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Colour-switch jumper is all the fashion
Jumpers that glow fluorescent pink if the wearer is feeling happy, digital showrooms and virtual reality headsets are all the rage at this year's London Fashion Show.
The latest catwalk trends go hand-in-hand with cutting edge tech fashions such as virtual showrooms - conceived by British start-up Avenue Imperial.
One way shoppers can avoid the crush on Oxford Street is to browse their favourite shops online.
The software combines GPS mapping with panoramic photography giving a 360 degree tour of a store with clickable items for purchase.
Avenue Imperial, which has launched the technology with shoe designer Jimmy Choo, has a team of five and generates a turnover of £150,000.
Founder Nicolas Rossi, a former derivatives trader, sees this as the next chapter in online retail.
"With the rapid development in technology, it is now possible to really bring the physical and digital worlds together. That goes well beyond the flat, 2D imagery currently found online," he said.
"The very latest high-resolution panoramic photography and software developed from 3D mapping and architecture are now being brought to the service of retailers to create a new and exciting world of 'V-tail'."
The other technologies emerging at London Fashion Week, which started yesterday across the city, include mood expressing jumpers, invented by Sensoree, a tech company in San Francisco.
The wearable technology interprets the user's emotion levels an display them instantly.
Via a headpiece, software reads neural impulses and changes the colour of the jumper to match the wearer's mood.
Avenue Imperial as featured on BBC's Shopgirls
Technology in the spotlight in the Burberry show
Jimmy Choo has developed a virtual showroom, utilising technology similar to Google’s Street View and high-definition panoramic photography. This enables shoppers to tour its range of luxury shoes in a virtual high-end store, and then buy online.
“The luxury space is more than just a product catalogue,” says Nick Rossi, chief executive and founder of technology company Avenue Imperial, which worked with Jimmy Choo to create the virtual showroom. “If the catalogue experience was so great, Argos would have taken over the luxury industry 50 years ago.
Is this the future of internet shopping?
Jimmy Choo's Virtual Showroom
Internet shopping is 20 YEARS OLD this year. Yep, it's been two decades since were given the power to waste countless hours on our lunchbreak browsing the ASOS website (although that didn't arrive until 2000). And in such a landmark year for online shopping, several revolutionary new ways to shop have launched - including this from Jimmy Choo.
The shoe brand has launched a virtual showroom, allowing customers to browse and pre-order products from the new A/W collection via an online version of the presentation all the editors and buyers saw at Milan Fashion Week. It's basically Google Street View for shops (but um, it's indoor and you can buy the products on the shelves) - and it allows customers to snap up shoes as seen by the fashion pack before they hit stores.
It's not the first virtual showroom - a couple of small London boutiques have already adopted the technology, created by Avenue Imperial. But this is the first time a major brand has taken the concept global.
For other stores, there will also be the option for customers to interact with a real shop assistant via instant chat and video message - making the whole online shopping thing almost like stepping into a store - albeit from behind a screen.
Nicolas Rossi, founder and CEO of Avenue Imperial, explained the concept: "Our technology enables brands and retailers to showcase their iconic stores to the world - allowing users to browse and buy online as though visiting in person. The idea of virtually recreating the buyers' showroom actually came from Jimmy Choo, and has added a whole new dimension to our business. Nothing like this exists in the market, and we are excited to help brands and designers make the most of their valuable retail space and the effort they've put into their showrooms."
It's a pretty neat gimmick - have a look at the online showroom here - but will it catch on/change the face of fashion retail?
Retailers navigating an era of disruption
Many retailers are betting on the strength of combining online and offline operations. And some at the Congress noted that, while e-commerce pure players have long been seen as a major threat to traditional bricks-and-mortar stores, many of the biggest online players still don’t make money.
“Nobody talks about the bottom line,” said Li & Fung Limited chairman William Fung at the three-day event, which closed Oct. 1. “Amazon is not profitable.”
Trends like showrooming and click-and-collect services are now showing stronger growth than pure players, Fung said.
There are a slew of startups with tech solutions for the omnichannel world, including Avenue Imperial. The UK-based firm, which counts Jimmy Choo and The Corner Berlin among its customers, offers a “V-tail” concept that it likens to Google Street View for stores, allowing consumers to browse a virtual store, interact with sales staff and link to e-commerce from anywhere in the world.