Holographic Models Walk Forever 21’s Runway

May 03, 2011
George Anderson

Forever 21 was looking to create something real with its "fashion
for the people" runway show, so it decided to go with holographic models.

fast fashion retailer worked with space150, a digital design agency, to create
eight shows that it will take around the world. The first show had its debut
to celebrate the grand opening of the chain’s flagship store in
Vienna, Austria.

"Our customers are always searching for the next big thing, or fashion
trends before they happen," said Linda Chang, senior marketing manager,
Forever 21, in a press release. "We love that about them, so we are always
thinking about how to surprise them, show them things they’ve never seen
before and give them new exciting ways to get involved with Forever 21."

"Forever 21 is a phenomenon. They’re a leader in bringing accessible,
up-to-the-minute fashion to customers everywhere. We designed these holographic
shows as a more advanced way to premiere a new line that is more controllable,
less hassle and has much greater impact for the same price as a traditional
runway event," said Billy Jurewicz, founder and CEO of space150.

"We’re not saying the traditional runway show has seen its end,
but this technology and concept really rethinks the idea of what a runway can
now do," Mr. Jurewicz added.

Discussion Questions: What do you think about the use of holographic models used in fashion shows and other retail applications? Will the Forever 21 runway show represent the onset of a new trend for catwalk shows?

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8 Comments on "Holographic Models Walk Forever 21’s Runway"

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Dick Seesel
9 years 7 months ago

From the YouTube clip, this looks like a clever way to highlight multiple outfits in an eye-catching way. And, of course, it generated some “buzz” for a store that caters to budget-minded fashionistas. Does this technology become the “brave new world” of fashion merchandising? It’s tempting to overstate the importance of what Forever 21 did, but it’s worth giving them full credit for a creative use of digital wizardry to sell product and the brand.

Kevin Graff
9 years 7 months ago

I watch the video and find myself in awe! Loved it, and the whole of idea of making fashion fun again (it’s supposed to be fun, right?). For Forever 21 this definitely fits their client base who will lap this up at the fashion show (which they can never really attend anyway) and online. With everything else changing, it’s about time the old style, totally out-of-touch fashion shows do too.

Ryan Mathews
9 years 7 months ago

It’s great to be the first to use a holographic runway. The second? Not so much.

Nobody in the fashion industry wants to be seen as a follower.

That said, there might be some applications of the technology–say an in-store runway at a fashion house or holographic demonstrators at other kinds of retailers.

On the whole though, novelty acts rarely have staying power.

Bill Bittner
Bill Bittner
9 years 7 months ago

The line between reality and the virtual world continues to blur. Combine this capability with your personal measurements and an image of your face and you too can become a runway model. Being able to see a hologram that displays clothing exactly the way it would look on us may be too much for some people, but it could also be a fascinating new way for others to shop. Imagine sitting at home with a few “shopping buddies” as you watch holograms of yourselves wearing clothes from different designers. This “shopping by avatar” allows you to get instant feedback and complete your purchase without ever leaving home. Another blow for brick and mortar.

Dan Berthiaume
Dan Berthiaume
9 years 7 months ago

Right now, holographs make sense for trendy, youth-oriented retailers like Forever 21 or seriously techy retailers like Apple Store. I don’t think customers at mainstream, middle America retailers are ready for holographs yet. It’s too early to say what the future holds for holographs, but there is no reason they won’t gradually become commonplace as technology advances and the Internet Generation becomes the dominant force in society.

Carol Spieckerman
9 years 7 months ago

Burberry got there first and now others are following. The Burberry show in Beijing was a full-on happening with holographic models, digitally-generated “rain” and other wow-factor effects (my just-published article for LIMA is about how Burberry is setting a standard in operational efficiency and non-quantifiable brand-building tactics).

It’s interesting how technology and fashion have become so intertwined that the bundle of both is starting to follow the fashion model: luxury houses put the big fashion/tech ideas out there and fast fashion players quickly adapt their versions!

Larry Negrich
9 years 7 months ago

Forever 21’s use of holographic technology to present their fashion show was a great example of utilizing technology that delivers functionality and contributes to brand-building at the same time. F21 used an appropriate solution for their need, audience, and message. This solution may not be right for all retailers or all fashion shows but it was a perfect fit for Forever 21’s fashion presentation. Well done!

M. Jericho Banks PhD
M. Jericho Banks PhD
9 years 7 months ago

“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” Wow!, the Forever 21 holograms have come a long way from the Star Wars version, but that was “A long time ago in a galaxy far away.” Clearly there have been improvements since then. (BTW, Dictionary.com seems to favor “hologram” over “holograph” when used as a noun.)

I love this stuff, and disagree with those who predict that the “wow factor” will wear off and grow tired. The many uses other commentators have listed here today are only scratching the surface. Remember, 3D was once a “wow factor” technology, and look how far it’s come over time.


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