Fashion and technology don't have a particularly long history together, but in recent years tech has been slowly making its mark on the industry through wearable electronics, updated styling techniques (think laser-cut fabrics) and as a platform with which to bring collections to the masses. During Fashion Week, designers used science, social media and mechanics to bring their brands to the forefront of fashion—from spinning runways to digital magazines to Skype exclusives, the past month has not only been an onslaught of trends, but also a newfound catalyst for technological advances in style.
The Fendi Drones
The fashion elite may have heard a little buzzing above them at the Fendi Fall 2014 runway show during Milan Fashion Week—and upon looking up would have seen Google drones flying just overhead. Making waves with “the first fashion show ever seen through the eyes of the drones,” the event was caught on both stationary cameras as well as the unmanned robotics and brought fashion to a new level of technological integration. The live video feed was made available worldwide and while the quality is not perfect, it’s a definite advancement, marking the beginning of robotics in the industry. Flying drones are normally used for rescue and emergency purposes, but we’re starting to see them enter into more commercial use with recent news of Amazon’s new delivery system and now the Fendi runway.
Rebecca Minkoff & Keek
Last season the ever-tech-savy Rebecca Minkoff partnered with Snapchat and broke pretty much every rule by sharing her looks before they even premiered on the runway. For her Fall 2014 collection, the designer shared the behind-the-scenes process of creating a new line with her subscribers. Rough, unedited clips were used to give the viewer a more realistic idea of what goes into creating a collection and planning for one of the biggest runways in the world. Minkoff tried a new app called Keek, a social media platform that allows users to upload videos that are up to 36 seconds in length—that’s two to five times as much time as Vine or Instagram. "We want to be a cross between a tech and fashion company," Uri Minkoff told Mashable. "Very art centric and design centric but leverage technology at the cutting edge to make us a fashion company of the future."
Elie Saab’s Digital Magazine
Premiering a digital magazine in conjunction with Elie Saab's Paris Fashion Week runway show, The Light of Now is a bridge from the runway to the fans. While the label does not currently offer online shopping, the magazine will join with Saab’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr and other social media sites to enhance the experience for lovers of the line. As fashion week slowly loses its exclusivity, brands are rushing to find new ways to connect to consumers and most are doing it through social media. As Saab is a little behind the game, without even an e-commerce site, the digital glossy is definitely a step in the right direction. Reportedly content will be updated nine times a month and will include interviews, profiles, articles and insider information.
Victoria Beckham: The Skype Collaboration Project
Since we've never heard of Victoria Beckham—with her insane amount of press coverage and her image popping up on every best-dressed list—Skype decided to educate us and partnered with the designer to create an almost one hour documentary on her life. With behind-the-scenes footage and a timeline of her fashion dreams (which apparently started as a child browsing through her mom’s copies of Vogue), the film was showcased as an inspirational video and an opportunity to get to know Victoria—just in case you didn't already. The collaboration also gave fans the chance to submit Skype video messages asking the designer questions about her process, aesthetic and journey.
Alexander Wang’s Spinning Runway & Color Changing Leathers
Yes, we all ooh’d and ahh’d the first time we saw laser-cut fabrics. Insane amounts of details on hard-to-work materials like leather and silk suddenly grabbed our attention and changed the way designers began to work in their shops. During New York Fashion Week this year at the Alexander Wang Fall 2014 show, we saw a new first in fashion tech with outerwear that changed color when heat was applied. A large rotating stage set up with heaters spun models around slowly, their garments changing from sleek blacks into bright yellows, blues and purples upon contact with the hot air. While the collection was a success, it was this technological twist on fashion that really set the standards for the show.
Diane von Furstenburg & American Express
No stranger to social media, Diane von Furstenberg has made a bit of a name for herself as a pioneer of technology in fashion. Hosting the first shoppable Google+ hangout with Lucky Magazine’s Editor-In Chief Eva Chen, being the first designer to send Google glass down the runway (she sure does love Google) and an avid user of Twitter and Instagram, von Furstenberg has a pretty good connection with tech-savy youth. Partnering with American Express Unstaged, cardholders were treated to an exclusive 24-hour livestream of her New York Fashion Week show including backstage exclusives, interviews and intimate moments with Diane von Furstenberg along with the live band St. Vincent.