November 22, 2015

IBM and 360Fashion Show in San Francisco - This is Fashion, That is Technology.

Recently, I attended an awards show from 360Fashion Network and IBM. The show was aimed at bringing together the two worlds of fashion and technology.

The event was held the Metreon in downtown San Francisco and had many fun fashion-tech related projects on display. The event was an exclusive invite-only and they gave away a lot of goodies like elderflower prosecco and tapas served in miniature take-out boxes. 


Among the items featured within the showcase was my personal favorite, a model of the Nixie, a wearable drone.


After munching on tapas and sipping bubbly drinks, the runway show began, which I found pleasantly theatrical. The CEO of the 360Fashion Network and the General Manager of IBM, Sandy Carter kicked off the event with a great deal of enthusiasm.

Anina Net, CEO of the Fashion Tech Network (left)

Sandy Carter, General Manager or IBM
At the start of the show were some beautiful pieces showcased under a faint blue light, which in itself was an odd choice of lighting because it was difficult to see much of anything at all.

LED accessories

Symbolic 'cloud' clutch and laser cut fabric
LED Earrings and neoprene dress

 Creative reflective fabric and textures.


3D-printed tiara and embellishment experiments.


As the show continued, the disconnect between fashion and technology actually seemed to grow, until the gap left me feeling a little confused.

Microsoft Kinect
A few pieces of 'tech' were brought out, among them a Window's Kinect, which was then used to sort of scan the models as they reached the end of the catwalk wearing pieces of lingerie.

An odd way to use Microsoft Kinect by using it to scan the models up and down

It was unclear what the models were pantomiming exactly, maybe trying to understand what the tech objects were for


Maybe fashion inspired by the Fifth Element? 


Then there was this. I think the memo about face wearables not working out may have been forgotten.


VR suggested as a fashion statement? Yikes. However I did really like the neoprene tops, dresses and LED handbag (unless I'm going anywhere other than a rave).


IBM's version of glass paired with large bulky headphones...

All kinds of wearable devices being worn while candy was passed out to the audience - delicious bribery
Emoji brooch (⌐■_■)
The outer space segment of the show got really interesting..





The best piece was shown towards the end of the show - the Interactive Particle Physics Dress.


The fabric was a print of a bubble-chamber photo of a particle collision (or cascade). In the creator's own words:
The concept was to start the LED's right at the center point (that I created a teeny little heart to be lighted up). There would be a Polar heart monitor worn against the skin underneath the top of the dress.  Chung-Hay would program the LED's to change its pattern of movement and pulsation based on the fluctuation of the heart rate. We both really wanted to diffuse the light, because with a lot of wearables you get this "Christmas tree" pinpointy effect and we didn't want that. We wanted to have a lightbox effect.
Looking forward to more from IBM and their BlueMix platform.

As much as I'd enjoyed the show, the main issue I had was that there was no clear merging of fashion and technology. It was almost more of a clear disconnect between the two by calling out what makes the two concepts fundamentally different in the first place. This is fashion...that is technology, without using technology to give fashion a more useful or functional edge.  What these creators don't quite understand is that technology can help make people's lives easier or more beautiful, it doesn't have to be something that appears to be straight out of a science fiction novel. The particle dress came the closest to this, and I am really hoping to learn a bit more from the creators themselves. On a side note I'd also love to see those neoprene skirts available in Nordstrom's soon...would be great to rock one just for fun.

Have a great week everyone and keep the fashion-tech experiments coming! Can't wait to see more progress as this area really has yet to be clearly defined.

XO -Julia

Thanks for reading! All photos taken by photographer and engineer Giuseppe Ottaviano.
Find my live updates on Instagram and TwitterThese opinions are all my own and may contain affiliate links.