Situated off a cobblestone street in New York City’s Meatpacking District is a sleek, glass-encased building that at first look appears to be a chic apartment complex.
Rather than ornately designed bedrooms, inside lays a high-tech hive of interactive art installations and event spaces developed by Samsung 837, an emerging offshoot of the technology conglomerate. While the company remains adamant that the location, which opened to the public in February, is not technically a store, it has stayed true to its mission to enhance technological ventures in a number of areas, including music, sports, and most recently, fashion.
Last week, Samsung 837 partnered with the Council of Fashion Designers of America on the after party for the organization’s annual award event, and now is teaming up with New York Fashion Week to develop virtual reality programming during the upcoming men’s spring and summer 2017 shows in July.
According to Zach Overton, vp of experiential and general manager at Samsung 837, the on-site virtual reality simulators will allow attendees to look behind the scenes at the design process, noting virtual reality has been a major focus for 837.
“We found that VR is an amazing tool to give people a very quick and immersive view of the artists’ creative process,” Overton said. “It creates an in-depth look at what makes them tick, so that people really get to understand what’s special and unique about these designers and their point of view.”
Overton added that virtual reality could serve as an extension of the fashion designer as a personality, particularly as social media has pushed many to become increasingly authentic and genuine on social media platforms.
“VR is such an immersive experience, and we’re seeing fashion designers really become personalities on their own, very much fueled by technology and Instagram specifically,” he said. “VR is an opportunity to take it a real step further.”
A visit to the Samsung 837 building shows the company is laser focused on integrated technology ventures; in its virtual reality tunnel, visitors put on headsets to go inside their favorite video games or sporting events. At “The Gallery,” passersby can connect their Instagram account to create an immersive, 360-degree museum of photos. The space also includes a three-story amphitheater for performers, screenings and radio recordings.
Overton said they are in the process of planning programming around New York Fashion Week this fall, and will continue to collaborate with the CFDA to foster emerging talent. This includes the Men’s Platform 3 Designers, a program that will showcase promising menswear brands during July fashion week.
Carlos Garciavelez, designer at GACRIAVELEZ and part of the Men’s Platform 3 group, said the program has helped open his eyes to how to utilize digital content to promote his brand.
“It’s more important to have a digital presence than even a show,” Garciavelez said.