Virtual reality is becoming a widely available technology. It has been seen and witnessed in sci-fi stories for decades and always used to indicate how far in the future the story is or how far technology has developed. However, now, it is very much in the present. It is being incorporated into many industries. Fashion is one of them. Is it the medium which designers have dreamed of?
For a long time, the technology was not worth investment as it was both too expensive and it could not compete with other established alternatives. Naturally, the technology still continued to progress as its promise was great. Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus began to push the technology to forward, after HTC Vive and WorldViz had been contributing to more the public-oriented products. Even though Google, the Silicon Valley tech giant, were developing their own things, they were focussed on the smaller and cheaper options. Google Cardboard was a VR headset for under R200. It was cheap and affordable. It was more of a device which customers used once to feel the potential of VR, rather than as a continual part of life.
Oculus is the first VR headset which doesn’t need require a smartphone or to be plugged into a PC. This technology breakthrough and general develop of the industry has pushed VR towards the b2b industry, who are utilising it to hold virtual meetings and conferences to save on travel time and costs. Also, headsets have been viable for household use, with the Oculus Rift 2 costing less than the recent next generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft.
Embracing New Tech
Many technologies live and die by this embrace, obviously. Flash Paper is a good example of this. Steve Jobs, upon releasing the first iPhone declared that Adobe Flash Paper, the then industry standard, would not be supported by iPhones. This meant that websites and app developers would need to transition to HTML5, which had received Jobs’ support, to cater to Apple’s customers, which was becoming a huge market.
Flash Paper’s dominance declined in the subsequent years and has been pulled by Adobe very recently. HTML5 has, notably, allowed the online casino industry to flourish, and is now used by all the leading online casinos, such as www.mansioncasino.com/za/. Not only has it enabled these sites to improve security protocols, but it is also more functional across a wider range of website browsers and apps.
Fashion and VR
The HTML5 and online casino example above is very similar to what is happening with VR and fashion.
Creatives have always been keen to make the most of new technology. Often, they unlock new means of exploring established processes and products and push art in new directions. Fashion is ubiquitous. Actors like Eric Macher, music artists like Kanye West, and actors like Kristen Stewart have stakes in the industry. Everyday folk can wear and practice their art too. VR will offer another level of access.
Cat walks are an essential part of fashion. Designers have continually pushed the boundaries of what a show can be, and have often incorporated technology to do this. Alexander McQueen, at his Spring 1999 show, used robotic arms to spray paint a model in a white paper dress. VR could turn cat walks on their heads, in their initial stages, before becoming a common part of the shows.
VR will enable sketches and designs to take on a new life. Digital models can be created to further develop and push items in new directions before they are prototyped and created for models. It is an extra stage where creativity can be injected.
Let us not forget that VR could become its own fashion world. Avatars can be dressed in Gucci. It is not out of the realm of possibility that it facilitates the degradation of the lines of what is ‘real’ fashion.