For many fashion designers, Virtual Reality and the haptic wearables that go with the experience are just another set of accessories for gaming.
Augmentation of Reality Started with Garments
Those of you who have been following the Fashion Robot, have heard me talk about garments as the main interface that we, as people have with the world. Touch, warmth, breathability, and texture are all incredibly important to your experience. Someone can touch your sweater without putting pressure on your body and you can feel the effect on the surface of your skin. Arguably, our current reality is augmented by a change in your experience through garments, a long-standing technology we build as a habitat for our bodies. We augment our own realities almost 100% of our time through clothing. The world would be comparatively less pleasant if we did not.
Virtual Reality, Haptics, Clothing, and Psychology
We are just starting to unfold the impact that Virtual Reality has on our psychology and take a look into the ethical responsibilities of the creators.
The beginning of this week I immersed myself in VR Events. On Monday at Parisoma, a Panel Discussion called "Who will Control our Virtual Realities?" featured Tristan Harris (technologist & product philosopher), Android Jones (digital painter & experience artist), Jacob Mullins (entrepreneur & organizer of VR Tuesday), Lisa Padilla (marketing specialist & CEO of SpiritualVR) and Moderated by Michael Morgenstern (VR film director & coder).
This particular conversation was centered around the power of Virtual Reality Experiences and about the ethics of VR, VR for good, and the VR dystopia. Immersive Virtual Reality Experiences can trick our minds into believing they were memories. "Stanford University professor Jeremy Bailenson says his 15 years of research consistently have shown virtual reality can change how a user thinks and behaves, in part because it is so realistic." (1) The way that information is delivered to us is different through VR than any other media.
3D Apparel Design Tools and VR
Across the apparel industry, as we start to adopt new technologies, we all need to be asking these kinds of questions. We cannot afford to make technology decisions in haste and superficiality. Companies who do not deeply understand changes in technology are gambling away their stake in the future.
This year in September, Virtual Reality hit New York Fashion Week (2) mainly in the form of 360 video through Intel's sponsorship with a company they funded, Voke. The fashion industry and apparel e-commerce is ripe for disruption, ready for the next platform to sell products more effectively. That platform is being built in Virtual Reality.
Two years ago, a company in Australia, made a Virtual Reality Fashion Show using 3D renderings from Marvelous Designer. (3) The opportunity is still there for someone to make the system really work. It doesn't just take rendering beautiful things, it means setting up a flexible manufacturing system to handle the outputs of these creations.
Will VR Normalize alternative experiences?
Maybe we will be more willing to experiment with things that we aren't willing to experiment with in real life. (4) Maybe we try on the Iris Van Herpen 3D Printed dress and love it. Maybe more people will virtually experience Burning Man and be more open to new ideas and experiences because of it.