Fashion Tech: Meet Holition

Fashion Tech: Meet Holition

If you haven’t yet heard of Holition, chances are pretty good that you’ve heard of their technology. (We’re huge fans of their work here at Third Wave Fashion.) Holition is a London based “innovative creative agency” that uses emerging technology in very cool ways–and they are definitely making a positive impact in the world of fashion tech. We spoke with Jonathan Chippendale, CEO at Holition, who filled us in on their company and technology. Settle in and read this whole piece; it’s full of gems to uncover.

What inspired you to start Holition?

Coming from a luxury retail background we’re very passionate about retail. Holition itself grew out of an initial idea to explore the role of technology in luxury and fashion. We could see the way the world was going with this new emerging digital consumer and saw that luxury brands at that time didn’t have the tools to take advantage of this. We were interested to see whether we could create and beautify technology to bridge that gap between digitally-minded consumers and old luxury.

Most important we were interested in technology, but not for technology’s sake – it was about finding ways where technology could help the purchase or give the consumer something that the real thing could not do. Holition has always been about harnessing technology to deliver a creative and beautiful experience that encourages thinking about the future of digital in the fashion and retail industries.

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Lyst.com – big data visualisation.

Tell us about some of your different fashion tech projects.

Holition is evolving all the time–we began as a company creating 3D virtual reality applications allowing customers to ‘try on’ luxury goods such as diamonds, jewelry and watches. As we explored the boundaries of the technology we were able to extend this to clothing, shoes and makeup–but we are always looking to see where we could go with our ideas and creativity. Perhaps the projects that really express us properly are our thought leadership projects where we look at future innovation and the endless possibilities.

Our collaboration with alchemist, Lauren Bowker and her exploration house, THEUNSEEN was really interesting as it provoked thinking around color changing apparel sensitive to the human mind-this is still ongoing as the potential to extend this to other accessories is enormous. We were also excited to be a part of the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition through our partnership with London College of Fashion where visitors were able to ‘try on’ a virtual feathered look straight from one of McQueen’s iconic catwalk shows.

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Alfred Dunhill Trafalgar – holographic

We are fond of saying that big data can be beautiful. The processing of dense data is typically hidden but it can be turned into into something visually exciting and beautiful in a way which makes it easy to understand. We created artistic visual presentations for two fashion shopping websites, Lyst and Grabble, to show the enormity and scale of processing thousands of products every second. The visual was both elegant and informative which in itself became a living, moving and breathing piece of art.

We’ve just finished working with artist and designer, Helen Storey on a unique installation that brings statistics and fashion together to explore one of the world’s most pressing issues: human displacement. For Holition it’s about finding new ways to look at data which allows people to get a sense of their surroundings as well highlighting complex issues from around the world. The dress was on exhibition at London’s Science Museum until last month.

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Rimmel UK collaboration.

Tell us about your recent partnership with Rimmel London and your FACE technology.

Technology is often accused of being a solution looking for a problem {Editor’s note: Too true!} but cosmetics is a good example where innovative technology can actually enhance the trying on make up experience. We developed ‘FACE by Holition’ an immersive virtual cosmetic experience where smartphones and tablets act as a mirror to try on and experiment with the latest colors, shades and textures of makeup. The advanced face-tracking software is proprietary and is intuitive enough to discern between the skin of the lips, eyes, and other facial contours, allowing the virtual makeup to stay in place when smiling, talking or nodding.

For Rimmel London we went one step further by giving the consumer an opportunity to explore, discover and experience a new way of trying on makeup. Rimmel’s GetTheLook app is the first-ever real-time 3D make-up simulation application that enables consumers to try out other people’s make-up styles. Using our FACE technology, it’s now possible to point a phone or tablet at a friend’s made-up face then virtually try on the same look using color-matched cosmetics by Rimmel. We have also modified the technology to create ‘Hands by Holition’ where people can ‘try on’ in real-time virtual nail color. The app uses highly advanced real-time tracking, realistic visualization and personalized skin tone analysis all combined into one mobile consumer app. {Editor’s note: This is one of the best applications of AR that we’ve seen out in the market. Excellent work, team Holition.}

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Could you tell us about the unique value you are bringing to the fashion tech space.

Holition makes technology fit for purpose-it is not just about creating beautiful and realistic apps, it is about ensuring the end user fully engages with the product. Technology HAS to be beautiful to work; we are driven by the human to technology experience or ‘digital anthropology’, to craft beautiful digital retail experiences which seamlessly integrate design with emerging technology. It is not about the technology and following trends, nor is it really about inventing them. The emphasis is on the experience consumers receive, and making sure that this experience is not only memorable, but also unbeatable–without need for improvement. Rather than being distracted by technology we prefer ideas to take precedence. The question is never how to do something until the solution has been refined but more about understanding the ultimate user experience.

What can we expect next from Holition?

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram – no doubt we’ll be doing something creative, innovative and beautiful!

Learn more about Holition and their past and current projects by visiting their website. Watch the video below and see Holition’s Showreel.

Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.

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