Jaime Perlman—founder of planet-first fashion magazine More or Less—teamed up with Microsoft to launch Augmented Atelier, a new digital approach to garment creation that taps four of London’s most cutting-edge fashion designers.
When it comes to fashion, few people know the industry like Jaime Perlman. Formerly Vogue UK’s creative director, she’s now the founder and creative director of More or Less magazine. She was inspired to create an of-the-moment publication to advocate for a modern fashion industry built on planet-conscious creativity over cost and consumption.
“I wanted to create a platform that celebrated fashion that was a bit more personal—something that was inclusive and celebrated style, and focused on designers who made sustainability a priority,” she says.
To embody that ethos, Jaime has teamed up with Microsoft and four of fashion’s most innovative designers—Bethany Williams, Phoebe English, Fredrik Tjærandsen, and Rottingdean Bazaar—to reimagine the process of designing, creating, and showing garments. The initiative, Augmented Atelier, is an ambitious design premise and an alternate take on fashion. It offers new tools for waste-free collaborative design, as well as interactive online retail and customized try-ons, showcasing new applications of virtual-only garments to a global audience.
Jaime was first drawn to Bethany Williams, Phoebe English, Fredrik Tjærandsen, and Rottingdean Bazaar because of their unique styles and design processes.
“Each designer spoke to me in a different way about sustainability, innovation, imagination, and concept,” says Jaime about their visionary approach to fashion as individuals. Their garments defy fashion’s conventions and demonstrate the potential to reshape the industry’s process and pipeline, while ultimately moving us toward a more digital model.
Now, they would be faced with a new challenge. Harnessing Microsoft Azure Spatial Anchors, how could they transform their creative processes and craft waste-free digital garments?
“It’s really about using technology as a form of imagination and how that reacts with the real world in a physical space. It’s about using technology to innovate and push the boundaries of what fashion can mean.”
- Jaime Perlman
Future of fashion
To create the digital garments, the designers and their teams applied digital processes that transformed their existing design practices and brought their new garments to life in physical space using Microsoft Azure Spatial Anchors and cloud computing. The Spatial Anchors bring the digital garments into the real world and allow multiple people to interact with them in real time, making it the ultimate collaborative tool for design collaboration, retail, and showcasing. It’s a 360 view that shows the real volume, fabric texture, and even motion of the physical garment, providing a much deeper experience than a 2D or 3D rendering, with a much faster, and less wasteful development and iteration process than creating traditional fabric samples.
Each designer followed their own process initially, developing ideas and sketches to create an original design concept.
Next, they worked with a technical production team to create the digital garments, from wireframe to grayscale modeling to final textures and lighting. Like any other garment, there were rounds of approvals, samples, testing materials, sizing, and fit adjustments. Then, each digital garment was brought to life digitally in Azure Cloud.
Finally, using Azure Spatial Anchors technology, the garment was shared with multiple team members in a bespoke app. The app recognizes a fit mannequin, and maps the garment onto it in real-time, so users can engage with it in their physical space—all at the same time.
Meet the designers
Four of London’s most exciting voices in fashion explore tech-empowered garments
Bethany Williams spotlights social and environmental issues in her work, from design process to business model.
It’s all in the details for Phoebe English, who’s making sustainable choices on a small scale to make a big impact for fashion.
By focusing on performance, motion, the body, and its relation to space, Fredrik Tjærandsen creates dynamic and artful garments that push fashion in innovative new directions.
Rottingdean Bazaar (aka Luke Brooks and James Theseus Buck) are an artist duo whose irreverent approach to fashion and creative direction subverts convention.
While the Augmented Atelier was a first of its kind prototype, built on the vision of London’s most exciting up-and-coming-designers, it’s also a flag in the ground for the industry. The new platform encouraged unbridled creativity, while streamlining the design process. Going digital eliminated manual steps of designer’s processes, such as garment sizing and fit adjusting, replacing these time-consuming tasks with efficient zero-waste alternatives. Augmented Atelier’s ambition is to pose radical new possibilities across the entire industry. And ultimately, it challenges the very fabric of what’s possible for the fashion industry of tomorrow.