I should really just publish these whenever I collect three or four links. I collect the links for several weeks and then it always ends up being a giant post. Anyway, here’s a few for today with mostly videos:
Technology in Retail: “Digital Mannequins” in stock photos
This Smithsonian Mag article (January 28, 2013! Ancient history!) explains an increasingly common practice of clothing retailers to use a software that will render a photo of an item onto a photo of a model. This is obviously a lot cheaper and faster than photographing an IRL model for every piece in a catalog, though at this point has less personality.
Apparently H&M does this, and I think I read somewhere that Nordstrom does it too (I believe it – their stock photos in the past few years have always felt a tad uncanny valley to me, although I wasn’t able to find any articles referencing this when I searched)
http://looklet.com is the company that is mentioned in the article, and a quick google search didn’t come up with any direct competitors for them. Here’s a screenshot from their website on March 23rd for an example of what their final product looks like. I can’t recall seeing anything this bad in terms of uncanny valley on H&M, but I suspect that if Nordstrom is using tech like this that is possibly one reason why none of their stock photo models have heads.
From their website:
Within our proprietary software product, Looklet’s clients can freely mix and match models, body variation and styling items. To create this flexibility, each “base body” is split into 800 distinct digital assets using advanced image recognition and rendering algorithms. This exciting synergy among software development, hardware construction, photography and fashion is attractive to any problem solver or innovator.
While I’m not totally sold on the state of the tech from briefly poking around their examples, I do think it’s great someone is working on this, because I think it could be used to have brands provide photos of their items in all sizes which could be prohibitively expensive if they had to hire 20 different people every time they wanted more stock photos. I like the trend of stores like Madewell and Modcloth showing photos of models wearing their clothing in different sizes but they usually just have a size 2 and a plus size model.
Design Process Video: Zoe Hong makes a collection inspired by Chinatown grandmas
I suspect I will have at least one Zoe Hong video in each of these posts, but I love her content and will continue sharing it. I enjoy all her “design a collection” videos but this one was just such a specific and quirky (and for me, easily-visualized – I know exactly what she’s talking about) inspiration that it made seeing its transformation into a fashion line a lot more fun. I certainly have no aspirations to become a fashion designer, but I’ve found that a lot of the points in her videos about designing collections from a business perspective are applicable to curating a personal wardrobe, plus it’s always interesting to think about clothes from another perspective.
Fashion History Video: The Women’s Land Army
The crowseyeproductions channel on YouTube has a great series of historical “Getting Dressed” videos. One of the more recent ones showcases the bucolic 1940s tomboy style of Britain’s Women’s Land Army in WW2 which I am here for.
The video gets into the context of what the uniforms were for and the purpose of each piece.
Design Video: M2M – Iris Van Herpen
IVH is one of my favorite designers, and this is a great introductory video to her work. She does a lot of very ethereal and alien but beautiful pieces that often feature cutting-edge use of materials for fashion. I myself am not deep into the couture side of fashion at all, but I enjoyed learning more about her collaborations and methods.