FYI.

This story is over 5 years old.

Entertainment

[Best of 2013] The Year in Fashion and Tech

From dream-inducing headwear to a Marc Jacobs-clad holograms, this year we saw it all.
December 20, 2013, 3:44pm

Asher Levine via Arquipixel.

Man, it's been a big year for Viral Style. Since we first landed on The Creator's Project in early spring, we've scoured dashboards, catwalks and the furthest reaches of the Internet to bring you a comprehensive roundup of the hottest developments happening at the intersection of fashion and technology each week. We've seen it all, from iPhone-shot style campaigns to fake digital girlfriends, as well as 3D printed selfies, light-up shoes, and even dream-inducing headwear. Now, with the end of December drawing near, it's the perfect time to check out our top 2k13 highlights.

Advertisement

DESIGNER OF THE YEAR

Though we're seeing more and more designers beginning to embrace new developments in wearable tech into their collections, this year it was the A/W13 range by Asher Levine that really stood out for us. Taking inspiration from the usage of wireless tracking capabilities, Asher embed his futuristic-looking coats, bags, and gloves with a Phone Halo Bluetooth 4.0 chip. As well as letting off an alarm if the wearer moves too far away from the item, the chip gives him/her the option to track each piece via GPS on a designated TrackR app if it ever gets lost. Practical and stylish? So down - after all, who wouldn't want to get a text, email, or FB message from their own clothes?

VIRTUAL COLLAB OF THE YEAR

After the Kim Kardashian x Dorothy Perkins collection, we pretty much figured we'd seen it all when it comes to unlikely celebrity/fashion collaborations. However, back in the spring Louis Vuitton revealed that their then-creative director Marc Jacobs had designed outfits for one of Japan's biggest pop stars Hatsune Miku - who also happens to be a hologram. Having conquered Japan with frenzied sold-out stadium shows, green haired Miku was evolving her live performances into a new opera stage show, which Marc Jacobs agreed to ‘dress’ her for in four virtual looks from LV’s graphic S/S13 collection. The only disappointment was that Donatella Versace never picked up on the trend to collab with that Tupac hologram

Advertisement

2013 was pretty much the last acceptable time to use the word 'swag' - right? Well, either way, we were pretty impressed with this social media app that that landed to step photo tagging functionality up a notch, allowing you to tag photos you take with the fashion brands you're wearing in them. Taking a casual selfie of yourself eating breakfast? Swaag,it (:/) will recognize that Hood by Air snapback/Versace tee and share it with your followers. Not only is it a great way to show off your style; its best feature lies in battling other users to see who has the most URL outfit, er, swag. Using one of your own pictures, you can battle any other photo in the app you like, whether it’s some new fresh kicks or some joker pulling up his tee in the bathroom - it’s up to the online community to decide whose looks are going the hardest. Reckon you’re game enough? Your M&S-wearing relatives won't know what hit them this Christmas!

VIDEO LOOKBOOK OF THE YEAR 

C.E SS 2013 from c.e on Vimeo.

Follow Zomby on Twitter? If you do, you'll know he talks A LOT about clothing on there. Back in April, he put down his beloved Givenchy for a minute to soundtrack (and star in) the video lookbook for C.E’s (CAVEMPT) S/S13 collection. If you're not familiar, C.E is the brainchild brand of Japanese designers sk8thing, Hishi and Toby Feltwell (previously known for their work in laying the foundations for BAPE and Billionaire Boys Club). The S/S13 video was directed by Rob Semmer and edited by Tim & Barry (dontwatchthat.tv), and featured the kind of virtual reality retro-future green screen aesthetic we're suckers for. Oh, and the brand’s selection of hoodies, sports jumpers, and military jackets showcased looked pretty decent too.

Advertisement

BRAIN MONITORING TECH OF THE YEAR

2013 saw a lot of hype about apps and FuelBands that collect data on things like sleep patterns and physical activity - but then we heard about a piece of wearable tech that can actually monitor brain activity, which felt way more impressive. The Emotiv Insight is a wireless multichannel neuroheadset that uses electroencephalography (EEG) to translate brainwaves into meaningful data, meaning the wearer can optimise his/her brain fitness. It also looked pretty slick to boot.

"Wearable devices have gained a lot of momentum in recent years, but most of these devices are focused on tracking physical health. We feel that cognitive health and fitness is a key missing element. To have a comprehensive picture of one's health, we need both cognitive and physical well-being," Tan Le, Emotiv co-founder, told us. "We want to empower individuals to understand their own brain and to accelerate brain research globally. The best ways to achieve this is by making the enabling technology more affordable, easier to use and foster continued innovation by offering a development platform for developers and researchers."

Couture apparel is difficult enough to make without throwing techy concepts like manipulated textures into the mix - but hey, that’s why we’re such big fans of Iris van Herpen <3. Made in collaboration with product designer Jólan vander Wiel, this year saw Herpen’s A/W13 collection incorporating a selection of dresses inspired by the attraction/repulsion concept of magnetism. Crafted out of iron fillings and resins, the flexible mixture was physically warped before being placed onto the fabric base shapes for a spiky surface finish. Not recommended for wearing through airport security though.

Advertisement

APP CONTROLLED APPAREL OF THE YEAR

We're always down to see the latest developments roll out in app software – I mean, your smartphone can pretty much do anything now, from record your TV programmes remotely to driving a car. And if you thought that was exciting, no doubt you loved Lüme, an electronically-infused apparel collection created by design duo Jorge & Esther that could be user-customized wirelessly via smartphone. Using dark separates as a base, you can place and program the electronics within them to suit your mood and situation by colour or pattern – they can also respond to sound. Fingers crossed this concept will break out as a trend for next year.

Back in May, we interviewed Wil Fry, our fave digital designer/T-shirt virtuoso. Picking up on the trend of tees with Photoshopped images that have saturated the Internet for the last few years, Wil takes things a step further evolving his designs from reblog-ready digital designs onto IRL clothing hangers. Inspired by logo aesthetics and label culture (think Givenchy basketball uniforms and 'Expensive' bomber jackets) he's also created Yeezy-inspired tees that landed on eBay for thousands of $$$. Keep your eyes peeled; we reckon you'll be seeing a lot more of Wil next year.

"Since moving to America in 2010, one thing I'm constantly seeing is this quick shift from when something goes from being relatively unknown to popular to hyper-saturated in the market place. The Birds of Paradise print quickly became the most recognisable T-shirt print last year within high fashion, menswear and streetwear. Initially, I was poking fun at how popular it had become, by suggesting the Brooklyn Nets were about to use it on their (yet to be unveiled) uniforms. But what's cool is that people look at the work, or in this case the jersey, as a work of art, because it means different things to different people—to some it's a work of satire, and to others it's a tribute."

SO… WHAT'S NEXT?

We'll be back in January with loads more of that wearable tech news you love. 2014's already promising to be a big year; so far, we've already heard about fashion camouflage from impending face-detection technology, the arrival of the long-anticipated iWatch and new projects from directional wearable tech projects like Popkalab. Stay tuned…