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Embedding Technology In Haute Couture

Creating bespoke garments with impeccable construction and craftsmanship starts with mastering the traditional way of making clothing. But for AZRAEL.YM designers Azrael Yang and Anaelle Xu, it now means even more. After meeting Anina Net of 360FASHION NETWORK, they started experimenting with technology and realized their haute couture fashion could reach a whole new level. In this way, they grew as designers and identified with their brand's mantra even more: Be Unique. Be Original. Be An Artist.

1. What inspired you to start working in fashion and technology?

Fashion is so multi-dimensional; on the one hand, it’s traditional clothing and, on the other other hand, you have fashion tech now. That is why we love fashion and founded the brand Azrael.YM after our graduation. Our studies had brought us into the world of traditional fashion and then Anina Net (Founder of 360Fashion Network) aroused our curiosity for fashion tech. We had seen beautiful 3D printed creations from Iris van Herpen and the glowing Cinderella dress by Zac Posen, but we never thought of working with tech ourselves. Then we met Anina who showed us her robotic dress and LED ribbons and we started to think where and how we could combine fashion with technology in perfect harmony.

2. Can you tell us about the process behind creating the "smart glove" and any recent success you've had?

The first time we heard about the idea behind the 360Fash Tech “smart glove” we were so excited. A glove with lighting patterns that you can control by your will, who would not want it?! We just have to make it beautiful! We quickly realized that we had to hide all the electronics nicely, and in that way technology started having an effect on the way we design. We did some research and showed Anina our first sketches. After that we had a lot to discuss, like figuring out the best size for the battery. So it wasn’t easy. We’ve been selected several times to participate in Beijing Mercedes Fashion Week (2017SS, 2017AW), and on our 2017AW fashion show we decided to show the smart glove. Now we are working with 360Fashion Network on a “smart wallet” with a charging cable inside of it!

3. Do you think fashion and technology is the future?

Yes, definitely! Technology is generating our generation right now. Fashion and technology have already merged in the past few years. Nowadays you see 3D printed clothes, recharging jeans, changing-color sweaters, laser cutting, and digital knitting and weaving. People might still need some time to get used to fashion tech, but we think it’s only a matter of time--fashion & technology is clearly the new power couple!

4. Any piece of advice for designers?

Stay focused on what you love to do, and be persistent and patient because things take a lot of time to grow and they don’t come easily!

For 360Fashion Network, this is just the beginning. The technology inside the 360Fash Tech "smart glove" is an Intel Curie Module with a six axis accelerometer which can also be used for virtual reality. In fact, Anina Net is developing a kit around just that coming soon to Queen of Raw! With all the virtual reality applications being developed for schools, the travel industry, gaming, fashion, dance, and more, this is a great opportunity for the future of fashion and design!

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