Fashion Research Institute Launches Virtual Runway

Press Release: Virtual Runway Helps Fashion Designers Accelerate Their Sales and Marketing

Fashion Research Institute launches immersive, interactive runway show for apparel industry

NEW YORK —  This month, fashion leaps forward at warp speed as Fashion Research Institute launches Virtual Runway™, a 24/7 on-demand 3D runway show service for fashion designers. For the first time ever, fashion designers can quickly and easily present their design concepts in an interactive 3D environment that allows designers to cut time to market, save sample costs, and showcase their work to both wholesale and retail buyers.

Virtual Runway™ recreates the look and feel of a live show with music, 360-degree views of fully-customizable virtual models and both immersive and video capabilities.  Designers can log into their private runway studio and iterate on their designs, then showcase their work in a fully choreographed runway show. They can invite buyers, media, colleagues, and production managers into their runway studio, where they can discuss the designs as the models move around the runway.   Or designers can simply make fast, easy videos, with file sizes small enough to be sent to any mobile device.

Unlike traditional runway shows and web-shows, the Virtual Runwayâ„¢ models can also interact with the audience.

(Image courtesy Fashion Research Institute)
(Image courtesy Fashion Research Institute)

“Our model avatars have artificial intelligence,” said Shenlei Winkler, CEO, Fashion Research Institute.  “They will say exactly what you tell them to say, so you can have them talk about the designs they are wearing, the designer, the collection, and any other marketing information you want them to share. You don’t need to supervise them, and even though they are multi-tasking our Virtual Runway models never miss a step.”

Virtual Runway™ has more than 800 billion stock model options available to designers, who also have an additional 900 billion choices of accessories.  This wide range of options lets designers fully customize their models, selecting from choices that include everything from more than 2,500 hairstyles and hundreds of makeup options in up to 20 skin tones.  And once the models are dressed and ready to go, a designer simply chooses a choreographed runway set and adds her own label and branding to the set.

Both local and environmental lighting is built-in, and models can be highlighted, or the entire environment changed quickly and easily to reflect the mood the designer wants for her collection.  Once the models are moving on the catwalk, designers can invite others to join her in her Virtual Runway™ studio, or she can create video that is perfect for web or mobile.

“We’re very excited about this product.” Winkler said. “We are using it to present a mirror world event on behalf of two of our best student interns from Buffalo State University.  We have created their senior fashion show inside a Virtual Runway™ studio, and have filmed the collections in advance of their actual runway show.  Our video of their virtual collections and the actual physical collections will be concurrently presented on May 1, 2010.”

Virtual Runwayâ„¢ runs on top of the OpenSim platform, and training for designers to learn to use the interface and the Runway software are available through short seminars and accredited college courses