Tag Archives: virtual

Digital snippets: Oculus, Luxottica, Wren, Asos, Nike, Birchbox, Tom Ford, Kenzo

28 Mar

The big tech story this week has of course been about Facebook’s purchase of virtual reality headset company Oculus VR. But there were lots of others to know about too. Read on for an edit…

oculus-rift-dk2

  • Google deal with Luxottica will bring Glass to Ray-Ban, Oakley [WSJ]
  • How Wren made a viral video of strangers kissing and increased sales by nearly 14,000% [Business Insider]
  • Asos and Nike celebrate 27 years of Air Max with first Google+ shoppable hangout [Marketing Magazine]
  • Birchbox, seller of beauty products, steps out from web to open New York store [NY Times]
  • Tom Ford joins the world of e-commerce with sexy new web store [Fashionista]
  • Kenzo’s virtual aquarium highlights the danger of overfishing [PSFK]
  • Chanel releases new Coco Mademoiselle Keira Knightley ad – She’s Not There [The Inspiration Room]
  • Lancôme ramping up digital initiatives [WWD]
  • How Yoox became the Amazon of the fashion world [Telegraph]
  • Why in-store tracking might not be as bad as it sounds [CNNMoney]
  • The Shazam of fashion is here, introducing ‘ASAP54′ [Styleite]
  • Silicon Valley never talks about the real reason you don’t own a smart watch or ‘wearable tech’ [Business Insider]

 

Digital snippets: Burberry, Calvin Klein, Moschino, Saks, M&S, Primark

27 Feb

A round-up of all the latest stories surrounding fashion and tech…

 

  • Burberry reveals ‘digital innovation’ partnership with WeChat to strengthen social presence in China [The Drum]
  • Calvin Klein asks fans to snap selfies in their skivvies for #MyCalvins campaign [BrandChannel]
  • Fast-fashion: Moschino offers fans the ability to shop its McDonald’s-themed show live [Dazed Digital]
  • Saks recreates in-store beauty tutorials with six-second videos on Vine [LuxuryDaily]
  • Marks & Spencer launches new website to replace Amazon platform, after three years in the making [The Telegraph]
  • How Primark achieved 1.7m Facebook Likes in just six months [Econsultancy]
  • Former GQ editor Lauren Bans comes out as @CondeElevator Tweeter [Fashionista]
  • New privacy website lets you opt out of tracking in retail stores [AdAge]
  • Ebay buys virtual fitting room start-up PhiSix Fashion Labs [PC Mag]

Digital snippets: adidas, Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus, Bitcoin, American Apparel

20 Jan

Here’s a highlight of the best stories in the fashion and tech space over the past couple of weeks…

adidas_Stan_Smith_Popup

  • adidas launches Stan Smith pop-up store, includes 3D-printing station (as pictured) [Dexigner]
  • Louis Vuitton debuts spring campaign on Instagram [Refinery29]
  • Neiman Marcus CEO apologises for data breach, offers free credit monitoring [The Verge]
  • Overstock CEO: Why we’re accepting Bitcoins [CNBC]
  • Five reasons why American Apparel is bullish on Twitter [AdWeek]
  • Aerie’s unretouched ads ‘challenge supermodel standards’ for young women [Huffington Post]
  • Warby Parker launches interactive 2013 annual report [Laughing Squid]
  • Wet Seal hires 16-year-old to build its following on Snapchat [AdAge]
  • François-Henri Pinault puts his money where his mobile is via Square, hints at future for luxury world buying into tech [FT Material World]
  • Show business: are fashion shows still relevant? [BoF]
  • Beacons: what they are, how they work, and why Apple’s iBeacon technology is ahead of the pack [Business Insider]
  • Personalisation is key for beauty omnichannel strategy: L’Oréal Luxe exec [Luxury Daily]
  • Try on virtual make-up and pay with your hand with retail tech at CES 2014 [BrandChannel]

2013: a designer meets digital year in review

23 Dec

DolceGabbana_AW13

What a busy year it’s been…

From 3D printing taking its first trip down the New York Fashion Week catwalk, to the launch of Vine and Instagram videos, not to mention the continuing debate about the role of bloggers as influencers, the increased focus on the potential market size of wearables, and Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year as ‘selfie’one thing after another has rapidly impacted the role of innovation in this niche fashion x digital space.

Below then, are 10 of the posts you loved the most on F&M this year. It’s an interesting collection, nodding to familiar ideas like storytelling and crowdsourcing, as well as higher quality content, and a general reassessment of what it is that actually works in this space. Video content does of course also have its place, as does the continuing power of celebrity.

Thank you for reading and see you in 2014!

Press may have pushed “tech” angle of new H&M store, but less than a week since launch, nothing seems to be working

20 Nov

H&M tech store, Times Square

H&M’s deserted digital catwalk in its new Times Square store

I’ve been looking forward to visiting the new H&M store in Times Square since it opened last Thursday off the back of the tech innovation it’s supposed to house. As per the headlines that ran:

I finally got there last night, but unfortunately was sorely disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, from the moment you walk in the space feels fantastic; it’s high energy and it looks beautiful. Three floors and 42,000 square feet of great design, only enhanced by the huge volume of fluorescent signage throughout. But the technology story that’s dominated the press, well… none of it was working.

In the first instance, there are mannequins with screens in front of their faces supposed to play videos, display photos and showcase special deals. Screens that on a busy Tuesday night the week before Thanksgiving in the US, were switched off (as pictured below). All of them.

Then there’s the fitting room checkouts. Not a high tech initiative, but certainly a forward thinking one to help bust queues in a store that’s on one of the most trafficked corners of New York City – 42nd Street and Broadway. Again, closed. And the store was busy.

H&M tech store, Times Square

The blank digital screens in H&M’s new Times Square store

It was the mezzanine level with its dedicated DJ booth supposed to “spin music continuously”, and digitally-enabled runway, that I was most looking forward to. There, shoppers should be able to pose for a series of photos in pieces from the H&M line, and then see themselves displayed on one of the other LED screens around the store (there are 7,000 square feet of LED screens in total, including two 30-by-20-foot ones on the outside of the building).

As per WWD: “Shoppers choose an outfit in the nearby dressing rooms, enter their e-mail address into a computer and await the signal: ‘Walk’ on a red flashing sign. Each ‘model’ is told what time his/her image will be on view on the screens inside and out. Images sent to shoppers’ e-mail accounts can be used on social media.”

When I arrived on that level at about 5.30pm last night, there was no one to be found, not even the DJ (as the top picture shows). A lone sales associate clearing up behind the desk said she hadn’t seen anyone on the catwalk all day so she presumed they weren’t using it. I asked another on the ground floor who said she wasn’t sure but assumed they just had it turned off for the day, and another who said it was broken so she thought they weren’t able to use it. None of them were 100% confident about what was going on.

The computer next to the runway also displayed an error message regarding potential damage to its battery life if left plugged in (as pictured below). I was in the store for about an hour and nothing changed, though I didn’t overly expect it to as the story was the same on Monday night when a colleague of mine also visited.

The disappointment of all this for me is nothing to do with the fact a few glitches mean things aren’t working right now, but more that it’s such a sign of what retailers are achieving at present across the board – aiming too high and delivering too low. No wonder there’s constant push back from senior management about ROI.

There’s a huge amount happening with in-store technology, and a lot of it really exciting stuff that garners an enormous amount of press coverage, but does it really mean anything at all if it doesn’t work merely a few days after the big launch party when most of the journalists have walked away? A classic tale of smoke and mirrors.

I’ve had other experiences recently where I know something is working in a department store but it’s supposed to be a guided experience and without a sales associate on hand to demonstrate it to me I can’t participate in it. That’s essentially the same issue; an attempt at tech integration failed at the first hurdle, that being enabling the consumer to even use it.

There are a lot of arguments about the pros and cons of retail technology these days – from making it feel seamless to the shopper rather than gimmicky and unrelated to the persona of the brand, to ensuring staff are rightly trained to use and demo it – but I would argue the most important thing of all, and I think you’ll agree, is that there needs to be a commitment toward it working for longer than just on opening night.

H&M tech store, Times Square

The empty mezzanine level of H&M’s new Times Square store

H&M tech store, Times Square

H&M’s empty DJ booth in its new Times Square store

H&M tech store, Times Square

An error message on the digital runway screens of H&M’s new Times Square store

H&M tech store, Times Square

An error message on the digital runway screens of H&M’s new Times Square store

H&M tech store, Times Square

A blank digital screen in H&M’s new Times Square store

H&M tech store, Times Square

H&M’s new Times Square store

Asos wins tech award at World Retail Congress

22 Oct

Asos_fitvisualiser_virtusize

Asos won the retail technology initiative of the year at this month’s World Retail Awards, for its Fit Visualiser tool.

Powered by Swedish company Virtusize, the technology enables shoppers to see how well an item might fit based on similar pieces they already own.

As pictured, it plays out in the form of a button next to the colour and size options on a product page (at this point for Asos’ own-brand products only). By clicking on it, users are invited to add measurements of a piece they already have to compare to the one they’re trying to buy.

The tool will then display overlaying silhouettes of the two garments in two-dimensional form and pinpoint the exact variations in bust, waist and length for instance. Different sizing options alongside allow the shopper to work out which to buy.

According to reports at launch earlier this year, using such a tool is proven to reduce fit-related returns, in some cases by up to 50%. Virtusize co-founder, Peder Stubert, said: “Many virtual fitting companies have tried and failed in this area because their solutions have been too costly or inaccurate. Our positive results from the ASOS [six-month] trial signal that there is a bright future ahead for our 2D garment comparison method.”

Other retailers who have used the tool include Nelly.com and Stylebop.com. A video below loosely demonstrates it being experimented with:

KCD’s Digital Fashion Shows open to the public

29 Jan KCD

The Digital Fashion Shows initiative launched by PR agency KCD in 2012 as an invite-only online catwalk series for press and buyers, will be open to the public for the first time this season.

Kickstarting for autumn/winter 2013/14 during New York Fashion Week, the virtual runway shows aim to provide fans with the same “front row experience” as industry insiders. A slicker version than live-streamed affairs, however, they incorporate a pre-recorded catwalk presentation, high res images ready for download, detailed notes about the collection, and even beauty shots.

“The log-in response from non-invitees was tremendous and as it continued to grow with each digital show it became necessary to respond to our client’s request to open the platform’s doors wider for greater exposure,” said Rachna Shah, KCD’s digital managing director.

Accordingly, the now open nature of the platform will also enable users to share each show via email and social media for the first time this season, as well as invite friends to watch.

Designers Peter Som and Pierre Balmain have already announced participation, hosting their runways on the site on Wednesday, February 13 at 9am EST, and Friday, February 8 at 9am EST, respectively.

Som said: “The eye goes through an added process designing for the digital runway. You see the looks more dimensionally and more cinematically which is an inspiring new challenge.” He explained that the format will provide “an opportunity to try out a new platform that can reach a lot of people. The show will tap right into the digital and online presence of my brand and it will allow me to try something new creatively.” It is being shot at Made at Milk in New York and wil feature eight models.

Pierre Balmain meanwhile is using DFS for the second season, previously with a show recorded in Beijing, this time in Paris. Menswear brand Alexander Plokhov will also show on the site on Saturday, February 9 at 10am EST. Further announcements will follow for Paris.

Valentino updates virtual museum, launches in-browser

27 Nov

You may remember Valentino launched a virtual museum in December 2011. Designed as a downloadable desktop app, it was met with somewhat lukewarm reception in terms of its design and more importantly, its technical ability.

It’s great to hear therefore, the team has launched a browser verison. At www.valentinogaravanimuseum.com, users can now explore the archives of the designer within their internet journey. There are still a couple of hoops to jump, such as downloading a plug-in, but the overall result is simpler, more appealing and should help up traffic.

At the original launch last year, Valentino Garavani’s business partner Giancarlo Giammetti spoke about keeping the virtual concept exciting by staying abreast of technological change. He also promised frequent content updates to the museum, including new drawings and videos.

That is finally happening with the web browser launch too. Two new videos have been added: one from Valentino’s collaboration with the New York City Ballet (as below), and the other of the recent presentation of his Commandeur de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres, in Paris. Hopefully there’ll be more to follow.

The site also has a dedicated homepage (before the plug-in) featuring news, pics of the week and an ‘In the Press’ section – nice for SEO and further suggestive of more regular content updates.

Offline, Valentino’s couture archive specifically is the subject of a new exhibition at Somerset House in London, opening this Thursday, November 29.

Digital snippets: Burberry, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Ralph Lauren, Proenza Schouler

18 Sep

Some more great stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital over the past week:

  • Burberry opens digitally integrated store in London (as pictured) [Mashable]
  • Marie Claire claims UK first with Dolce & Gabbana video ad in October issue [Media Week]
  • Ralph Lauren previews SS13 accessories collection on Instagram [WWD]
  • Proenza Schouler’s spring collection was inspired by Tumblr [Refinery 29]
  • Uniqlo promotes San Fran store with interactive experience starring YouTube cat Maru [TheInspirationRoom]
  • Zappos crunches Pinterest data to suggest tailored purchase recommendations [Contagious]
  • New York Fashion Week street style is often a billboard for brands [NY Times]
  • These virtual models could be the future of online shopping [Business Insider]

Bloomingdale’s pushes wearable technology with Microsoft Printing Dress for #FNO

7 Sep

One of the technology highlights from yesterday’s Fashion’s Night Out in New York, was the presence of Microsoft’s Printing Dress in Bloomingdale’s.

A research project exploring the intersection of fashion and technology, it showcases real-time tweets by integrating computer components and a projector under the surface of its skirt.

Consumers were encouraged to tag their Twitter posts with #MSBloomingdales to then see them appear on the dress.

The award-winning protoype (first presented at the Design Exhibition at the International Symposium of Wearable Computers in San Francisco in 2011) is otherwise made almost entirely out of black and white rice paper.

Although at this stage it’s essentially an art installation, the dress could also theoretically see wearers typing messages on the keyboard incorporated in its bodice to then project for everyone to see.

Bloomingdale’s was also playing host to the Swivel virtual dressing room from FaceCake in its window displays, which makes use of Microsoft Kinect to allow consumers to try-on items by interacting from the other side of the glass. See more in the video below, and read what else Microsoft is up to during New York Fashion Week, here.

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