set saw a 360-degree kaleidoscopic tunnel designed to replicate the inner workings of a computer. Projectors cast multicolored lights onto the walls of the auditorium, which changed color and speed depending on both the model walking and the track playing. With set design by Jon Rafman, the idea was to draw influence from and attention to modern technology and digital media. The most controversial part of the show was actually on the clothes: Powerpoint Clip Art effects and Comic Sans adorned some of the prints. After turning ugly daddy sneakers into the hypest pair of shoes, Balenciaga is the right brand to end the ban of Comic Sans.

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

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Editor's pick technology

Teen hacker CyFi fronts Nicholas Kirkwood’s LFW debut

CyFi for Nicholas Kirkwood SS19
CyFi for Nicholas Kirkwood SS19

Teenage hacker CyFi walked the runway at shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood’s first ever London Fashion Week show on September 16.

The 17-year-old US hacker, who was booked by Current Global to appear, was accompanied by actress and #MeToo activist, Rose McGowan. Their appearance was tied to an underlying political message from Kirkwood against conformity, with the topic of hacking seen throughout the show as both inspiration for the immersive experience and the shoe design itself.

The event began with McGowan as the leader of a resistance, surrounded by a stage environment crowded with screens and computers, so as to imply a dystopian future.

Rose McGowan for Nicholas Kirkwood SS19

Models (or the NK19 resistance rebels) strutted down the runway, mingling among the set while ‘hacking’ computers and playing with VR headsets. To add to the immersive undertone, the show culminated with the undercover police force (known as the Anti-Creative PoliZe Force) then directing showgoers to the Evidence Room where they could explore the collection from up close.

CyFi, who is one of the leading female hackers in the world, began her coding career at the age of 10. These days, she uses hacking to teach children how to protect themselves online. Most notably, she runs the yearly r00tz Asylum conference, a hacking and cybersecurity event held during DEF CON in Vegas, to help children practice cryptography and reverse-engineering, and learn more about tech security and privacy.

Current Global also booked a hologram technology for the Kirkwood show experience, which was on display on entering the warehouse venue in Central London. The collection’s main shoe, a boot with neon yellow detail, was showcased in 3D by UK company Hologrm.

Nicholas Kirkwood SS19
Nicholas Kirkwood SS19

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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social media

Nicholas Kirkwood on his social media arrival: exclusive interview

kirkwood

British footwear designer Nicholas Kirkwood has recently launched his social media presence, kickstarting with a focus on Instagram and YouTube, and anchoring it with a short film called Arcs of Orbit.

The move comes hot off the heels of LVMH taking a majority investment stake in the business in September 2013, which rapidly led to new hires and international growth including its first own-brand presence in China as of this month. As reported by the Business of Fashion recently, the big push for Kirkwood now is around brand awareness.

CEO Christopher Suarez said: “[This is] a real focus of the company, ‘How do we further develop the communication and messaging?’ An engaging language that has resonance; that has much more awareness — how can we develop a modern luxury brand that still carries a certain level of integrity and respect for product and craftsmanship?”

We caught up with designer Nicholas Kirkwood himself to find out what all his plans are for social as a part of achieving this up ahead.

F&M: You’ve just launched your social media channels – what can we expect?

NK: Social media is an important communications tool for any brand but specifically as we are a non-advertising brand it’s a vehicle to share the vision and create greater context for our growing customer base. It allows us to communicate the collections and products available, and our growth as a company, but also it’s a way to involve them in our world and engage with them on a more personal level, tapping into a more emotional side.

Social media gives you a certain amount of freedom to create and share imagery, like the ‘Arcs of Orbit’ film. I’d like to push this further and work on more creative content.

F&M: You’ve said you will focus heavily on Instagram, can you tell us why you feel this is suited to you as a platform and what we can expect to see?

NK: Instagram in particular has naturally been more of a focus purely because it is a more visual channel. A strong image is so powerful and can really capture someone.

I’m a very visual person. I get inspired by interesting shapes, form, detail, colour when designing so I’m more pulled to this. I’m wanting for our customers to share that response to imagery on our channels and relate to this when they wear my designs.

kirkwood2

F&M: With YouTube as your secondary key platform, can you tell us what all we can hope to see from a video perspective?

NK: Film again takes that emotive response and reaction to that next level. Sound is a compelling component and can change the tone in an instant to really communicate the story you’re trying to tell. These short films are ways to create impactful moments.

The inspiration behind ‘Arcs of Orbit’ was to interpret and celebrate the making of a shoe but again to show the more passionate side of what design and creation is. That opening image is quite mysterious, poetic and delicate. I wanted the sound to be like the vacuum of space to emphasise this otherworldly place to captivate the viewer.

F&M: How do you see consumers engaging with your content and what will be your measure of success on social?

NK: Our customers are people who are aware of and confident in their sense of style. I love seeing how people wear my shoes on Instagram with shoe selfies.

We’ve seen an incredible response already with people enquiring with our stores into the designs and collections that are posted. It’s amazing to see how followers react to posts as well with comments and emoticons. Obviously sales are a measure of success but I think that response is for me a personal measure of success.

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