IN ONE YEAR AN AVERAGE EDITOR HAS 2 SEASONS OF FASHION SHOWS TO ATTEND OVER 4 MAIN FASHION CAPITALS, WITHOUT TAKING INTO ACCOUNT COUTURE (TWICE A YEAR), CRUISE AND PRE-COLLECTIONS. ADD EMERGING FASHION CITIES AND YOU WILL RECEIVE A NUMBER OF AROUND 200 IF NOT MORE OF FASHION SHOWS ALL SHOWCASING THE SAME THING – CLOTHES. IF 10 YEARS AGO TO GET MEMORABLE YOU HAD TO PRODUCE SOMETHING REMARKABLE YET DECENT AND BRING THE CROWD TO THE MOST EXTRAVAGANT LOCATION, TODAY THE KEY IS IN HAVING ROBOTS WALKING DOWN THE RUNWAY INSTEAD OF MODELS. SOUNDS FUTURISTIC, RIGHT?
Streaming shows and posting pictures became an absolute requirement that has to be met by every brand to keep up with pace and competition. Virtual reality, social media, “see now buy now” – are all the tools used by brands to directly engage with the customer, not the magazine editor, who is sitting front row eyeing the models through dark shades of the most wanted sunglasses. This all brings us to the close understanding – the fashion crowd is not the target, but we – savvy real consumers – are. To grasp the attention as well as to increase their sales brands are doing their best implicating technological advancements to make experience more memorable and exciting for the potential clients. As in the case of couture shows, which are mostly done for the brands reputation, the use of robotics and virtual reality is a major PR tool to get attention and stand out in this overcrowded with information world.
The first memorable technological appearance on the runway was in 1999 when Alexander McQueen had two robots, who transformed the simple white dress into an art piece by spraying paint on Shalom Harlow, who was standing on a revolving wooden platform. Seven years later Alexander had holographic Kate Moss in his Fall/Winter 2006 fashion show, as the model was not able to appear on the runway due to the scandals evolving around her personality. This technology trend was later picked up by Burberry, who decided to go for a fully holographic fashion show in Beijing in 2011.
Of course, there is no chance one can forget Chanel when it comes to making impression. Not only the brand always goes for extraordinary transformation of Palais Royal – airports and supermarkets to name a few – it also uses technology to keep up to date with the modern world. If models dressed as robots is a pretty common thing these days, going to space in Chanel way is definitely an invention Elon Mask would enjoy.
Drones were also the stars of the show prior to making their modeling debut on Dolce & Gabbana fashion show in Milan couple of weeks ago.
These little flying robots were mostly used as camera tools to capture the footage of the event and follow the models to a get a better close-up of clothes and accessories as in the case of Rebecca Minkoff fashion show in New York in September 2015. Italian brand Fendi was the first one to send drones to the runway to livestream their Fall/Winter 2014 fashion show to allow those, who are watching the show from the comfort of their home to feel the same emotions as bloggers sitting front row.
If others are sending robots and drones down the runway, Burberry took the most strategic approach – it’s feature “see now/buy now” allowed consumers to buy things online straight from the runway and with fast technological developments that is not the end. With the recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) soon there will be no need to go to the brands website – the app and the camera will allow you to scan the item as the model walks past you and – voila – it is in your shopping basket if not already by the door of your home.
What is it? Season 5 of Black Mirror or modern-day reality? I guess we will find that out sooner than we think.
Author: Karina Sorochynska