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Fashion

Fashion Brand Hacks Runway Shows with Virtual Reality

Equipping audiences with headsets, We Are Handsome demonstrates the future of fashion week.

Emily Kirkpatrick

Lucas Dawson/Courtesy of We Are Handsome

The future is now. Well, at least for Jeremy and Katinka Somers, the designers behind Australian brand We Are Handsome. Showcasing their Resort 2017 collection, the swimsuit and athletic apparel brand paired their latest offerings at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Australia with a virtual reality runway featuring 360 technology to compelling effect.

According to a press release from the brand, the set was “inspired by an underground urban landscape,” featuring a giant industrial fan, and floodlights that lined the runway, in stark contrast to the neon color palette and 90s-inspired looks that comprise the collection. Fans who couldn’t physically attend the show were invited to access it through the brand’s virtual reality livestream, created in collaboration with technology and lifestyle brand +61, which could be viewed via smartphone, VR headsets, and 360 video.

The brand also created a custom headset for the occasion in conjunction with +61, a stiff cardboard box covered in one of the brand’s prints from the Resort collection. The apparatus allows viewers to slip their cellphones into the back of the device while playing the special, fully responsive 360° YouTube video, which the goggles located within then turn into an immersive VR experience. Each turn of your head brings you even deeper into the action.

Lucas Dawson/Courtesy of We Are Handsome

For fashion obsessives who have waited hours outside their favorite designer’s show pleading with the doorman for even a standing spot in the very back, it’s clear what a major coup this could be for helping get fans up close and personal with all the latest runway looks. The virtual reality component not only allows viewers to move within the show space as if they were present in the room, but it also allows them to experience what it feels like to walk the runway alongside their favorite models, and even offers exclusive backstage access—something usually reserved exclusively for members of the press.

What could this mean for the future of hyper-elite runway shows? A whole lot more democratization, and a whole lot less arguing with publicists. Livestreaming has already become a hugely popular way to consume the biggest brands' latest offerings, regardless of your status in the industry. Thanks to VR, the whole experience is about to get a whole lot more personal.

To learn more about We Are Handsome, click here

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