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Fashion Futures Forward – Student Experiences in Fashion AR/VR

Fashion students Rishi Mehta and Heer Banga joined “AR/VR in Fashion” group led by Prof David Neumann (FMCA) and Rossie Kadiyska (FB). During the Fall 2021, students explored fashion AR and VR reality applications. They have learnt how to design and work collaboratively in virtual reality using software Gravity Sketch and also participated in the first AR/VR fashion virtual conference in Paris. Following their work, students shared their experiences and lessons learnt with the Humber community in a webinar “Fashion Futures Forward – student experiences in Fashion AR/VR”.

Rishi Mehta, shares: “ The webinar was an excellent opportunity to present what we've learned from the workshops on augmented and virtual reality in Fashion, Gravity Sketch, and the inaugural Metaverse Summit on Circular Fashion in Paris."

The webinar was an opportunity for us to discuss our understanding of AR-VR in fashion, how this emerging technology is making inroads in the fashion world on a regular basis, and how all the dots of augmented and virtual reality come together to form an extraordinary art that is similar to a second world. Before designing the final outfit on the mannequin in Gravity Sketch, we collaborated and participated in numerous practice sessions. When we originally started working on our first prototype – a snowman - it wasn't simple. There were many difficulties and confusion in handling the VR headset and its controllers but with time, we got a good grip on it and understood the basic tools for creating and designing 3D elements in a virtual workspace. Eventually, we began to enjoy ourselves as soon as our simple lines and forms began to take on the form of an art and design aspect. The finest part, however, is collaborating at the same time so that design may be developed with mutual efforts within the timeframe required. Also, we found that there is room for development in terms of gaining access to such heavy headgear; it could be less in weight, and the price should be reasonable enough for a layperson to purchase it and receive initial training to create virtually in 3D.

Another fascinating experience was to talk about the first Fashion Metaverse event we have attended - the Circular Fashion Summit in Paris. Through our virtual avatar we travelled and explored Paris while our physical personality was sitting thousands of miles away in Toronto. Lablaco, the company behind the IT event, created a platform for us to understand and experience what the metaverse or virtual world is all about. Attending the booths of top designers and renowned brands such as Kering, Vogue, ISKO, and Comfort, we learned about their sustainable best practices in circular fashion. We were amazed by the overall look and feel of something we'd never seen before, but unhappy that it was simply virtual and that we couldn't feel or touch. During our webinar, we shared other virtual experiences in fashion and retail - Walmart, H&M, and Balenciaga - experimenting with developing technology in order to better serve their potential customers.

Reflecting on our experience, we acknowledge the steep process of learning for such rapidly evolving technology: investigating the interface, and using all of the tools in VR headsets and hand controllers was hard to begin with but rewarding at the end following. The beautiful part for us was exploring as a group and collaborating with teachers in a virtual workspace. We are excited to continue our practice of creating additional designs and artworks in order to better understand the larger spectrum of possibilities that technology may bring to the fashion industry. Overall, the webinar served as a link between our new tech journey and newly acquired abilities, allowing us to save and explore what we've learned by sharing and responding to the questions being asked by the esteemed guests. It's been a good learning opportunity. We are grateful to Professor David, Rossie, and Humber College for their efforts and encouragement in providing us with this opportunity”.

Written by Rishi Mehta, Fashion Management postgraduate student

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