LONDON — Microsoft believes that technology can empower the next generation of creatives and is joining forces with the London College of Fashion to give students access to its latest innovations.
As part of the partnership, the two organizations have created a short-term program dubbed the “Future of Fashion Incubator” where students studying across the school’s media, design and business departments can work together to come up with creative solutions addressing current industry and consumer needs.
The program will take place over the course of a semester and will allow students to explore a range of Microsoft technologies, such as artificial intelligence and mixed reality, before choosing one area of study to concentrate on.
“It has been fantastic to see how the students are answering an industry or consumer need and ideating a solution which technology is part of — but they didn’t start the challenge with the tech in mind. This is key for us to ensure that the solutions we work on have longevity and a true purpose,” said Maruschka Loubser, senior global marketing manager at Microsoft, pointing to the wide range of topics students chose to address with their projects, including retail experiences, supply chain managements and the design process.
For Microsoft, it’s important to be connected with the new generation in order to allow them to utilize its technology to create a more sustainable fashion industry: “The fashion industry has driven some remarkable innovations in the last couple of years, but due to consumer, industry and environmental changes it is imperative to continue asking the difficult questions. We need to evolve the way we use resources so we can be more sustainable in the future, and innovate the creative process itself to be more cost-effective, time-efficient and collaborative,” added Loubser.
A series of experts, including designer Charli Cohen and consultant Sofia Barattieri, have been appointed as ambassadors of the new program and will consult with students to help them develop their ideas into prototypes.
London College of Fashion has been paving the way for the use of technology in the way fashion is taught at universities. Last year, it opened a Digital Learning Lab, which allows students and staff to experiment with equipment such as virtual reality headsets, depth cameras that can track a body’s movement, 3-D printing and scanning and also offers one-on-one consultations for students from all disciplines who want to learn how to incorporate technology into their work.
“We have a long-term view of inspiring a new generation in design and recognize that a multi-disciplinary skill-set will be crucial in shaping future fashion businesses,” said Matthew Drinkwater, head of fashion innovation agency at the London College of Fashion.