Microsoft-USI-LTCC: Digital Fashion at the service of telework

The students of the Master in Digital Fashion Communication (double degree with Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), together with Professor Lorenzo Cantoni (image taken before the pandemic).
The students of the Master in Digital Fashion Communication (double degree with Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), together with Professor Lorenzo Cantoni (image taken before the pandemic).

Institutional Communication Service

25 February 2021

A collaborative project between Microsoft Switzerland and USI – Università della Svizzera italiana to devise strategies that enable improved telework experience by combining fashion and technology to develop filters, backgrounds, and a digital wardrobe for professional online meetings. The project involves the students from USI Master in Digital Fashion Communication. It takes place in the context of the LifeStyle-Tech Competence Center (LTCC) Association.

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven most companies, also due to governmental provisions, to implement telework practices facilitating home office and moving meetings online. All this has been possible, thanks to dedicated platforms and software. In this context, Microsoft Teams has emerged as a leading platform worldwide since it has responded practically and on time to the new needs, which will also most likely stick once the pandemic is over, resulting in a general increase in online meetings and smart working.

However, teleworking has also brought to light some issues that range from personal and company data security to increased difficulty in reaching a work-life balance, up to psychological distress.    

Apparel and appearance also have their place and challenges in this “reinvention of our daily lives”*.

From such needs, the opportunity arises to provide a series of professional services through digital filters, which enable people in telework to prepare or change themselves “in one click”. A tool that comes in handy when organising our daily routine, helping with the conciliation between professional and private life.

Microsoft invites USI to devise innovative scenarios and concepts to develop filters to support professional videoconference communication. In particular, such innovative ideas involve digital make-up and hairstyledigital apparel, accessories and jewellery, and digital home décor, with specific reference to the professional context.

So far, digital filters have been developed primarily to create altered images, such as Snapchat filters, yet, in this case, filters are used to replicate in the best way possible the professional context. Hence, it does not imply using filters to look different but to look as we usually do at work.

There are several potential collaborations for this project which will focus on the ideas from the students. Digital make-up, digital apparel and jewellery could be developed with cosmetic, jewellery and garments producers, even at a craftsmanship and local level. Collaborations could also be extended to background settings (home décor), creating sets tailored to each professional reality’s specific needs in synergy with designers and interior designers, with tailored objectives such as promoting a relaxed and collaborative work environment.

The project, led by professor Lorenzo Cantoni – director of USI Master in Digital Fashion Communication and USI Institute of Digital Technologies for Communication – together with Tekila H. Nobile, will involve second-year students of the Master in Digital Fashion Communication (double degree with Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne). During the spring semester 2021, they will be involved in developing ideas and solutions with the chance to present their final projects to Microsoft.

The partnership between USI and Microsoft is part of the LifestyleTech Competence Center association and aims to benefit all the stakeholders involved by strengthening the support to research and to the development of Digital Fashion, encouraging collaborations between partners and promoting young talents, in specific offering USI’s students the opportunity to work on an innovative project with a global company.

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