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How fashion moves forward

London College of Fashion is using technology to tailor the future of fashion expression

Fashion is far more than clothes. It’s the ultimate intersection of art and self-expression. And today, the fashion industry has new, advanced tools that are helping them push creative boundaries, and unveil a whole new world of possibilities.

The Fashion Innovation Agency (FIA) at the London College of Fashion (LCF) fuels the imaginations of fashion creators with tech like 3D modeling, AI, virtual reality, and more. With these tools, their students forge a path toward a future where fashion and technology seamlessly intertwine, are accessible to all, and unlock new worlds of possibilities.

Modeling across dimensions

3D Photography

Photography is a vital piece of the creative process that brings fashion designs to life. How designs are captured and framed are part of a piece’s story and Microsoft technology empowers FIA to tell those stories in head-turning ways, that are just as multidimensional as the very garments they capture.

With special photogrammetry rigs and software, FIA scans physical pieces into digital 3D environments, enabling them to present the pieces in immersive ways that are similar to the physical world, adding layers of depth to the creations and exhibitions.

Further melding our physical and digital worlds, fashion creators can also use tools like Surface devices to help them scan garments to create a 3D object that can be styled and altered with pinpoint precision and then placed into new 3D environments however they see fit.

At the end of the day, fashion creators have so many options with where they can take their fashion, whether it’s where it’s modeled or what it looks like—the only limit is their imagination.

Breaking creative barriers with Microsoft AI

Generative AI

All great fashion pieces begin with inspiration, and FIA’s creative technologists use Stable Diffusion through Azure OpenAI to find it. This generative AI technology enables them to explore new aesthetics and environments to weave into their work.

With thoughtful prompts and commands, creators can explore styles from futuristic to gothic, pore over years of the red carpet’s and runways’ biggest looks, and even generate new and unconventional fusions of styles. These are things that designers already explore during the design process. But now, those ideas can be designed before needle is put to fabric, generating breathtaking fashion imagery that blends realities and pushes creative boundaries.

Virtually you

Digital Avatars

We’re drawn to fashion because it allows us to reinvent, redefine, and redesign our persona. What we wear is who we project to the outside world. And now, technology helps us to take our self-expression to levels of wonder and fantasy previously limited to our imaginations, with a stunning level of realism.

FIA puts this into practice through the use of digital avatars, which allow them to experiment with different outfits just as stunning as the ones created in person. Creating these avatars starts by capturing photos of models in 3D and then using software to rig, animate, and essentially bring the avatars to life.

Then, with the help of rendering in Azure, designers can truly outfit the avatars with digital garments that look and move just like real cloth, allowing for unprecedented levels of realism in their work.

So sure—the avatars may be digital. But with this new technology, the possibilities feel realer and closer than ever before, and it’s opening new doorways in fashion and self-expression.

Bringing new visions to life

3D Video and Mixed Reality

With Microsoft technology, FIA, and LCF students, educators, and associates can invite more people to experience fashion shows without needing to attend in person. While we can’t always physically sit beside a runway, 3D video and mixed reality allow us to attend fashion shows from anywhere in the world, in a completely new way.

With a HoloLens 2 mixed reality headset, the runway comes to you. Wherever you may be, the show unfolds, complete with rendered fashion models posing in visually striking, high-fashion garments. This type of technology allows more people to experience all of the magic of a fashion show, but in a completely reimagined way.

The FIA team’s mission is to digitize every element of the fashion industry and Microsoft is helping us get there.
Matthew Drinkwater
Head of Fashion Innovation Agency, London College of Fashion

Here’s to future fashion creators

Fashion is a powerful tool in defining who we are, and with technology’s help, everyone can tailor their personal style in more creative and innovative ways than ever before. That’s why Microsoft and FIA are working together to empower the next generation of fashion creators; to lead the way in modelling how self-expression and creativity becomes so much greater when technology joins the fold.

Pictured: the next generation of high fashion, modelling for a 3D photoshoot in a state-of-the-art photogrammetry rig

All styles welcome

As part of their dedication to helping more people from different backgrounds enter the fashion industry, FIA, in partnership with Microsoft, will host a series of four workshops open to fashion designers, students, and creators from all over the world. In this hands-on environment, participants have the opportunity to both learn about and experiment with all the same tech and Microsoft devices that FIA uses—and further, explore how they can work these tools into their own creative process after the workshops end.

Through these workshops, FIA will also show how technology is allowing more people than ever to become a part of the fashion industry, in new and exciting ways—allowing for more ideas and perspectives that only serve to make the industry better. The result is a larger, stronger community—one that uses technology and bold, innovative thinking to change fashion for the better.