Helsinki Fashion Week
Press Release II

1st of June 2020
in Helsinki, Finland

“Hey Kuki, are you excited for HFW?”

3D Digital Village of Helsinki Fashion Week Taps Pandorabots to Deliver AI Host for All Digital Event

HFW will deliver conversational AI for first-of-its-kind all Digital Fashion Week through the digital sanctuary which is a personal space for the users a strong emphasis on collaboration.
“There couldn’t be a better time to make AI accessible to the fashion industry, particularly with partners like HFW that share our commitment to auditing and minimizing our carbon footprint in both the physical and digital realms.” Shanna Reznik, Head of Partnerships at Pandorabots.

Pandorabots is a leading chatbot platform that powers conversational AI software for hundreds of thousands of developers and top global brands. It is also the AI engine behind the award-winning Conversational AI and Virtual Talent Kuki, (a.k.a. Mitsuku): a record-breaking, five-time winner of the Loebner Prize Turing Test and the world’s best conversational AI chatbot in production according to industry experts like Google AI Research.

In addition to orienting Helsinki Fashion Week users within a virtual environment via natural human conversation, Kuki will be participating in a number of events as an emerging virtual talent, from walking the virtual runway to engaging audiences on social media and other digital platforms. The conversational data collected at HFW (subject to GDPR and other privacy regulations) will be analyzed anonymously, the aggregate of which will be included in post-event open reports. By employing a chatbot as the AI host for the event, HFW will once again be able to collect real-time feedback — in the form of versatile conversational data, from millions of Gen Z and Millenials.

Audience feedback will focus on the showcased designer collections and the overall experience of the Digital Village. Kuki will be able to engage in conversations about the collections she models both before and after the event on all channels where she is present, and help facilitate future e-commerce of physical and digital goods. Along with several industry insiders and digital influencers like Ruby Gloom, Kuki will also wear the digitized looks of the 15 sustainable fashion designers selected to showcase in the World’s first-ever 3D Fashion Week.
“We are thrilled by the opportunity to be able to work hand in hand with the chosen designers in creating their 3D silhouettes. Just like a traditional atelier would do, we sew everything together starting from the patterns provided to us by the designers. We make sure that the looks are identical to the upcoming physical collections by digitally tailoring every single detail from the topstitches to the textures. By merging our technical skills and artistic vision, we strive to remove the boundaries between IRL and URL, knowing that 3D technology can contribute and create a big change in perspective when it comes to supply chains and sustainability in Fashion.” – Caroline Dussuel, Co-Founder at Scotomalab

Close to one hundred buyers are invited to join and experience the remote buying experience on the HFW cyberspace and Designers will also have the opportunity to sell their digital assets on the Helsinki Fashion Week 3D Digital Village.

Before being able to take the virtual step into the HFW 3D multiverse — created by NDA Paris and Soldats Films — our audience will have the opportunity to peek behind the scenes and participate in the interactive Designer Residency Programme where the selected Designers will share live feeds on their personal design process and demystify exactly how their sustainable collections were created, prior to the actual showcasing of the collections at the event.
“The HFW 3D Digital Village offers the needed environment in cyberspace that we have been waiting for, in order to bring truly sustainable development together with the essence of the digital world. The perfect playground to challenge not just the fashion industry but all creative industries of today and tomorrow” – Romain Casella, Founder of MAY Creative Communications Agency, London Another inspiring innovator is the VTT Technical Research Institute with whom Helsinki Fashion Week is partnering with for the third consecutive year. VTT will be hosting two senior scientists during the Designer Residency program focusing on strengthening the collaboration between fashion designers and scientists. Ever since the Helsinki Fashion Week EcoVillage concept, VTT and HFW have collaborated in presenting the most cutting edge of sustainable solutions regarding the challenges faced by the fashion in-

Helsinki Fashion Week will be entering into a partnership with groundbreaking Nordic innovator Spinnova, a Nordic textile material innovation company. Spinnova’s innovation is based on disruptive technology for manufacturing textile fibers out of renewable or waste feedstock with 0% harmful chemicals and 0% waste.
“We feel proud of what we have achieved so far, we see this as the beginning for a fundamental change for the better, and we feel excited to see so many leading fashion players to be on this journey with us.”
— Lotta Kopra, Spinnova’s Chief Commercial Officer
Alongside Spinnova’s textile expert Maree Hamilton, and the scientists of VTT and Natural Fiber Welding, the selected designers will be joined by a number of mentors from various fields and organizations, including European Space Agency, VOGUE, PAPER Magazine, and Common Objective; and industry experts like Shaway Yeh, Bandana Tewari, Brooke Roberts-Islam, Peter Morville and Mickey Boardman.

Kopra continues, “Helsinki Fashion Week with its Designer Residency program has been a pioneer in the fashion scene. Our team is very excited to join the HFW Residency program as a mentor. We can’t wait to see what these awarded, creative designers can do with our fiber and fabric! Being part of the digital experience of Helsinki Fashion Week will too be a very interesting opportunity. This goes to show that sustainability, creativity, and collaboration can run free despite the restrictions put upon us this year.”

Pandorabots CEO Lauren Kunze explains the often overlooked challenge of minimizing the carbon footprint of chatbots: “While the move to digital can help eliminate waste in the physical realm, algorithms also have a carbon footprint that is critically important to measure. Google’s Meena chatbot, for instance, costs an estimated million in computing power to train over the course of several months. Kuki employs a hybrid system – rules and machine learning – in order to run efficiently in production, contrary to the con-
versational AI research teams at Facebook or Google, whose efforts to date are entirely unsustainable outside of the lab. It is in this spirit that Pandorabots plans to participate in HFW’s full report, detailing digital emissions as a testament to both partners’ commitment to setting industry standards for ethical fashion and ethical AI.

The HFW Digital Village takes traditional principles of sustainability in Fashion into Cyberspace. The international and inclusive Digital Village approaches Fashion from a holistic standpoint, connecting all creative disciplines. The main purpose of HFW cyberspace is to connect people through a global culture where data is democratized and accessible to the individuals who created that data in the first place.

Users in the Digital Village will have their own digital sanctuaries and asset libraries and have an opportunity to develop supportive and collaborative relationships within a new Digital Society, embodying a philosophy that embraces the culture of connection, diversity, and global trade. The key rules being transparency, inclusivity, and collective effort, where each user becomes a member and contributor to the Digital Village.


Download the press release here