The revolutionary technology of Microsoft Surface was launched to the fashion industry recently.
Lifeline IT, a Microsoft Certified partner, unveiled the innovative Surface to some 30,000 fashion and retail industry visitors at Graduate Fashion Week Fashion (GFW) in London (6-9 June 2010). Microsoft Surface is currently only being used in the UK by selected museums and banks, so its presence at GFW was a major coup for Microsoft.
Surface was used to showcase the collections of final year students from the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) and it was the first time the technology has been used in a fashion environment in the UK.
Lifeline IT, working alongside Microsoft partner Xface, joined with UCA so the benefits of Surface could be demonstrated to a retail audience. Rather than displaying collections in static ‘look books’, Surface enabled students to show their work using an interactive forum.
Said Daniel Mitchell, founder and director of Lifeline IT: “The fashion industry moves at an incredibly fast pace, so innovative technology that can help attract and retain customers is vital. We wanted to show the multiple-uses of Surface in a fashion environment, so Graduate Fashion Week was the perfect place to do this. The key thing about Surface is that you have to interact with it to see how the concept works – by launching at GFW, we could demonstrate the benefits to thousands of people.”
Microsoft Surface is a computing platform that responds to natural hand gestures and real world objects, helping people interact in a simple and intuitive way.
Using the innovative touch-screen, several users can manipulate and manoeuvre digital content, drive specific interactions with objects, and allow devices to connect and engage with Microsoft Surface.
It is well-suited to a retail environment, as it allows customers to view products or design how a new kitchen would look in their home, as well as visually create a new wardrobe or plan a menu. It can also be used for loyalty card schemes and to attract new customers.
Lifeline IT has extensive knowledge of the fashion industry and its needs. The company sets up and develops IT systems for a number of retail businesses, including Browns Fashion, James Jeans and Sara Berman.
It was because of Lifeline IT’s experience that the company decided to demonstrate Surface at GFW. Lifeline IT is a key sponsor of GFW, providing all IT systems and support during the five-day event.
As part of the launch, Lifeline IT issued visitors with smart cards that could be placed on Surface to download the students’ portfolios. The information can then be retrieved after the event via a dedicated website.
Said Daniel: “By getting students from across the UK to see how Surface works, we were educating the next generation of fashion retailers on how interactive technology like this can benefit retail businesses.”
Added Alargarsamy Rajamannar of Xface, a dedicated Microsoft Surface partner that offers tailored solutions to small and medium sized business: “The launch was also a great example of collaboration between two Microsoft partners – Lifeline IT and Xface – to demonstrate the very best of Microsoft innovation to an influential audience.”
Graduate Fashion Week, held at Earls Court, is a forum to promote the very best graduate fashion design talent in the UK. It attracts interest from retail companies keen to identify the industry’s next generation.
Said UCA’s Jules Findley, Course Leader for Fashion, Promotion and Imaging: “Being able to use Surface to show the students’ final collections was ground-breaking for UCA. The interest was incredible and the interactive nature of Surface meant key industry figures could download information about the students’ work and take away an actual record of what they had seen.”