Fashion industry professionals and consumers saw the power and versatility of VR technology firsthand at New York Fashion Week on February 14, as FTL Moda provided a VR platform for fashion designers to display their clothes in a unique, interactive environment.

Even though the show was in New York City, via the VR technology, attendees were whisked away to Milan for a “Dreaming of Italy” presentation, which featured immersive, 360-degree videos of fashion collections, shot in Milan a week earlier. Wearing a Samsung Gear VR headset powered by Oculus, New York Fashion Week attendees were treated to a virtual red carpet experience in the venerable Italian city, complete with a museum-style backstage and digital mannequins showcasing the actual collections. The fashions themselves included 110-year-old Italian label INVICTA, high-end Israeli couture Lamour Ben Yosef, and modesty line Fllumae’, among others. The immersive experience enabled attendees to view and engage with the fashions at their own pace, getting more information and indicating their level of interest in specific pieces.

“Because of its immersive nature, virtual reality is a powerful medium for designers to tell their story and engage buyers and consumers with a collection in a deeper way,” said Neha Singh, founder and CEO of Obsess, the technology startup behind the VR platform used for the “Dreaming of Italy” presentation. By creating a realistic, completely immersive experience, they expect to bring high-end retail to life through technology. “We believe this new experience, in collaboration with Samsung and Obsess, represents the next step forward in the fashion world, with a strong focus on high-end retail and wholesale,” added Ilaria Niccolini, FTL Moda president, “and we are determined to take full advantage of it to keep promoting the values and ideas that are always at the heart of all we do.”

Following the VR experience, attendees had access to Samsung tablets featuring all product details.

The move to VR technology enables fashion retailers to meet the growing customer demand for the see-now, buy-now customers who want immediate access to what they see on the red carpet. As consumers today are constantly seeking different and exciting retail shopping experiences, VR is set to become commonplace not only at fashion shows, but also in retail stores throughout the country.

Another exciting way retailers are revolutionizing the shopping experience is through interactive mirrors.