Fashion’s Sci-Fi Future: Incorporating Virtual Reality

As an industry, Fashion is changing. From altering schedules to suit consumers, to the rise of Instagram as self-publication, the audience is becoming increasingly important to how designers and brands present their collections. Is the newest change for designers embracing virtual reality? 

Whether through the incorporation of social media behind the scenes of a fashion show, through the rise of the celebrity model, or through the filling of fashion show front rows with fashion bloggers, Instagrammers and Youtubers – the fashion world is undeniably evolving to involve a more democratised audience. One of the largest contributing factors to this is the fashion world’s willingness to embrace new technology to create dynamic – and most importantly – fresh new platforms through which designers and brands can connect to their audience. The newest technology to be incorporated is the developing, dramatic medium – virtual reality filming.

The rise of accessible content in fashion has perhaps never been more apparent than with the incorporation of virtual reality. Virtual reality devices have entered the market over the last few years at various prices, and with varying success of take-up. Google Cardboard is the most affordable option, being made of cardboard and available for assembly at home. It is this accessible, dramatic new media presentation that has been picked as a futuristic fashion theatre for the public.

Democratic Front Row is the international runway scene’s first experiment with virtual reality. Filmed with a 360 VR live camera, the ‘front row’ made accessible to the public is at Ida Klamborn’s show at Fashion Week in Stockholm. The filming took place on February 3, and the virtual audience’s presence was represented through a light-object installation. Democratic Front Row’s website statement descries their aims as, “by letting you take a seat at Front Row we are finally able to democratize the world of fashion.”

An even more intimate view of the fashion world is offered through the first virtual reality photo shoot ‘Unstitched,’ which gives an audience outside the fashion industry a playful 360-degree insight into an editorial fashion shoot.

Photographer Ruvan Wijesooriya approached this project as an experiment with the boundaries and restrictions of photography. Having shot for clients like Burberry and Roberto Cavalli, this was a labour of passion, with the 23-person team working on the project for free. The model team, which stars two playful girls who fill the photo studio with energy, wore a few notable brands, such as Dries Van Noten.

Speaking to Nymag‘s The Cut, the photographer discussed the pitfalls of the technology, primarily that the quality of the footage does not quite convince the audience of its ‘reality.’ Instead, the photo shoot reads as an amplified a screen experience.

“Putting on the goggles, you look like an idiot. You feel kind of weird. You’re not used to it… But if you told someone 20 years ago, ‘Hey, can you run around with this notebook-size thing in your hand all day?’ people would be like, ‘You’re out of your mind.’”

Unstitched made its debut during New York’s Fashion Week, and was made available for online viewers on February 8th.