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Robots to Make Their Mark at Fashion Week(WWD)

SYDNEY — Rag & Bone’s robot won’t be the only AI on New York’s spring 2020 runways.

On Friday evening, a few hours after Rag & Bone is due to deploy a runway robot to capture visions of models in the brand’s Spring 2020 collection, Hanson Robotics’ humanoid robot Sophia will make an appearance at San Francisco-based Mélange Productions’ show at St Mary’s Episcopal Church in Harlem.

Sophia won’t be modeling, per se. “She doesn’t have her legs with her,” joked David Chen, chairman of the AngelVest Fund and director and chief financial officer at Hanson Robotics. But she will say a few a words about diversity, which is the theme of the Mélange show, he said.

Sophia is due to be joined on stage by American fashion tech entrepreneur Anina “Net” Trepte, founder and chief executive officer of the San Francisco- and Beijing-based company 360Fashion Network. Trepte has produced the show’s finale section that will feature a series of robotic dresses made by fashion designers Clare Tattersall, from the New York-based fashion tech hub ThunderLily, and Beijing-based Azrael Yang.

Tattersall and Yang are among the first designers to have created garments using the 360Fash Tech Robotic Dress Kit, one of a number of a makers’ kits developed by Trepte to enable designers to create smart products without the need for coding and soldering.

The robotic dresses will make a second appearance in the HiTechModa Runway show at the “National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey” in Times Square on Sept. 7 and will also be featured in an exhibition over Sept. 8 and 9 at the Knotel coworking space in Union Square, as part of 360Fashion’s two-day fashion tech program in the space.

The two-day event includes series of panel discussions, one of which, on Sept. 9, will feature Sophia the Robot as a guest speaker.

While Sophia doesn’t actually have legs at present, just a rolling base, the arrival of the first fully articulated humanoid runway models may not be too far off, according to Hanson Robotics’ Chen.

“Robotics is becoming much more mainstream in our society,” he said. “We’ll see more robotic-type apparel and even models I would gesture to say”.

Read more on the WWD.

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