Fashion tech at LFW 2016: Front row HoloLens, chatbots & more

A mixed reality catwalk & more tech experiments from London Fashion Week
Fashion tech at LFW 2016

London Fashion Week kicked off for another season this weekend and, while its relationship with wearable tech has been a bit of a slow burner, we've already seen a couple of interesting experiments on the catwalk.

Last week's New York Fashion Week - sponsored by Intel - had more smart clothing and accessories on show, for sure. At LFW, after last year's payment wearables and camera jackets, the focus so far is on how to present designer collections and get people talking about them.We'll update this story throughout the week.

A mixed reality fashion show

In New York, up and coming designers livestreamed their shows in 360 degrees with Intel and VOKE - we tried it out on the Gear VR at home and it was a pretty convincing catwalk experience.

In London, VIPs at the Martine Jarlgaard show were able to use one of five Microsoft HoloLens AR headsets to view the actual fashion show in a world first.

LCF's Fashion Innovation Agency and 3D capturing, HoloLens devs DoubleMe made it possible by scanning in the entire S/S 2017 collection. Right now, it's static images but in the future, hologram models could walk right in front of you.

AR mannequins

london fashion week wearable tech

Another - slightly weirder - use of AR came from Lyst which used iPads to 'dress' semi-naked human mannequins standing in a shop window for LFW. The aim was to create volumetric augmented reality that shows the textures, colours and movement of fashion garments correctly. Still, pretty weird.

Rise of the chatbots

london fashion week wearable tech

Smartwatches and chatbots could go together like PB and J in the near future. And over at Burberry, as well as livestreaming the show (sadly not in 360-degrees this time), the fashion house has been using Facebook Messenger chatbots to allow fans to interact with the collection - there's animated sketches, emojis, GIFs and mini games for now. We prescribe some sort of VR or AR experience for all this extra content next season.

No smart clothing at Topshop yet

london fashion week wearable tech

Topshop's leading the charge with its recent Top Pitch wearable tech competition which smart textiles startup Loomia won this summer.

But it was obviously much too soon to see heated jackets or safety-inclined smart clothes hit the catwalks at its SS17 Unique show. While you wait, read our interview with Madison Maxey, founder of Brooklyn-based Loomia.

Still to come...

london fashion week wearable tech

The event finishes on 20 September so we'll keep an eye out and update this story with any more connected clothing news over the next two days. After that, the fashion crowd decamps to Milan and then Paris where it's much less likely we will see any fashion tech collaborations. Still, Huawei is once again partnering with Vogue Italia so we could see some smartwatch or VR action.

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