Can 3D Runways Fix the Broken Fashion Show Industry?

Once upon a time, in a fashion capital far far away, there was a magical thing called a “fashion show.” It was a splendid and exclusive event where the most prestigious fashion designers could show new collections to buyers that would place orders large enough to fill retail centers around the world. Consumers wouldn’t even see the next season’s trends, except for in press coverage, until the orders hit the stores many months later.

But then one day, digital media happened and changed everything.

All of a sudden fashion shows were being live streamed on Youtube, tweets with comments were being shown on projection screens above the runway, and eventually designers began selling their clothes online to consumers immediately after the show.

As the exclusive gates were broken down and the world entered the scene, we began to see what is called the democratization of fashion. In many respects, this evolution has bastardized the fashion industry. It has allowed talent-less individuals to share their voice. But it has also given opportunity to those who deserve it. It has created competition, which in turn has created a bigger and more prosperous industry.

As the purpose and economics of the fashion show changes, the industry is looking to digital media to reinvent it. Many people think that video is a more descriptive, entertaining, and detailed way to present new fashion collections. And CCP Games and Nicola Formichetti have partnered up to make it happen in 3D.

Nicola Formichetti — CCP Games Collaboration from CCP Games on Vimeo.

This digital look book features an avatar of Rick Genest (aka ZombieBoy) walking on a catwalk wearing  a leather jacket with crisscross belts that Mr. Formichetti designed expressly for the world of make-believe. The video was shown at his BOFFO pop-up shop on that open don September 8th in New York.

“I’ve been working with a digital pattern cutter,” he said. “How crazy is that?”

The video, described as an interactive 3-D rendering, will be shown on a seven-foot-tall screen, and viewers will be able to manipulate the angle and speed using an iPad that will be docked at a nearby podium.

“The technology has moved along a lot from the Super Mario days,” Mr. Formichetti said. However, it isn’t all going smoothly. Burberry presented its fall collection in 3-D screenings to mixed reviews last year (the models didn’t jump off of the screen very effectively, and Zegna combined 3-D film and live models for its men’s show in Milan in January (was lost in translation to at-home viewers).

The real goal for digital media in fashion shows is going to be to project both the excitement of the event along with the actual details in the garments.


Matthew Mountford
Helium Magazine

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