13/06/2016 13:17 BST | Updated 14/06/2017 06:12 BST

Will Tech Turn Us Into a Nation of 'Passer-Buyers'?

Have you ever walked down the street, fallen in love with what a passer-by was wearing, and wanted to own it, instantly? Isn't it frustrating to know you may never find out where that outfit came from?

Not for the people at my LC:M fashion-show-cum-rave-cave on Friday night, which was a tribute to late 80s and early 90s rave culture.

If they wanted to pick up one of my graphic tees - inspired by old flyers from The Haçienda, the former nightclub in my hometown Manchester - or one of my hand embroidered pieces, they just did it on the spot!

All with a little help from a special augmented reality shopping app which, in my humble opinion, is HANDS DOWN the future of retail.


One of my models looking extra dapper (and extra shoppable!) at my LC:M show

The tech, developed in partnership with Visa Europe Collab and the augmented reality experts at Blippar, let people at the show scan clothes with the camera on their phone, click and buy - just like that.

What does that mean? It means the world just became shoppable. If you see someone on the street and you're like 'Wow, that's an amazing top, where did you get it from?' that person can strike a pose and let you scan their outfit to buy your own right there!

Not only does this work in person. If you're flicking through a magazine, or watching your favourite reality TV show, you can simply hold your phone up to immediately steal someone's look.

Gone are the days when you had to remember what the item looks like, search for it on Google, add it to your basket, type in your credit card details... yada yada yada.


Here is a pic of Grimmy's AR shopping spree in action:

Visa tells me they aim to make the world shoppable and working with them again is beyond exciting for me. Remember the last project I blogged about? Cashless on the Catwalk at LFW last September?

During that womenswear show, we demonstrated another form of wearable tech and being able to purchase through Near Field Communication, via an accessory (a glitzy ring) and a reader (a tag attached to the models' outfits).

Whilst we demonstrated that in the context of LFW, it was a closed invite-only event and done as a proof of concept - a testing ground. This project for LC:M however, takes it one step further. This is live data.

Nick Grimshaw, Rafferty Law and Jack Guinness physically came to my show, purchased products from my menswear collection and had them delivered to their home by 10am the following morning!


Voilà: my AR shopping app

People are constantly trying to think of new ways that the worlds of fashion and tech can interact and work together. In a world where a new app seems to be made every minute, it is the simple, useful and practical tech that will stand the test of time.

An idea like this - augmented reality that is both useful and cool - has so much to offer consumers and, crucially, the retailers - who like me just want to make shopping as easy as possible!

Just imagine a future where you see something on the street or in a piece of print media, love it, and can buy it in your size right away just by holding up your phone. It's easy, it's quick (who doesn't have a phone in easy reach right now?!) and its applications are practically limitless.

It's time to say goodbye to fashion envy - and hello to a nation of "passer-buyers"!


Nicola Roberts and Jack Guinness also tested the app at my LC:M show