The Virtual Fashion Studio is a novel interactive experience with virtual mirrors and digital fashion design. The Challenge was to demonstrate and create:
- future interactions with retail products and environments
- emerging technologies be adopted by retailers to sustain physical visitation
- new opportunities for emerging fashion designers
Installed on December 21 (2017) in the Wintergarden Complex on the Queens Street Mall in Brisbane, Queensland. The Queen Street Mall is the most successful pedestrian mall in Australia with over 26 million visitors each year.
There are a number of poorly executed Virtual Mirrors being promoted on the web (fitnect, triMirror) and only a few retailers using them in an effective way (fxmirror). This is mostly due to the current technical limitations with effective scanning technologies and the messiness of a public setting. For example, the only real scenario that a body scanner and 3D garment visualisation could currently work is when the shopper is in a private fitting room and able to view the virtual garment overlaid on their own mirrored body shape unencumbered. Otherwise the body scanner will include the clothing worn as part of the shopper’s body shape/size and the digital garments will then be applied terribly distorted. No fashion designer wants to see their designs look broken and out of shape. Similarly, no shopper wants to see themselves oversized in unflattering outfits.
So when we were tasked with building a virtual fashion mirror for public spaces in Wintergarden complex in Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall, we carefully considered and trailed a number of technologies and interaction models. Finally, we came up with an installation that had 3 main modes of interaction:
- Mirror Mode: this mode is only available as an idle state where shoppers can view themselves in a 2D version of the garments
- Workshop Mode: this is the main interface for interaction where shoppers can select from a range of 3D garments. But instead of a mirrored version of the visitor, a mannequin (of standard size) appears in the clothing. The visitors can control the movements of the mannequin to see the garments move and can also select different colours and fabrics for some of the designs
- Studio Mode: Once a shopper has selected an outfit, they can select to move into the Studio Mode where they now find themselves in a photo studio with a large screen. Here they can choose from a variety of backgrounds to see how this outfit looks in different environments such as a roof top party, a gallery event, outdoors etc.
The design team worked with a team of 4 very talented QUT Fashion Design Students:
We provided training sessions for these students and once they became familiar with our new custom tools, they were able to plot out existing patterns and also create all new designs based on their new found skills in digital prototyping. The HUB design team would then tweak and adjust the 3D patterns for inclusion in the interface.
Our focus was to perfect a more natural real-time experience with the digitised garments… especially working on complex solutions for cloth physics and rendering.
Deb Polson – Lead Researcher and Designer
Wade Taylor – 3D Technical Artist
Ryan Quagliata – Programmer
Pascal Cunin – UI Graphical Production