Fashion

rag & bone elevates the catwalk with technology

rag & bone’s Fashion Week show reveals the potential Azure Kinect DK holds for immersing audiences in new fashion experiences.

Every September, fashion industry insiders from around the world flock to New York City for Fashion Week. The event features elaborate runway shows from the industry’s most brilliant designers and dictates clothing trends for the upcoming season.

After a three-year hiatus, acclaimed NYC-based fashion label rag & bone returned to the highly anticipated event on Friday, September 6, with a dynamic presentation entitled Contrasts and Perspectives that defied convention.

The goal is to completely redesign what a fashion show is. We wanted to get away from a traditional perspective of what a fashion show might be.

Aaron Duffy, Co-founder of SpecialGuest.co, commissioned for "Contrasts and Perspectives"

Not one to shy away from innovation, rag & bone’s edgy aesthetic—characterized by directional, modern design and classical tailoring—has gained a sizeable following among forward-thinking fashionistas. So it’s only natural that they would showcase their clothes in a similarly fresh and unconventional way, harnessing Microsoft’s very latest Azure Kinect DK technology to bring the clothing to life in 3D.

moving image of point cloud with model walking
Photo of robotic arm with Azure Kinect DK

The label sought to reimagine the catwalk for their show, with a custom-built robotic arm equipped with a built-in live-feed camera and Azure Kinect DK.

“While working with Miguel Espada, from Espada y Santa Cruz, on the project, we realized there are some things we get through the Azure Kinect DK that we wouldn’t normally get just from a straight video camera,” according to Aaron Duffy, co-founder of  SpecialGuest.co, the communications & arts company commissioned for the project. “The Kinect itself is actually helping us capture organic human movement, and building that into the robot so we have a less robotic movement… We also wanted to see volume; we’re getting to show the point clouds from the Kinect in real time.”

A New Vision

As the models sashayed down the catwalk (or in this case, around the stage of a modern amphitheater), the robot used the Azure Kinect DK, the Sensor SDK, and Body Tracking SDK to instantly capture the models and their garments from unexpected angles and unique vantage points, transforming them into 3D pointillist models of cloud-point data. The unlikely images were then projected for all to see in a multi-dimensional 360-degree view, on screens around the amphitheater—truly bringing the runway to life.

The presentation transformed the aesthetic experience of a fashion show, providing a holistic and detailed view of rag & bone’s collection that encouraged attendees to reconsider a conventional fashion show format.

Dancer in point cloud at the rag & bone show
dancers underneath robotic arm at rag and bone show
Dancers are captured by the robotic arm using Microsoft Azure Kinect DK. Robot programmed and directed by Miguel Espada from Espada y Santa Cruz and Nestor Rubio.
gif of point cloud images of dancers
Point cloud images of the dancers projected at rag & bone's show "Contrasts and Perspectives."

rag & bone’s founder Marcus Wainwright is no stranger to technology, and sees big potential for the possibilities it can power for fashion. In fact, last February, the designer harnessed Azure Kinect DK to document an intimate event, the exclusive rag & bone supper party.

Fashion shows traditionally are just seen as a straight camera shot of someone walking down the runway. And we’ve always focused on different ways of seeing things, and incorporating technology into an otherwise analog situation…

Marcus Wainwright, founder, rag & bone
Marcus Wainwright, founder of rag and bone holding point cloud camera after show
model walks at rag and bone fashion show rehearsal
Dancer rehearses in front of robotic camera arm
renderings of point cloud images on a computer
dancers practice in front of robotic camera arm at rehearsal
model walks the runway at rag and bone show
models at the rag and bone rehearsal space
drummer with point cloud image of dancers

rag & bone’s return to Fashion Week is more than just a one-time gimmick—rather, it signals innovative potential that tech holds to redesign fashion now and in the future.