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BFC and Google create British fashion education platform

Lauretta Roberts
05 December 2016

The British Fashion Council (BFC) and Google have joined forces on a digital collaboration that promises to bring to life the “creativity, heritage and craftsmanship” of British fashion.

A new digital educational platform featuring content and stories from top British designers and fashion insiders is now live and available to view for free. The platform has been set up to support the BFC’s Education Foundation and aims to attract future talent into the industry.

Content on the platform is comprised of more than 1,000 assets, including 20 multimedia exhibits, 25 videos and three virtual reality experiences, all accessible on desktop, laptop or mobile.

Highlights of the digital collection include:

- A super high resolution capture of a couture dress from Alexander McQueen’s SS17 collection, allowing people to zoom in and see its threadwork in never-before-seen detail; and a 360 video featuring the inspiration behind top couture dresses

- Manolo Blahnik at work in virtual-reality at his London atelier

- Curated exhibits from and about fashion legends and brands including Burberry, Browns, David Bailey, Edward Enninful, Erdem, i-D, J.W.Anderson, Michael Howells, Naomi Campbell, Paul Smith, Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood

- Decades of British craftsmanship from the houses of Harris Tweed, John Lobb shoes, Lochcarron Tartan and the Royal School of Needlework

Sarah Mower MBE, American Vogue chief critic and BFC ambassador for emerging talent, has also directed a short film captured in 360 VR so viewers can come face-to-face with industry luminaries, who share touching and personal insights about their careers in fashion.

Using Google Cardboard or on YouTube via a 360 video, users can watch supermodel Naomi Campbell, designer and entrepreneur Anya Hindmarch, creative director Edward Enninful and Joan Burstein, founder and honorary chairman of Browns.

Visitors can also explore archival materials from top British fashion houses sorting their searches by colour and chronology. They will be able to get close to British Fashion’s biggest characters and moments, reliving Kate Moss’s first runway show at London Fashion Week and exploring profiles of the fashion industry’s key players - from Naomi Campbell to Burberry’s Christopher Bailey.

To mark the launch of the project, Paul Smith has designed a special-edition Google Cardboard and created online exhibits around five objects that represent his creative vision and brand.

For London Fashion Week Men’s in January the site will feature a ‘Spotlight on Menswear’ featuring content from GQ’s Dylan Jones, Jim Chapman and Nick Knight.

British Fashion Council CEO Caroline Rush CBE said the platform gave young people access to information that was not previously available. “This collaboration represents a new step, bringing together diverse information into one, engaging place. We hope this legacy project will not only inspire but also educate – allowing young people wanting to get into fashion to see the breadth of individuals, skills and careers that make up this multifaceted industry,” she said.

The online exhibition opens today and is available for free online and through the new Google Arts & Culture mobile app on iOS and Android. All of the 360 degree videos are available on YouTube.

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