USI and Bally unite to digitise the historical archive of the famous fashion brand


Institutional Communication Service

21 March 2022

The Heritage and Innovation project seeks to digitalise Bally's extensive historical archive. In the words of Maria Aguado Cabrera, head of the project for the company, "it is (the archive) an active heritage and generator of ideas, not a simple repository of a legacy". The collaboration will make it possible to digitalise Bally's vast archive, which includes more than 30,000 shoes - one of the largest collections in the world in terms of the number of shoes and the variety of their geographical and historical origin - printed, video and photographic material. Part of the archive, previously shown in the Bally Shoe Museum in Schönenwerd, Canton Solothurn, where the company originated, will find a new exhibition space at the Bally Heleneum Lab Lugano.

The collaboration with USI concerns both the creation of digital exhibitions, to introduce the history of shoes and footwear to new audiences in innovative ways, and a digital upgrade of the physical exhibition, through virtual and augmented reality, 3D printing and other technologies. According to Professor Lorenzo Cantoni, director of USI Institute of Digital Technologies for Communication and director of the Master in Digital Fashion Communication, "it is an important step in this ongoing cooperation. It shows how fruitful and mutually enriching collaborations between companies and universities can be. Fashion-related exhibitions - he added - have gone from being the Cinderella of museums to attracting a wider and wider audience and a growing interest, which sees fashion as one of the privileged sectors in which to study the history of costume".

This initiative - part of the LifeStyle-Tech Competence Center association - will reinforce Bally's approach towards a digital-based operating model. Thorugh the digital archive (tagging and metadata included), Bally's creative department will be able to consult past designs and draw inspiration for future creations easily. The three-year agreement, signed on 10 March, marks the collaboration between Bally, Hyphen and USI, which will carry out the project also with the support of other technology partners: Microsoft and Moresi.


The LifeStyle-Tech Competence Center (LTCC) Association

The scope of the Association is to foster and support, in the framework of the Switzerland Innovation Park-Ticino, innovative businesses that can perform R&D in the Lifestyle-Tech, FoodTech, FashionTech, MediaTech, TravelTech, DesignTech, ArtTech, Smartworking, Smartliving, eEntertainment, SportTech and similar sectors, to improve their competitiveness with a positive impact on society in terms of qualified jobs, quality of life, and the overall economy. Furthermore, the Association intends to foster synergies among relevant partners and create a Competence Center dedicated to the LifeStyle industries, supporting the organic growth of the community at the Swiss and international level. In particular, the Association intends to promote collaboration between companies and academic institutions, encouraging the transfer of technology and knowledge.