London Fashion Week 2017: No smart clothing but plenty of fashion tech

Temperature sensing hair dye and mixed reality shopping in London
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London Fashion Week has once again shied away from showing off smart clothing on the catwalks, leaving the high fashion experiments to New York. But we're still seen plenty of interesting connected-self concepts in fashion and beauty over the past few days.

Here's what caught our eye from the LFW A/W 17 shows, events and announcements this week. The schedule finishes on Tuesday 21 February so we'll be sure to add any last-day news. Up next: Paris.

Colour changing hair

London Fashion Week 2017: No smart clothing but plenty of fashion tech

Lauren Bowker's studio The Unseen is back at London Fashion Week after showing brain-reading headwear made from jewels in previous seasons.

This time the designer and chemist has skipped the body-sensing wearable altogether with her hair dye which changes colour when the user's temperature shifts. Inspired by a 'glamor spells' scene in the witch movie The Craft, the range includes seven semi-permanent hair dyes which react to either body or environmental temperature changes e.g. white blonde to ice blue when it's freezing, black to crimson when you blush.

Bowker and her team manipulated the chemical bonds in the dyes to cause the reaction and the project builds on ideas we've seen from Cute Circuit, Anouk Wipprecht and Hussein Chalayan around expressing our emotions via our appearance.

Speaking of beauty, the Lights of Soho pop-up for LFW had interactive smart mirrors alongside tutorials and a collaboration with beauty app MakeUp Plus.

Shopping in mixed reality

The ever-interesting Fashion Innovation Agency teamed up with London based label Sabinna and Pictofit to make a mixed reality shopping experience of the knitwear collection for the Microsoft HoloLens.

The garments were shot using a 64-strong DSLR camera rig and then LFW attendees using the app were able to mix and match the garments, either wearing the AR helmet or via a mobile app. With HoloLens, the experience was controlled by swiping your hand to switch up the virtual outfits to "try on" before buying.

"Introducing interactivity into mixed reality is a new step for the fashion industry and points towards next-generation experiences for consumers and designers," said the FIA's Matthew Drinkwater who also commented that the team had made "big strides" since last September's Martine Jarlgaard AR fashion show. Check out the behind-the-scenes video above.

Fashathon coming this summer

London Fashion Week 2017: No smart clothing but plenty of fashion tech

The Fashion Innovation Agency also used London Fashion Week to announce its upcoming Fashathon - great word - this summer. Up to 50 participants will be able to take part in the two day workshop at the London College of Fashion on 30 June and 1 July.

The main areas of focus include smart materials, AI, robotics, the Internet of Things, VR and AR plus experts, mentors and the incubator Setsquared will be on hand to help designers and students develop their ideas. Apply here if you're interested.

Fashion shows livestreamed in 360

London Fashion Week 2017: No smart clothing but plenty of fashion tech

Following Samsung's international VR fashion presentation last week at NYFW, this is a trend that's hear to stay: catwalks beamed in 360 degrees to YouTube. The idea is that fashion fans can feel like they're really there at the VIP events either inside mobile VR headsets or just swiping around on phones.

Fashion Scout, the LFW venue for up and coming designers, livestreamed a portion of its schedule using $4,000 spherical Orah 4i cameras set up in the various rooms for shows and presentations.

Check out a few of the vids here and here, all filmed from a bird's-eye-view above the rows of guests, near the photographer's pit.


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Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

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