Augmented reality collection by Ukrainian companies hits runway


KYIV, Sept 7 (Reuters) - (This September 7 story was corrected to make clear that prints were made by foreign and Ukrainian artists, specifies that collection was designed by two companies)

At first sight, it looks like an ordinary T-shirt or hoodie, but once a smartphone camera is pointed at it, virtual 3D animation is visible.

Ukrainian family-run brand FINCH combined creative forces with the Ukraine-based IT company FFFACE.ME to design a collection of semi-digital clothing - real items that can be "upgraded" with augmented reality (AR) and exist both in real and digital worlds.

"By using augmented reality a designer can create items beyond physical characteristics of fabrics or elements of clothing which do not exist in the real world, but can be seen as dynamic 3D objects in virtual reality," FINCH co-founder Kateryna Biakova told Reuters.

Conceived in 2019, the idea of wearable AR clothing grew from a few items in 2020 to a capsule collection presented at Ukrainian Fashion Week in early September. It featured seven prints by contemporary Ukrainian and foreign artists.

Donned in designs by FFFACE.ME and FINCH, models performed in front of tablets which streamed video of augmented outfits.

After scanning a QR code printed on an item, an AR layer is activated through an Instagram filter developed by FFFACE.ME, a company known for creating Instagram effects for global companies like Pepsi, Danone, Samsung and Visa.

Dmitry Kornilov, FFFACE.ME CEO, said many people are more concerned nowadays about how they look in social media rather than in real life.

"Our message was that fashion production must be focused (on) the fact that the final result of wearing clothes is content production. And our fashion product makes content more powerful," he added.

According to its creators, the collection promotes sustainability, as one piece may have several digital looks and stand for a whole digital wardrobe. Prices range from $70 to $178 per piece.

FINCH says the designs can be used as a communication or marketing tool as they provoke users to engage.

The collection will be exhibited in Dubai at Expo 2020, an international platform for innovation, science, and art, which will start in October.

Reporting by Margaryta Chornokondratenko; Editing by Mark Porter

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