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Twilight Tech: The Illusory LFW Project Revealing An Iceberg Of Virtual Fashion Innovation(Forbes)

The original shot of the Sadie Clayton bomber jacket on which the virtual works were based (Credit: Sadie Clayton).SADIE CLAYTON

The original shot of the Sadie Clayton bomber jacket on which the virtual works were based (Credit: Sadie Clayton).SADIE CLAYTON

The article first appeared on the Forbes.

Kicking off London Fashion Week in the experimental spirit that’s long been the city’s creative calling card, is a new piece of virtual fashion design highlighting the major mixed reality movement building momentum across design and display.

Created by the London-based Fashion Innovation Agency (FIA) - a development incubator that marries fashion, retail & emerging technologies - the concept redresses a 2016 fashion heist when a fraudulent stylist posing as a fashion editor for British group Dazed Media stole garments from a handful of young designers, including Sadie Clayton. One of Clayton’s most extravagant pieces, a sumptuously embroidered bomber jacket has been digitally resuscitated; brought back from the dead in just two weeks with extreme, all guns blazing accuracy via Korean 3D virtual garment simulation software technologists CLO and Dutch fashion animation specialists The Fabricant.

While it goes no further than that as yet (there’s no viewer interaction, no opportunity to move or modify the piece) the results are astonishingly lifelike and undoubtedly prefigure a future where retail will merge with gaming and entertainment; shoppers will own a personal avatar and they’ll fully expect retailers to clothe them exactly as they step into online changing rooms or out into wider virtual worlds. The appeal of un-real is swelling and multi-faceted, practical and expressive.

It’s a prediction driven by three key factors: firstly, avatars are no longer the preserve of nerds trying to cop off in Second Life; eerily accurate simulations are now illusory treats primed for a mainstream, avatar-rapt generation; CGI superstar and one-time Prada frontwoman Lil Miquela is racking up an additional 100k followers to her Instagram following per month while the fantastical ‘flaw’ obliterating selfie-editing app FaceTune was AAPL -2.16% Apple’s most popular paid app of 2017, selling 10m+ copies. This summer, Amazon launched Amazon Sumerian (editor) - a tool that devised to allow people with no specialized programming experience to create and publish AR/VR environments - populating them with 3D ‘hosts’ complete with conversational capacity, brand-malleable fleshed out chatbots.

Secondly, motion-capture technology is advancing at such a rate that it’s already possible to emulate the kind of walk-in body-scanning booths originally used by companies such as Bodymetrics (devised to help people select the best jeans for their bum) with just a mobile phone and a tech-ready catsuit. Consider the comedy style but deadly useful Zozosuit - a polka-dotted measurement-taking skinsuit by Japanese fashion e-tailer Zozotown ( Start Today Co.) By just shooting themselves with a phone, wearers can create an avatar from which the brand translates its products into bespoke garments. Re-launched in July, it retails at just under 40k yen ($360).

It’s an idea that goes hand-in-hand with the development of concepts such as Save Your Wardrobe - an app (currently in beta) blending computer vision and AI among other things that lets users compile virtual wardrobes of both existing clothes (by taking photos of them) and new items (via the receipts that will automatically generate visuals). Not forgetting Amazon, which is rumored to be developing a magic mirror for at-home scanning, allowing users to upload their digital double directly from their bedrooms into the hungry maw of the brand’s retail mainframe.

Read more on the Forbes.

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