Fashion Technology is the New Black

 One thing I thoroughly enjoy is seeing the many ways that technology is changing the industries of the world. I often venture to various industry meetups in SF and abroad to see how early adopters and innovators use tech to evolve what they do. Over the years, I have become a spectator of how tech is evolving the fashion industry. Sure I can use any fashion tips I can get, a guilty pleasure is watching Project Runway (I am a fan of Heidi Klum & Tim Gunn), and let's not forget this is a global trillion dollar industry.

 The fashion industry consists of four levels: the production of raw materials, principally fibres and textiles but also leather and fur; the production of fashion goods by designers, manufacturers, contractors, and others; retail sales; and various forms of advertising and promotion. These levels consist of many separate but interdependent sectors, all of which are devoted to the goal of satisfying consumer demand for apparel under conditions that enable participants in the industry to operate at a profit. - Wikipedia

 There are many impressive fashion tech applications I have been exposed to and here are some of my favorites that leverage more innovative technologies.

Bodymetrics :
Developed by Bodymetrics, a London-based pioneer in 3D body-mapping, the Bodymetrics Pod was introduced to American shoppers for the first time during Women’s Denim Days at Bloomingdale’s in Century City, Los Angeles. This is the first time Kinect for Windows has been used commercially in the United States for body mapping in a retail clothing environment.

Bodymetrics has also made a solution for the living room that can be seen in the video below.

CLO Virtual Fashion Inc. :
 CLO Virtual Fashion Inc. is based in Seoul and its products are used by designers in industries like fashion, gaming, and education to create realistic, digital 3D clothes. Marvelous Designer and CLO3D are software tools that allow for the design of accurate patterns without the help of the other pattern CAD tools, and provide realistic clothing simulation animations so designers can see how their designs look and move on a virtual model. CLO3D is a 3D virtualization tool and supports 2D pattern file load, avatar size change, and the other features like stitch line. Marvelous Designer is mainly for animations, game, and commercial use and is compatible with other 3D tools including Maya, 3Ds Max, Maxon and other modeling tools. Marvelous Designer 2 was used in the Hobbit movie. : Virtual Dressing Room has applied advanced robotic science to solve the problem of ‘the wrong size’ for online clothes shoppers. At the heart of’s virtual fitting room is ‘FitBot’, a sophisticated robotic mannequin with artificial muscles able to mimic the shape and size of any body type – almost 100,000 different shapes.

 To populate the database of any given brand or retailer, a FitBot is dressed in each item of clothing, in each size. Each permutation is then photographed at high speed, in high resolution, while the FitBot runs rapidly through its thousands of different body shapes. Then, on the brand or retailer’s site, after asking a shopper to enter just a few basic measurements, is able to display the garment pictures that correspond exactly to his/her body shape. The customer sees exactly how the garment in the range, in any of the available sizes, will hang on them (or cling to them), and all before making their online purchase.

Mintperfect :
 The startup Mintperfect leverages elements of HTML5 to allow shoppers to view and examine the recreations of the clothes they want to purchase in 3D with no plugin needed. I have not heard much about this startup beyond the event I met the founder at, but am a fan that it is the first use of WebGL for the fashion industry I have seen.

Styku :
A product of the Microsoft Accelerator for Kinect program, Styku, has developed virtual fitting room software and body scanner technology powered by Kinect for Windows. Styku has pioneered a precise apparel fit and size prediction and visualization platform that is poised to revolutionize the way people shop for clothing. The Smart Fitting Room is designed to overcome the hurdle in online apparel sales for the online retailer; the inability to “try before I buy”.

Decoded Fashion at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

While visiting New York, I got the opportunity to attend Decoded Fashion and its hackathon finale. The show featured movers and shakers of the fashion world that included fashion model Coco Rocha and designer Zac Posen.

I was impressed by the amount of fashion applications that used technologies close to my heart.

First up was AHAlife and their augmented reality campaign that used the Layar platform.

Next was SayDuck, a startup company based in London and Helsinki. They provide a mobile augmented reality platform for showcasing products like furniture, home decorations, and fashion accessories.

Finally, there was a panel about fashion and 3D printing with a representative from Shapeways. For those that don't know, Shapeways is a 3D printing marketplace and community. It has quite an impressive gallery of designs from fashion designers.

New York based fashion designer Kimberly Ovitz took the idea of natural defense, an exoskeleton, and brought it to Shapeways. She created a fluid, organic jewelry collection that molds to the body like armor. During New York Fashion Week, Kimberly presented her first jewelry line that you can buy straight from the Fall 2013 runway, custom made for the buyer.

Bravo fashion industry players. I applaud your fashion tech forward thinking and will be keeping my eye on you. For those that want to stay current with fashion tech news, I recommend the SF FashTech Blog.


Maria Louise said…
I most definitley feel fashion tech is the new Black.

Let me know what you think of my blog art.

Gotta love it.

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