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‘Observatory’ (visual content creators) joined forces with Haroun Ray, bespoke Millinery (hat maker) and founder of ‘Woody & Blue’ to Projection Map digital designs onto a Vegan fashion hat for a fun collaboration.

‘Woody + Blue’, named after Haroun’s cat and black spaniel dog, created his business as an artist, sculptor, painter and architect which sparked a volcano of ideas to create his own hat company. Haroun has many influences when creating his hats, pulling from different genres such as 20’s flapper style, the 40’s massive expression in Germany and France, 50’s era and contemporary/modern. They typically thrive with setting up tables at festivals and trade-shows to sell handmade hat creations to the public while also taking personal orders for Kentucky Derby, weddings, polo events, etc.  

Fashion Collaboration in a Pandemic World

Clearly we are in a different place now within a viral pandemic where everything including events are being moved online to digital interactions and immersive experiences. The Fashion world is digitising their brands to find ways to give shoppers real-life, meaningful experiences by using animation strategies and technologies– motion graphics, 2D and 3D elements, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Projection Mapping and Holograms.

Observatory creative projection mapping collaboration with Haroun from Woody & Blue
Observatory projection mapping collaboration with Haroun from Woody & Blue
Woody & Blue Vegan Hat
A hat from the Woody & Blue vegan collection

A Vegan Fashion Design for a Good Cause

With a 40 year anniversary auction and holiday party for PETA, the leading global provider of animal rights, Woody and Blue was inspired to come up with a Vegan line to add to their collection. PETA typically chooses different organisations who want to donate items to auction off for a good cause. This is where the ‘Phoenix of Prometheus’ hat was designed to donate to the organisation.

Haroun began research on animal rights, eco-friendly and sustainable fashion, and fashion brands who have ethics where nothing has been brutalised as a concept. He spoke with different Milliners, people of the trade, to ask what materials they are using. Ideas of non- animal product materials were then used for the Vegan collection- Buntal, Polyester Abaca and Sinamay material, which is usually used to make wedding hats and often found in a pantry, consisting of sugar and edible ingredients.

Previously working as an artist in sculpture and painting, he came to the realisation that similar materials could be moulded into amazing shapes with hats. Using big brush strokes of colours going around in circular patterns inspired him to make people understand the emotion and energy wave that goes along with the movement, as it’s symbolic of a DNA helix. Thus resembling the energy of an animal and therefore feeding into the Vegan lifestyle.

Projection Mapping Design Inspiration

In this collaboration, Observatory founder and talented designer, Ben Sheppee, was inspired to digitally projection map his designs onto the hat to make it come to life. He found the shape and idea of the hat design to be exciting, “there’s a lot of movement in the hat, structurally it is intriguing, it kind of looks like the Guggenheim museum so I can see his architectural background in his designs.” This inspired Ben and Observatory to combine Digital with Fashion, especially in today’s day and age. Observatory projection mapped digital designs onto the Vegan hats to bring out the same shapes and energies as the structure of the hat, taking things to a 3D level and bringing it more life.

Observatory creative design fashion projection map
An example of projection mapping on Woody & Blue's Vegan hat

During the Projection mapping process, a depth camera is used to scan the hat to then custom fit video contents onto the form of the structure. Ben pulled from a library of content and designs, utilising hundreds of clips. So, there is the capacity to easily come up with “hundreds of different looks with the collection of motion graphics. It’s interesting to see how our textures change the look and the feel of the hat and interesting to find a new life to it which has already been created.”

Since Vegans have a sense of pride that is respected, the ‘Phoenix of Prometheus’ hat was donated to help raise money for Vegans. The auction duration was 2 days long and held as a Virtual event where the money went towards a fantastic cause and purchased for a Vegan celebrity, who supports veganism and ethical rights towards animals.

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