Fashion and technology are becoming a dynamic duo this year with more brands pivoting to digital forms of fashion presentations.

Emerging brand Sadé + Shaniya — a Black-owned fashion and lifestyle brand founded by bestfriends Sadé Lewis and Shaniya Charles — unveiled their new The Looking Glass capsule collection yesterday to celebrate women through introspection, self-reflection, and discovery.

The collection draws inspiration from the “House of Mirrors” concept and the women surrounding them, composed of textiles that bounce off light and create movement in the body.

“While the textiles we choose are not overtly reflective, we wanted the textiles to embody the qualities of each woman we envisioned: buoyant, soft but yet solid,” Charles said. “The luxe velvets, corduroys, hammered textured silks, flowing pleats, and moiré seen throughout very much reflects the qualities of the women we know and love dearly.”

To further help showcase the new collection, the two young designers recruited the help of some of the latest 3D and AR technology coupled with real-life models to deliver a pre-recorded presentation to followers of the brand.

“Like many other brands, due to the pandemic, we had to change our plans to release our capsule collection” Lewis said. “Inspired by the unique ways brands were presenting their latest collections despite all of the restrictions, as well as our love for the traditional runway style, we brainstormed and decided to incorporate both digital and physical elements to our show.”

Both Lewis and Charles taught themselves how to incorporate 3D and AR elements within their latest fashion show and hired professional 3D and AR artists to further assist the process.

Photo Credit: Sadé + Shaniya

With many brands leaning on technology during this time where in-person interactions are so limited, Sadé + Shaniya wanted to stand out as a brand helping to integrate tech into the fashion world.

“I have been interested in [AR tech] for a while, but didn’t dive into it until this year,” Lewis revealed. “We both have always loved the traditional runway experience and used to model together in high school. We decided to go for a mixed reality approach – blending 3D, AR, and physical. It pays respects to our upbringing and the future of fashion.”

With the fashion industry’s post-COVID future still up in the air, designers have thankfully been able to utilize technology more while developing collections and putting together fashion shows.

Both Lewis and Charles shared their sentiments on designers being able to rely on technology as a major component in fashion presentations going forward.

“It definitely allows designers to expand on their creativity and broaden the experience for their artistic vision and their audience,” they said. “We think it’s important to have a healthy balance. Amongst the beautiful technological advances we have, there’s still a desire for a tangible experience and interaction.”

As far as future plans for the brand, Sadé + Shaniya are confident that their fashion collections will continue building upon the foundation Black women in their industry have laid.

“It’s really hard to see past this present climate we’re in due to COVID, but it’s important for us to take ownership of our culture and creativity as Black women,” they shared. “Through our brand, we want to continue to tell authentic stories and share our art with the hopes to inspire our peers.”

They added: “Our goal is to expand the business in order to create the means to do so, as well as provide resources and awareness for the design community in areas such as sustainability, ownership, and production.”

Sadé + Shaniya’s The Looking Glass capsule collection will be available online at starting Monday, Oct. 19.