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Promise and Pitfalls for Designers as Fashion Embraces AI

HOST DEAN CONDOLEO: Another New York Fashion Week just ended. And this year, it made history with an entirely new way of showing clothes. It’s called Real Live Motion, featuring a hologram instead of a model. It’s part of a new way for fashion designers embracing new technology. All new to them. Klara Bauters reports.

KLARA BAUTERS: It’s Friday night In FIT’s Great Hall. The music is blasting and the lights have just come down.

(welcoming the audience to DFW)

The mood totally changes.

(Sound of the music of the hologram runway)

Instead of a model on the runway, a ballet dancer dressed in white steps onto the stage. As she begins to dance, her movements are projected on a screen next to her. It’s a hologram - making the same moves - but wearing a bright green flowing dress that seems lit from inside.

[Sound goes up of the hologram sound (check if it’s still the same music or another sound)]

CLARE TATTERSALL: So, the camera was recording the movements of the dancer, Lindsay Miller, and, uh, the avatars were moving as she moved. So we were just creating this new fluid runway show.

BAUTERS: Clare Tattersall is the founder of Digital Fashion Week. This is Real Live Motion.

TATTERSALL: It's really looking at what are the possibilities with fashion. What are the uses of digital fashion and how we can interact differently with fashion and tell the story?

These kind of changes are transforming the industry…but Tattersall says it doesn’t exist without creativity. 

TATTERSALL: Think about being an electrician. Does a screwdriver take away from your skills? No, it just helps you do what you need to do. So software are just tools that help you get where you want to get faster, more efficiently.

BAUTERS: But you gotta put in the time to learn the skills. That’s why Bianca Ferri Marini has been watching a lot of YouTube. Designers need to rapidly adapt.

MARINI: I've watched so many videos, honestly. Sometimes they don't even speak English and you go like, okay, please. I'm going to need a translator over here.

BAUTERS: Digital fashion has changed the way Marini works. She now calls herself a phygital designer - physical + digital. She says the process is faster and it’s more sustainable since you can make changes on the fly

MARINI: With softwares, 3D softwares, you can, uh, simulate and cut and sew, uh, any garment in a very short time and you can have a preview of how it's going to be.  

BAUTERS: And Marini says that it’s good for customers, too. For instance, you could go online and have your own avatar try on clothes, like bathing suits…fancy ones.  

MARINI: You can literally choose  anything, uh, any color, any, Uh, trims and, uh, decoration you can put on the avatar and you can use it on your personal tastes. So we can see that also with the latest technology, with the VRs, in which you can actually make, like, soon will be Uh, if not, maybe tomorrow, because it's gonna be like it's going like really fast. Uh, we could see, like, people walking around wearing, actually wearing, um,   filters while they're walking the streets.

BAUTERS: And that’s all great…but Marini says there will be some limits to what the digital experience can mean. 

MARINI: Sometimes, honestly, I think it's a little scary, because I feel we don't have to lose the concept of reality.

BAUTERS: Because we’re still wearing clothes on our actual bodies….for now.

Klara Bauters, for Uptown Radio.

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