LCF X Microsoft: A look at the future of fashion

The future of fashion is, unsurprisingly, a considerable area of focus for us at WGSN.

As WGSN Insight continues to report on emerging technological trends, from Compassionate Tech: Towards Ethical AI through to AI: Augmenting Human Creativity, it’s exciting to consider a future that fuses tech with fashion and traditional craft.

The coalition between the two is rooted in Neo Mint, WGSN’s colour trend for 2020. An oxygenating fresh tone that harmonises science and technology with nature. It has a cool, futuristic tech feel but also connects with plant life and nature, and it’s a forecast that can be applied to multiple industries and sectors.

Nothing excites us more than seeing these tech trends come to life – particularly when it’s being propelled forward by emerging talent.

This week, WGSN’s Associate Editor Alice Gividen attended London College of Fashion’s (LCF) Future of Fashion Incubator.

In partnership with Microsoft, with a small, select group of students taken from different disciplines across the university were given access to the company’s cutting edge technology, with a brief to harness the tech and re-imagine the fashion industry with technology. Technology included AI, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Mixed Reality, with influential mentors from each space heading up small teams and guiding the students.


Despite the mentorship scheme, this was not a top-down process, and felt particularly collaborative. “We wanted to see what would happen if you gave young students – digital natives – access to Microsoft tech, and let them run with it – see where they would push it and drive the industry” said Microsoft’s Global Marketing Manager Maruschka Loubser, in an interview with WGSN.

“They had just a day of being shown how to code… how machine learning works… and then they used these skills to solve a business problem, approaching it from a focus on consumer need”.

The collaboration with LCF is the first of its kind for Microsoft, and stemmed from the company looking at “the intersection between fashion & tech, and how Microsoft can authentically contribute & help drive the disruption”.

With mentorship spearheading this project, WGSN spoke to one of the project leaders Natasha Franck, founder of EON – a company that collaborates with members, brands and partners to pioneer circular fashion.

“There’s definitely an exciting intersection of IoT and sustainability” says Franck, with her LCF team using item-level identifiers like RFID to create a digital profile for products, allowing the garment to be tracked and a totally transparent supply chain.

“There’s something so exciting happening in fashion, and it’s an outreach to science and to tech. It’s a coalition, bringing different disciplinary ideas and thought leadership together” says Franck.

It was encouraging to see advanced technology, something often met with apprehension or percieved as something sinister, being harnessed to contribute positively back towards nature and our environments.

So which project stood out most to WGSN?

Hololux – a virtual store accessed through MR, designed to create an immersive multi-brand luxury experience. Designed for the luxury online shopper, time poor and valuing their privacy, the virtual store acts as a space for online shopping retailers who don’t have a physical presence. With an impressive prototype, in addition to a considered business plan, it certainly feels as though the industry is on the cusp of serious innovation.

The future of fashion certainly looks to be in good hands.

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