Last month, the Bay Area had its own San Francisco Fashion Week with the theme “Tech Drives Fashion”, and those three words could not have been a better motto for this event. Fashion and technology are two industries that have always been in contradiction. And yet virtual reality is bringing a perfect symbiosis of both worlds.
For centuries, fashion has been an industry dominated by elites, followed by a happy few who get the privilege to be invited to a runway show. However, virtual reality has drastically changed the game by making those runway shows accessible to anyone (well, anyone with a VR headset).
Thanks to platforms like Nowfashion or Obsess (release TBA), we get to be seated front row, and experience the show as if we were actually attending the Fashion Week. And by that I mean every fashion week: Paris, Milan, New York, Tokyo, everything becomes within reach. In the words of Misha Nonoo, fashion designer: “That’s the beauty of digital; somebody has a front row seat while sitting in their armchair.”
Although it might seem like something that was inaugurated in San Francisco, it is quite the opposite. In February 2014, Topshop created one of the first runway 360° video and made it available to Londoners during three days following the Topshop show. Dior was the first high-fashion brand to create their own VR headset, -designed in Dior’s own workshops- called “Dior Eyes”. It was just a matter of time before Balenciaga, Rebecca Minkoff, Tommy Hilfiger and many more followed them and created their own virtual reality product.
Other companies are trying to improve in-store customer experience with virtual reality mirrors, which allow customers to try different outfits on a virtual version of their body, and finally end the hassle of changing rooms. Fashion retail experts are confident that virtual reality will transform the way consumers interact with brands.
Some other, more adventurous minds skipped the entertaining part of VR and are already anticipating VR as a sales channel, and by that they intend to disrupt the classical e-commerce scheme.
Because when it comes to online shopping, the experience can be very overwhelming, boring and flat. Have you noticed that we shop for clothing exactly the same way that we shop for gardening tools? Because all e-commerce sites share that squared, scroll-down design that gives so little space to creativity. We expect that in the next few years we will be able to browse clothing through our VR headset to see the products in 3D, as they should be.
Although it’s all still in research phase, we are confident that entrepreneurs will quickly catch-up on the technology and we expect some major changes in the way we shop for clothing.