Aug­men­ted Rea­li­ty and Fashion-Tech

How YOO­NA Tech­no­lo­gy and Beta­Room Are Brin­ging the Fashion Show into the Living Room


The world of fashion lives from the feel of the fabrics, from colours, cuts and lar­­ge-sca­­le shows. Can this be trans­fer­red to the digi­tal world? Anna Fran­zis­ka Michel is trans­forming design pro­ces­ses with her start-up YOO­NA Tech­no­lo­gy by using arti­fi­ci­al intel­li­gence (AI). The algo­rithm is trai­ned with dra­wings, prints, mood boards and crea­tes new designs. She met Beta­Room’s aug­men­ted rea­li­ty expert Peter Kol­ski at the Media­Tech Hub Acce­le­ra­tor. His com­pa­ny pro­du­ces sto­rytel­ling for­mats for ZDF, Der Spie­gel or Sky News under the slo­gan of “Meaningful AR”. The Mau­AR app deve­lo­ped by Beta­Room takes Ber­li­ners on a walk through the form­er­ly divi­ded city along the Ber­lin Wall via smart­phone and aug­men­ted rea­li­ty (AR).

Anna Fran­zis­ka Michel and Peter Kol­ski have now poo­led their exper­ti­se in AI and AR to revo­lu­tio­ni­se the fashion indus­try, as they put it. In Janu­ary, the YOO­NA Vir­tu­al Show­room app was laun­ched. Based on YOONA’s end-to-end solu­ti­on, AR repres­ents the final link in the chain. The B2B soft­ware enables the desi­gners to work in a cus­­to­­mer-cen­­­tric way and have com­ple­te coll­ec­tions deve­lo­ped based on algo­rith­ms. The AR app then brings the desi­gners’ latest models into every living room on a real-size ava­tar. Anyo­ne loo­king for a new coat can view the gar­ment in real size from all direc­tions and exami­ne details such as seams or the rear view. This means that desi­gner pie­ces can also be pre­sen­ted befo­re they are even pro­du­ced. Peter Kol­ski com­pa­res the oppor­tu­ni­ties offe­red by the tech­no­lo­gy to the Inter­net: “Ever­yo­ne has access to digi­tal infor­ma­ti­on. We are sim­ply brin­ging in even more rea­li­ty. Fashion beco­mes more concrete.”

Digi­ti­sa­ti­on has thus beco­me the exten­si­on for the desi­gners. They con­ti­nue to work artis­ti­cal­ly, but added value can be gene­ra­ted thanks to the app or YOO­NA Tech­no­lo­gy. Ana­lo­gue desi­gners can use it to show their work wit­hout expen­si­ve and lavish­ly staged fashion shows and phy­si­cal stores. That also pro­vi­des glo­bal visi­bi­li­ty for small inde­pen­dent desi­gners like tho­se working in Berlin.

They both brought their respec­ti­ve per­spec­ti­ves and pas­si­ons to the table when they were deve­lo­ping the app: as a fashion desi­gner, Anna Fran­zis­ka knows the ups and downs of the indus­try and how dif­fi­cult it is to keep a label in busi­ness for the long term. Peter Kol­ski atta­ches a lot of importance to sto­rytel­ling and exploits the tech­ni­cal pos­si­bi­li­ties of AR to the full. Fur­ther­mo­re, as a pro­gramm­er, he can take the next steps straigh­ta­way wit­hout having to assign the work out to an inter­me­dia­ry. Chan­ges and add ons can the­r­e­fo­re be quick­ly imple­men­ted and pre­sen­ted. Simi­lar in their approach, both deci­ded against leng­thy plan­ning and pro­to­ty­p­ing to the have the mini­mal pro­duct initi­al­ly laun­ched on the mar­ket as an exten­si­on of the YOO­NA soft­ware tools with plans for it to grow orga­ni­cal­ly. The app is available to down­load in the Apple App Store and is easy to use. The ite­ra­ti­on fol­lows in the ongo­ing process.

It is con­ceiva­ble that the app can be deve­lo­ped in dif­fe­rent direc­tions. After all, 3D repre­sen­ta­ti­ons of desi­gner models are not suf­fi­ci­ent: store imple­men­ta­ti­ons or the simu­la­ti­on of the enti­re Fashion Week are being con­side­red. “The chall­enge here is to trans­la­te the magic and the live expe­ri­ence direct­ly into AR,” Kol­ski says. The approach also offers the advan­ta­ge that, unli­ke real fashion shows, the pie­ces are not pro­du­ced purely for the show and later lie unsold in warehou­ses or have to be dis­po­sed of. A digi­tal­ly enhan­ced fashion show saves resour­ces, sen­ding the models back and forth is no lon­ger neces­sa­ry. YOONA’s AI tech­no­lo­gy is alre­a­dy focu­sing on this sus­tainable aspect: his­to­ri­cal data (for exam­p­le, coll­ec­tions from the last sea­son), mil­li­ons of image data, trend data and per­for­mance ana­ly­ses are being coll­ec­ted here and then flow into the design pro­cess. This means that not­hing is being desi­gned which the cus­to­mer won’t then buy, as the work is cus­­to­­mer-cen­­­tric. Non­sen­si­cal pro­ces­ses that have beco­me deep­ly ing­rai­ned over the years are eliminated.

At the moment, Anna Fran­zis­ka is con­duc­ting user tests with com­pa­nies to adapt their requi­re­ments to the app. “We show what is pos­si­ble, how one can ope­ra­te glo­bal­ly as a desi­gner, whe­ther as a cor­po­ra­ti­on or an inde­pen­dent label. Tech­no­lo­gy is the avant-gar­­de here and Ber­lin is set to beco­me a pioneer.”

By Chris­ti­ne Lentz

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About MTH Blog

The media technologies of the future are already being used today – not only in the entertainment sector, but also in a wide variety of industries. Christine Lentz meets up with tech enthusiasts, established companies and researchers for our monthly MediaTech Hub Potsdam blog to tell the stories behind the innovative business models.