Fashion retailer Topshop will give its customers the chance to sit on the front row at London Fashion Week in a virtual reality experience.

The Topshop Unique show, part of London Fashion Week, will be live streamed from the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern into a virtual world created by 3D agency Inition at the retailer’s Oxford Circus store.

On February 16,17 and 18, customers at Topshop Oxford Circus can experience a virtual London Fashion Week using Oculus Rift headsets. Shoppers wear the headsets to enter the 360º virtual world, which includes a live runway feed, backstage action and VIP arrivals.

Cameras will record the scenes on the catwalk and backstage to give a sense of presence at the actual show, and each participant will be able to look around at the models passing in front of them and the celebrities they will be – virtually – sat next to.

Topshop virtual front row experience

Arcadia owner Sir Philip Green said: “The Topshop Unique show is going from strength to strength; not only in terms of the collection but also in how we share this with our customers at home and in our stores, giving them an up-to-the-minute runway show experience. This season’s live stream in virtual reality between two iconic London destinations, the Tate Modern and our flagship store in Oxford Circus, takes the idea of the traditional fashion show to a new dimension, as we continually look for new ways to engage, excite and involve our customers.”

Topshop will run a competition online and through social media for five winners to be the first to experience the virtual world.

Andy Millns, co-founder and creative director at Inition, said: “We are excited that Topshop have the vision to explore the next revolution in mass media – virtual reality. VR is the ultimate interface to the digital world with the power to transport the user to another place as soon as they put on a special display. This unique technology has the potential to open up fashion shows to the consumer at home and we believe this will be the first of many executions of this kind. Inition is delighted to be working with Topshop on this ground-breaking project.

Millns told Retail Week: “This is the first time a live 360 degree link-up has been deployed in a retail environment.  Working closely with Topshop, Inition has been able to call upon many years of developing bespoke cutting edge installations but what is most exciting about this project is there is no precedent.  

“The most important aspect for the viewers is seeing the fashion itself, so we are using broadcast grade equipment throughout the entire chain to provide a high quality highly immersive experience so viewers can enjoy the show as if they were sitting on the front row of the catwalk. We can’t wait to see the reactions on Sunday.”

Topshop will also host a live Twitter Gallery from the morning of the show so viewers can see the final preparations that go into a fashion show.

Video: Topshop gives shoppers London Fashion Week virtual front row experience