Creating the ‘Virtual Catwalk’ for six North East clothing companies

NCTN is supporting six local companies as they embrace digital technology. Using funding from the Creative Fuse North East programme, the companies will create augmented reality videos of some of their products, that they can then use when meeting clients and buyers, as well as making it available remotely to potential customers.

This programme builds on research carried out by David Reay with independent manufacturers, which showed that one of their key needs is greater use of digital technology in design, manufacturing and retail. Companies are keen to make use of digital design platforms, advanced manufacturing tools and to apply AR and VR to the showcasing of their products, and applying these technologies could help them compete on a global stage.

However much of this technology is not accessible because of cost, unsuitability for smaller manufacturers, or because the technology is not well-developed. So this project has brought together creative digital specialists Hedgehog Lab as well as Sunderland and Teesside Universities, to create a new digital platform to enable the showcasing of clothing products using augmented reality.

This platform will allow them to create a virtual catwalk wherever they choose. They could be in a meeting with a buyer and, rather than showing images in a catalogue or on a tablet, they can project a virtual film of a model wearing the clothes onto any suitable surface, such as a desk or table. It will also allow a furnishing manufacturer to project an image of their product into the room where it will be situated, to see how well it fits.

Creation of the AR films will start in May and the finished app should be ready by mid-June, ready to showcase next seasons products.