Technology in starring role at NY Fashion Week

Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:30pm EDT
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By Jan Paschal and Martinne Geller

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Internet and advances in technology are transforming fashion, making it easier for designers to create collections and less expensive for them to show and sell their work, experts say.

Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars on a runway show at New York Fashion Week, some designers presented collections for spring and summer 2010 online, while others are expanding the reach of their brand by making it easier for shoppers to buy their clothes online.

Designer Norma Kamali and Polo Ralph Lauren Corp's Rugby brand both have applications for Apple Inc's iPhone that allows shoppers to buy clothes from their phone.

"This is the technology that's changing our lives," said Kamali, who displayed her spring and summer 2010 collection as well as exclusive lines for eBay Inc and at the Apple store in Manhattan's Soho neighborhood.

Kamali's iPhone application has a "Try Before You Buy" option, which allows clothes to be sent overnight to a customer, who provides her credit card information, so she can try them on at home before committing to buy.

Menswear designer Miguel Antoinne and womenswear designer Marc Bouwer both put on virtual fashion shows, while models at Vivienne Tam's show carried gold "digital clutches" -- a Hewlett-Packard Co netbook adorned with a Tam design.

Mazdack Rassi, co-founder and creative director of Milk Studios, a hip downtown space that showed about 70 collections during New York Fashion Week, said he hopes to broaden the reach of Fashion Week and was considering projecting shows on the side of a building so people at a nearby park could watch.

"It goes back to opening it up to the consumer," Rassi said during a panel discussion on the future of fashion. "That can only be done through technology."   Continued...

<p>Models present creations from the Calvin Klein Spring 2010 collection during New York Fashion Week September 17, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>