Mixed Reality returns to LFW with interactive hologram experience

A mixed reality experience hit London Fashion Week once again this season, this time with a level of interaction thrown in. The Fashion Innovation Agency teamed up with designer Sabinna and virtual fitting room app Pictofit, to create a holographic version of her new collection, shown using Microsoft Hololens.

The line was shot on a model using a rig of 64 high-resolution DSLR cameras and calibrated light sources. The result not only lets users explore the garments in detail by walking up to, and around, the holograms wearing the headset, but also switch garments using simple hand movements. The top and bottom of each of the looks can be changed in turn, mixed and matched to allow the viewer to play stylist with the line.

Mixed reality is a step on from augmented reality (as this is often otherwise called) for the fact it appears as though “in” the real world, rather than just on top of it, and as it improves, is all about the interaction you can have with it.

Stefan Hauswiesner, CEO of Pictofit, who created the app for the experience, said: “[Mixed] reality has the power to change how we interact with fashion. From the outfit decision in the morning to buying clothes online, we want to see how we are going to look. We want to be inspired, try different combinations and ask our friends what they think. It’s a social experience and a huge opportunity for [it] to become something we use every day.”

Pictofit is otherwise a tool that allows users to virtually try on outfits (in 2D form) using an avatar that matches their own body shape and size. In this instance the fashion week collection is shown on one specific model, but it’s not too much of a leap to imagine the same experience on a likeness of your hologram self. Rather than just seeing and interacting with the line, that would swiftly turn the initiative into a commercial play.

Matthew Drinkwater, head of the Fashion Innovation Agency, said: “Introducing interactivity into mixed reality is a new step for the fashion industry and points towards next-generation experiences for consumers and designers. Immersive, transformative, the potential impact on the industry for this technology is huge.”

The Fashion Innovation Agency previously hosted the Martine Jarlgaard London show at London Fashion Week in September 2016. It similarly saw Hololens used to show a mixed reality version of the collection, albeit a non-interactive one. The aim was to reimagine the catwalk show; challenging what it consists of by removing the barrier between the physical location and the audience.

The shift for this season shows how fast the technology is progressing, Drinkwater explained. What comes next is a greater number of cameras so as to remove the still very computer-generated feel of the holograms, and longer-term, more opportunity for creativity, he explained.