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Henry Holland introduces wearable tech to catwalk

British designer Henry Holland has partnered with Visa Europe to bring wearable payment technology onto the catwalk for the first time.

Celebrity guests at the House of Holland spring 16 showcase at London Fashion Week on Saturday (September 19) could use rings enabled with near-field communication (NFC) technology to purchase items worn by the models.

A number of pieces from the collection contained a payment receiver tag linked via Bluetooth to Visa’s payment network.

Each ring was pre-loaded with £500. Once payment was received, the item was bagged up backstage and handed to the buyer as they left the show. Celebrities using the tech included Alexa Chung and Daisy Lowe.

Holland has been working on the concept with Visa Europe Collab, the payment provider’s east London-based innovation lab, for the past 100 days.

He said: “Visa got in touch with me about incorporating technology into a fashion show. I wanted to create something based around a consumer experience.”

Holland designed the ring with some of the key motifs from the spring 16 collection. “It was important to me to have a desirable piece of jewellery that happened to have NFC capability. I wasn’t willing to compromise. The reason that ring is so big is because I’d design it that way anyway. There were no [design] parameters.”

Holland was confident this could have wider uses in retail in the future: ““With click-and-collect people do it remotely anyway. Look at online shopping.

“Imagine the store you could build if you didn’t need rails and a cash desk. It could be like a fashion show, where the music is curated and you choose what you want to purchase and move to a different area [to collect it].”

Steve Perry, founder and co-creator of Visa Europe Collab, said: “Our goal in this partnership was to push the boundaries of payments and the retail experience – to produce something beautiful and desirable, yet with a very practical and functional purpose.”

He explained part of the reason Visa Europe Collab chose Holland is because, unusually, his spring 16 collection is on sale almost immediately after LFW. “We needed that immediacy.”

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