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To up the ante, 3D tech takes a bow on the runway

Fashion designers are looking to three-dimensional technology to raise the bar for runway spectacle and give customers a more detailed way to see their wares.
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Written by Andrew Nusca, Former editor on

The runway show is fashion's major attraction. It is the pinnacle of the industry's flair for entertainment and the place where new designs are revealed to (and occasionally reviled by) tastemakers. And it is where designers and models become famous.

But the fundamental reason for a runway show is quite commercial: by showing physical manifestations of a designer's wildest ideas, he or she can attract business. It's a haute press conference.

A new report in the New York Times notes that fashion designers are increasingly looking to three-dimensional technology to both raise the bar for impact as well as give more customers a better experience than a sweaty, crammed hall full of editors and photographers.

Simply: there may be a better way to show clothes than a model. (Gasp!)

Eric Wilson reports:

Norma Kamali, for one, sees a greater potential for showing clothes in a 3-D film format, as she plans to do on Sept. 14. The clothes can be seen in more detail, she said, and the exact same show can then be seen by anyone watching from home on a computer.

"Video is more descriptive, more entertaining and, really, the most detailed way to present a collection," Ms. Kamali said.

While many designers have toyed with using 3D as part of the spectacle, the realities of the technology -- it requires attendees to wear special glasses, it's more effective for extreme action, the effect is lost on viewers of a webcast -- have limited its impact.

Nonetheless, designers are taking lessons learned by the gaming and film industries to heart by moving away from cheap thrills and toward augmenting the sales process. Their hope is that customers can actually see all the detail without craning their necks from the back row.

But the technology raises new questions. If runway shows are intended to present ideas of products and not necessarily products themselves, is it even necessary to manufacture the clothes in the real world?

Photo Illustration: based on original by Alexander Azarov

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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