Virtual Fashion at London Fashion Week

I am an avid reader of many fashion bloggers, including Luxury Experts from Sacha Orloff. Why? Well, being a fashion designer myself, I like to keep ahead of the trend on new ideas. A great way to do that is to track a selected group of fashion trend watchers and reporters.  I think fashion bloggers like Luxury Experts have their sights set on emerging trends like, for example, trends like ours using new technology in helping designers develop fashion. For example, today I was reading Sacha Orloff’s article about how “luxury fashion brands like Burberry are embracing the cyberworld.”

I agree with her position that leading brands are already taking steps to become digital leaders and influencers. We saw this quite clearly when Burberry created fashion history last February by allowing viewers to participate in a virtual 3D catwalk show.

But I also see this as only the first step. In fact, it’s why we think Virtual Runway™ is unique and leading charge to using these new technologies to help designers. Fashion designers need new options for getting their designs to market faster and they need the ability to reach a more global audience. A traditional fashion show, such as those you see produced for New York Fashion Week or London Fashion Week cost a lot of money to produce. In fact, a New York City runway show at Lincoln Center can easily tip the scales at $500,000.  Yes, that is a half million dollars, for some major hair-tearing back stage and some fast-paced fashion on the catwalk.

There are a great many wonderful designers whose work is stellar, but because they cannot afford to present a full scale runway show, their work will never be seen beyond a small, local audience.  For so many designers, showing their work on the runway simply doesn’t make fiscal sense.

Attending a runway show and seeing fabulous fashion up close and in person is an amazing experience.  I would never contend that this physical catwalk experience can be replaced.  However, I do think there will be an increasing number of options available to the emerging designer who wants to present their work in a similar format, but without breaking their budget.  For example, Virtual Runway enables designers to quickly and easily present a runway show, and allows designers to not only show their work to media, but also to sell directly from the runway through a few mouse clicks.  Virtual Runway turns a traditional marketing channel into a new sales channel while keeping the original marketing channel value.

Designers are already exploring these new channels, especially emerging designers for whom services like Virtual Runway enables them to have the runway experience at a fraction of the cost of a New York Fashion Week runway show.

Related articles:

Lights, Camera, Action! Runway 3.0 Models Take the Catwalk

Burberry to stream catwalk show in 3D simultaneously across the globe

Stars Turn Out for 3D Burberry Fashion Show

FRI Showcasing at PDMA Global Conference

It’s been a while since we’ve posted. Gosh, we’ve been busy! So much going on at FRI this summer. Just wanted to pop in and share our excitement about an upcoming event this Fall.

Fashion Research Institute was selected by the Product Development and Management Association to showcase our work with Virtual Runway(TM) and Black Dress Design Studio.  The PDMA is hosting the 34th Annual Global Conference on Product Innovation October 16-20th in Orlando, FL.

One of the keynote speakers is Janet A. Carr, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Customer Engagement – Coach, Inc.  I can’t wait to see what she has to say about innovation and fashion !

I’m personally excited that I’ll also get to see the infamous Dan Pink speak. Okay, not as excited as the fact that we were chosen to showcase, but certainly a close 2nd.

For more information about what we will be presenting, visit http://conference.pdma.org/showcase_participants.cfm. And wish us luck on going after BEST OF SHOW !

Lights, Camera, Action! Runway 3.0 Models Take the Catwalk Take 2

We worked with Brittany Chonka, one of our student interns, over the last two semesters  helping her develop her physical and her virtual collections.  All of this effort culminated at Runway 3.0, with hercollection shown on both the physical catwalk with her avatar models walking the big screen behind her live models.

After Missy’s demi-collection, which was shown earlier in the event, Britt’s collection closed the group of senior collections with her collection of six pieces.  Britt used an array of materials, including lace, leather, taffeta, suede, fur, and fiberoptics.  Inspired by the steampunk and neo-Victorian trends, Brittany’s work incorporated special buckles as her closeures and had a decidedly theatrical feel.

Britt’s work is shown here, both on the physical Runway 3.0 catwalk and on the Virtual Runway™ catwalk.

Accredited Virtual Fashion Summer 2010 Courses

ACCREDITED 3- CREDIT VIRTUAL FASHION DISTANCE LEARNING COURSES

Designed for the currently matriculated student or for the returning, nontraditional student, FTT495 is a 3-credit college course taught through Buffalo State University.  Taught completely on-line, students from around the world may register for this summer course that will be offered in Session A : taught June 1-June 26, 2010; Session B: taught  June 28 -July 24, 2010;   or Session C: Taught July 26-August 14, 2010.    Teaching is focused on using Photoshop to develop fashion for virtual worlds.

Tech requirements: Fast internet connection, hardware suitable to run Second Life, Photoshop, scanner, account on ScienceSim.com and Second Life, Skype account

Previous experience: Exposure to Photoshop. Users must know the overall PS menu and be able to access the Tool menu.

Duration: 2.5 hour class times TBA by instructor [2-4:30pm EST M-F].

Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (Per Credit Hour)

NY State resident
Tuition (per credit hour) $207
College fee (per credit hour) $.85
Activity fee (flat fee) $5
Health fee (per credit hour) $9.60
Athletic fee (per credit hour) $10.50
Technology fee (per credit hour) $13.50

Out-of-state resident
Tuition (per credit hour) $536
College fee (per credit hour) $.85
Activity fee (flat fee) $5
Health fee (per credit hour) $9.60
Athletic fee (per credit hour) $10.50
Technology fee (per credit hour) $13.50

Register at the Buffalo State University web site: http://www.buffalostate.edu/summer/

Session A registration begins April 7 through June 2, class starts June 1.

Session A [1980] FTT495 VIRTUAL FASHION: VIRTUAL WORLD

Session B registration begins April 7 through June 2, class starts June 28.

Session B [1981] FTT495 VIRTUAL FASHION: VIRTUAL WORLD

Session C registration begins April 7 through June 2, class starts July 26.

Session C [1982] FTT495 VIRTUAL FASHION: VIRTUAL WORLD

This course follows a collection-oriented design sequence, in which the class is expected to develop a mood board, color story, and concept boards for 6 outfits which will be developed for inclusion in a virtual fashion show, which will be designed as a group project. The course includes class work and home work and follows an aggressive schedule successfully piloted with real life fashion design students.  Students have full creation privileges in the online classroom as well as an assigned space for use for the duration of the class. Students receive virtual tool kit resources as part of their tuition.

All texture work is expected to be accomplished off line as part of the homework assignments.  Extensive resources and documentation are provided in the classroom, and students have full access to the classroom during their course.  All work is graded and receives feedback from the instructor. Students will complete 3 outfits, develop an initial label concept, and complete an initial showroom/store design. They will show their work on a runway at the final class, using their avatars as models.

Students must provide their own computer, internet connection, scanner, and image editing program(s) as well as have Second Life and Skype accounts.

Recommended text book: Designing Dreams, Shenlei E. Winkler, available on Amazon.com

About the instructor:

Shenlei Winkler (Shenlei Flasheart in SL) is a 30 year veteran of the fashion industry.  Her work spans both couture and mass market design and development for the real life apparel industry.  A successful designer, her lifetime sales of her real life apparel designs have now reached more than $70 million USD, with more than 25 million-dollar styles in her portfolio.  Her couture work has appeared extensively on stage and movie screen.  Winkler has also enjoyed success in Second Life, where she has designed fashion since 2005, with three popular brands including Prim & Proper (one of the top 400 Second Life earners in 2006), Flash & Trash, and Debutante. Her educational background includes three design degrees, including two from the prestigious Fashion Intitute of Technology.  Currently, she is the CEO and founder of the Fashion Research Institute which is focused on researching and developing virtualization technologies with particular emphasis for the apparel industry.  Her research areas include content licensing for virtual goods, virtualization of enterprise in immersive workspaces, OpenSim enterprise application development, and user immersion in virtual worlds.

More details on the Fashion Research Institute’s Blog: Spring/Summer 2010 Courses

To see work from previous students, please see: http://blip.tv/file/2057206

Lights, Camera, Action! Runway 3.0 Models Take the Catwalk

After the swirl of the backstage, it was almost a relief to find our seats and watch the show.  FRI student intern Heather Sloma (she did some great work with us this semester which we’ll show very soon) joined us after pitching in to get Missy’s models properly bedazzled.

Missy’s demi-collection of three pieces was shown early in the show, with Britt’s senior collection closing the senior group.  We’ll start with Missy’s models, with her Virtual Runway avatar models shown on the large screen behind her live models.