Opening night of Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek Amsterdam in January will be devoted Future Generation: a recurring platform that offers visionary designers the opportunity to explore the future of fashion. It's a private evening, but thanks to a unique collaboration between Samsung and Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek Amsterdam, now the whole world can be on the guest list – in virtual reality.
No fashion show in the Netherlands has ever taken advantage of virtual reality. Now Samsung and Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek Amsterdam are going to change that forever. Aad Boon, Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek Amsterdam: "We're tremendously proud to be able to welcome a leading brand like Samsung as a sponsor. Technology plays an enormous role in our lives today and developments in the field are moving at a breathtaking pace. Virtual reality is a trending topic. It's wonderful to be able to put it to work at our January event and to continue shaping it via our Fashionweek.nl platform." Raymond Mesterom, Director Brand & Media for Samsung Electronics, continues: "You're seeing a lot of big, international fashion brands experimenting with virtual reality to ensure that the experience continues to improve and that they can create greater reach. Samsung is leading the innovation around 360° recording with the Gear 360° camera, which allows for even more stunning image capture. We can then share these images with a larger audience using our Gear VR glasses."
"Samsung is leading the innovation around 360° recording
Fashion as a platform for innovation
Fashion has proven itself as a solid platform for technological innovation. But what makes fashion so suited to this purpose? And what added value does Samsung take from a collaboration with Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek Amsterdam? Mesterom: "Fashion is the right platform because an there's enormously rich story behind each of the designers. Their creations come to life on the runway or, for the consumer, on the store shelf. MBFWA offers young, innovative designers the platform and the opportunity to let that happen. A lot of designers are, of course, increasingly seeking out and experimenting with innovations in their industry, whether it's with fabrics that change colour or shape or the way their pieces are put to use. As a brand, we want to use our virtual reality and 360° technology to bring a better, richer quality to the experience around these designs."
Peter Leferink, art director and producer of Future Generation: "I filled the last edition of Future Generation to the brim with technology. The challenge was conveying a new way of designing and experiencing in which a model could use holograms to 'put on' an infinite number of different ensembles. That kind of virtual design and experience – a literal virtual reality – is steadily on the rise. I'm deeply involved in educational innovation through my work as a professor at the academy (AMFI, ed.), where we can train virtual designers who, in the future, will be able to design clothes on avatars."
"That kind of virtual design and experience – a literal virtual reality – is steadily on the rise"
Why, though, has the fashion industry opted for virtual reality as their tech tool of choice? Leferink: "Virtual reality will play a major role in the future, due in part to sustainable thinking. This new technology can save time, space and resources." Aad Boon sees us standing at what is just the beginning. "I expect that there will be many more applications for virtual reality and 360° content. Experience is the magic word."
Experience MBFWA in 360°
Opening night at MBFWA has a surprising programme in store, with a show by MARTAN, the Das Leben am Haverkamp experience and, to close the evening, ‘The Painting’, developed under the inspired leadership of art director and producer Peter Leferink. It promises to be a unique, highly anticipated show, which will now also be recorded in 360°. But what exactly is The Painting? The motivation behind it is as poetic as it is realistic. Leferink explains: "Today is the beginning of tomorrow, it's a blank page that we can fill with our own dreams, colour in with hope and give shape with belief. The present creates the future and it must be cherished. Tomorrow is a blank canvas that, in the case of The Painting, will be coloured in by nine talented designers who have expanded their own visions – of a better future, with the quality of today and hope for tomorrow – into a broader image. They believe in a better world, where fashion is so much more than just clothes."
The Painting and two other invitation-only shows will be turned into 360° videos that will offer everyone the opportunity to have a front-row experience. You can even see who is sitting in front of and behind you at the show. A teaser video is also being developed using virtual reality. Leferink: "With this edition of Future Generation, I wanted to get back to pure emotion, back to the now, the moment from which we can colour in and change tomorrow. The nine designers who are a part of The Painting all have a strong vision of the fashion of the future, from craft to technology, from politics to intimacy. I'm very curious to see how the show's intensity and physical character will play out in Samsung's virtual reality experience."
Opening night of MBFWA is scheduled for Thursday, 27 January. Read more about the programme and show times here.