The VR-experience was developed on behalf of Night of the Nerds. The aim is to make young people aware of the fast fashion problem with an experience. But what is this problem exactly?
We often think that fashion brands launch a new collection every season, but fast fashion brands do this 52 times a year. Disposable fashion, a lot of which ends up on rubbish tips. A visit to fashion shops as part of the preliminary research was an eye-opener, says Roduén: "In one shop we saw products made from recycled materials. They were expensive and the shop was empty. In the Primark, it was extremely busy, and you can buy a shirt for €2.50. You wonder how that can be. You wonder how that is possible. People choose cheap products and are not so concerned with issues such as pollution and working conditions.
Beyond the website
So how do you convey information to a younger audience? To this end, extensive research was carried out using questionnaires and interviews. Roduén: "Young people like information in compact portions and preferably visually. They want to absorb what they find interesting. After extensive brainstorming, the group came up with a VR experience. The group wanted to go beyond a website: "Because it is an isolated event, we wanted to offer an immersive experience and enable young people to gather knowledge themselves. In this setting, a VR-experience fits very well."
Opportunities for VR
VR is not yet widely used for this kind of knowledge sharing. This is mainly due to the cost, Sam explains: "Schoolchildren find it too expensive, so for home use it would not be the right choice. They are dependent on parents and will therefore not easily choose VR." Previously, only Daan had worked with the technology and the group ran into challenges especially in finding the right equipment: "On none of our laptops did the VR equipment work. So I did a lot of it at home on my PC, including all the user tests. That was very interesting, and the user interface worked fine for all testers." There was still feedback on the user experience and immersion, but there was enough time to fix these. Sam: "Some testers were scared by the shadow of clouds in the game. That was a funny result."
Night of the Nerds
The project is now complete and during Night of the Nerds the group presents 'Clothes Minded'. Thanks to good planning, there is no stress at the moment, only about the equipment. Still, the group has learned a lot, says Roduén: "Of course we have learned to work with VR. But above all I learned more about the world, about the mean game of fast fashion, young people's view of the world and how you can reach them. VR is not going to solve fast fashion, but maybe it will help them to become more aware."
'Clothes Minded' is developed by Roduén Ajubi , Daan Visseren, Omar Kacimi and Sam Bos for Night of the Nerds. Night of the Nerds takes place on 15 June in the Fontys ICT Innovation Lab. More information can be found here.