Virtually Fashionable

As London Fashion Week prepares for its first-ever 100% virtual presentation schedule in June, we take a look back at some of the fashion firsts Happy Finish has collaborated on over past seasons.

Virtually Fashionable

Earlier this week The Guardian ran a story highlighting that the next wave of London Fashion Week presentations and showrooms in June would be run via a unique online portal to enable broad access while supporting ongoing social distancing measures.  This isn’t the first time that designers and brands at the bleeding edge of the fashion industry have been among the first cultural supporters of digital innovation. 

From Burberry’s shift to direct-from-catwalk click to purchase presentations in 2016 all the way back to McQueen’s use of a holographic Kate Moss a decade earlier in 2006, fashion and technology have long catwalked in lockstep. Live streaming has become an expectation for what were once invite-only exclusive events and with increasing access given priority over elitist closed-door presentations, a lasting democratization of fashion has embedded itself in the mentality of the global industry.

Our first magic leap into the world of digital fashion innovation came in 2015 when we partnered with River Island and the British Fashion Council to create a world first VR fashion film for the launch of Jean Pierre Braganza’s Design Forum capsule collection. Working with Spanish directing collective Dvein (who have since gone on to fragrance campaign work for Jean Paul Gaultier), we realised a fully interactive and gamified digital world inspired by the design elements from Braganza’s collection. The integrated campaign, supported by a brand film and screening event, was unveiled at LFW in February 15, with influencers and press gifted a custom branded Google Cardboard headset to experience the collection in stunning interactive 3D motion.

“As long as the fast-developing technology maintains its novelty and cutting-edge chicness, it’s practically guaranteed that more and more brands will turn to it.”i-D Magazine

Following on from this, in 2016 Happy Finish collaborated with Charlotte Tilbury and supermodel Kate Moss to imagine a virtual hyper galactic world in VR to support the launch of Tilbury’s latest fragrance, Scent of a Dream. We produced a 2 minute VR experience starring Kate Moss as a celestial guide taking the user on a journey to outer space and beyond the limits of the imagination to discover the new fragrance, creating a compelling visual experience to envisage the unique combination of notes and ingredients behind the signature scent. Adding an additional experiential dimension to the release, we also provided a 360° dome that projected the video for a fully immersive sensory revelation.

“VR takes the user literally through a portal into another world. It isn’t unlike an experience of enlightenment.”Charlotte Tilbury

Back in 2017 Happy Finish collaborated with acclaimed photographer Norbert Schoerner and stylist / Fashion Editor Phoebe Arnold to produce an interactive VR360 film for Garage Magazine, featuring pieces from Burberry’s AW17 collection. The art piece was created from a mashup of stills and motion shot on location at Stonehenge along with studio photography, with users triggering content from the print edition of the magazine through a custom Wormhole Wonderland app. The cross-media experience added an additional visual and sensory layer to the editorial presentation of Burberry’s collection, expanding the narrative aesthetic of the pieces with an unmissable air of enticing tactility.

Expanding on this marriage of emerging consumer technology and fashion, we worked with photographer directors Crowns & Owls and Ted Baker that same year to take the brand’s Keeping Up with the Bakers campaign from lookbook into VR.  The project blended 360 photography and film to create a series of interactive dioramas showcasing key pieces from the SS17 collection, building a hyperreal environment with a 50s retro-pop aesthetic. The collection was fully shoppable with click-to-purchase functionality, offering an additional e-commerce entry point for consumers to access, with further retail visual merchandising activations driving footfall to flagship stores.

As fashion brands look forward to June and beyond, the unlimited range of creative possibilities offered by VR and AR as substitutes for catwalk presentations will undoubtedly trigger a host of new collaborative opportunities. Not just that, but the effectiveness, reach and engagement of digital campaigns can offer meaningful cut through at a time when editorial is overloaded with shows competing for coverage.

If you would like to discuss ideas for your digital fashion presentation our team is on hand, with experience spanning clients from Moncler, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Issey Miyake. Our solutions are adaptable, affordable and scalable to meet a full range of ambitions and budgets. 

Interested to learn more? Reach out to us here.

Written by:

Stephen Whelan, Head of Immersive Entertainment

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Stephen Whelan
Stephen Whelan
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