Fashion and hi-tech score again

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 April, 2013, 10:41am

The love affair between the fashion and digital worlds has been in full bloom for some time now. Brands such as Burberry (one of the most tech savvy around), Dolce & Gabbana and Balenciaga are live-streaming their catwalk shows so that people at home can have a front-row view of the latest collections in real time.

Online shopping is bigger than ever. The industry's relationship with fashion bloggers is rocky, but there is no doubt that the future of fashion is increasingly online.

Burberry has radio frequency identification technology in its stores, and even allows customers to order outfits from their homes directly off the catwalks as they are streamed. This has changed the possibilities of how people shop, but it is still only a select group of die-hard high-fashion fans who will eschew the shop experience for this.

Now there is new technology set to revolutionise the way people engage with fashion and television. Shazam, the mobile-phone-based music identification service, has come up with a fashion app which allows users to identify outfits that people wear onscreen.

When I first read about this, all my mind heard was 'ka-ching!'

This means you can watch your favourite sitcom or talk show, see an outfit you like, point your smartphone at it and instantly receive information on said outfit, brand and where to buy. Shopaholics and their bank managers, beware.

Shazam first impressed with an app that enabled users to identify almost any song just by letting the phone listen to a short sample. This new initiative comes as another bold leap in the democratisation of fashion.

But it is also a big development for "brand engagement" on television and other media - making more ways television and film can capitalise from product placement. When I first read about this, all my mind heard was "ka-ching!"

With celebrity style as influential as ever and impressionable fashion fans looking to mimic their favourite stars' looks, Shazam's new app is onto a commercial winner.

But there is a downside to all this. This technology has also led to a laziness within fashion. Whereas once people would cultivate their unique style over years by sifting through thrift stores, travelling to different cities and countries for specific boutiques or looks or getting items passed down from family members, now at the press of a button, you can simply appropriate a look meticulously styled by someone else.