Fashion Tech: The sexy and stylish now take tech to heart

Suzi PerryApart from sunglasses, watches and ski jackets with built in music control panels, I have never really associated fashion with technology.

During my old gadget TV show I designed a pair of shoes that controlled an MP3 player. Trust me, they wouldn’t have impressed Christian Leboutin – I’m afraid to say they didn’t really impress the marvellous Wayne Hemingway who was judging that day. Recently though it seems that the dah-lings of the fabric world are wrapping themselves in all things gadgetastic and London fashion week was more than just a showcase of style.

The social networks were awash with London Fashion Week comments, blogs and, for the first time, about 70% of the shows were streamed live on YouTube. I have secretly always wanted to be sitting on the front row for the top shows alongside the belles du jour and last week, finally, I was right there. Topshop amassed the largest ever online audience for their live streamed show that played across various platforms to 2 million fashion fiends. I particularly liked their ‘shoot the show’ idea via Facebook, you could click the pieces that took your fancy from the live show then share them with friends, or not, if you didn’t want to end up with the same wardrobe!

Google Glass

The point is that the immersive connected feeling that social networking can provide worked brilliantly across the globe. Arguably Dianne Von Furstenberg got there first by utilising Google Glass to film a first hand POV of her 2013 S/S collection at New York fashion week. All the models and stylists wore the augmented reality shades to capture the behind the scene fun and frolics which was later posted on YouTube, bringing fans closer to the action.

I love it when available technologies are embraced, unlike my dad, who still doesn’t own a mobile phone! I wont be designing any more ill fated shoes, but I’m happy to be a part and on the cutting edge of fashion, even if I’m just an enthusiastic spectator.

FOOTIE, can’t shake it…

As our extended Spring nears its end, bypassing Summer and going straight to Autumn the world of geeks (probably having not noticed the missed season) rub their texting thumbs with glee in anticipation of new gadget launches. We will be seeing the new Google Nexus Tablet, the world’s first 7” quad-core tablet with Android 4.1 Jellybean … Sony will showcase its 4K UltraHD Projector and of course Apple will have folk clapping and whooping as the iPhone 5 finally hits the streets. 4G has also been a hot topic and will launch for Orange and T-mobile users in September. For the majority of the UK though, it’s called the Football season. Our national sport is back and whether you love or hate our national game it’s hard to get away from it.

I’m a footie lover, a Wolves fan, it’s in my DNA. I’m loyal, passionate and always watch with an optimistic eye. The other eye is always looking for a way to escape this inbuilt addiction, I’m well aware that I’m sometimes watching a bunch of overpaid Wendy’s with ego’s matching the likes of Piers Morgan, Simon Cowell etc  So…is it possible to avoid sports grubby petulant little cousin?

I’m kind of hoping that cycling will continue to grow after the enormous success of the golden boys and girls of the 2012 velodrome and the future BBC Sports Personality of the Year Wiggo for his incredible accolade a la France. With that in mind I was wondering if this is the ultimate two wheeled dream-machine, the One-77 cycle?

Aston Martin One-77 Cycle

It features an ultra-lightweight carbon fibre frame, a super Shimano 20 shift electric gear system and an on board touch screen computer to record cadence and speeds. It’s British too, made by Aston Martin. The only downside is that I would need to be a footballers wife to afford hefty the £25,000 price tag.

Well, it turns out that isn’t a dream-machine, but just a dream.

Fluid Football App

I’ve been playing FluidFootball. It’s a free tactical footie app and a modern day subbuteo. I dare you to download it and not become hooked ! You learn to move the players, cross, pass and strike the ball with help from commentators Richard Keys and Andy Gray (there wasn’t one comment about me being a girl btw 😉 You win coins to open new games, then progress to different cups which cost real cash. Angry what ?

I didn’t do very well getting away from football did I?

Extreme Olympics anyone?

Some sports are mesmerising, no, not for tiny tight panted beach volleyball reasons (though obviously horseguards parade has never been so popular as a venue). I mean the kind of sports that we could never imagine doing ourselves, like base jumping, sky diving and extreme fast-rope abseiling. Recently I was invited to partake in a ‘fast-rope abseil’ off a very tall building, the Shard. Yes, the Shard, the 310m tallest building in Western Europe. To be absolutely honest, at this moment I’m not sure that my new filming schedule will allow it, but that hasn’t stopped me browsing a few sites for possible tech. I mean, imagine that I can do it, it would have to be documented as I would Never EVER do anything like it again!

The Shard
The Shard – and incidentally the view from the TR office – would you want to abseil down that?!

For many years I have utilised the wonderful little Go Pro Hero hd cameras, small enough to mount anywhere, offering broadcast quality hd pictures. We use them a lot for filming because they are reliable and built to withstand the general bumps and bashes equipment receives when being put through its paces. So when my attention was drawn to live streaming their shots, my eyebrow did its best Roger Moore impression.  I couldn’t help but imagine how useful this tool would be to preening adrenaline junkies across the globe wanting to share their great feats.

Go Pro Wi-Fi Bacpac

The GoPro WiFi BacPac is a wireless device that attaches to the back of a GoPro HDHero or HDHero2 camera, and connects to the Remote control via a wireless signal created from the BacPac – you don’t need an internet connection to use the remote control.

After a Firmware Upgrade on the camera, the product should be working, then it requires the app, which I’m assured will be available very soon. This will enable the smart device to become the view finder for the camera and the full controller. So, shots can be streamed live to the device, or better still, the internet as a live feed! I also love the fact that one remote could control up to 50 cameras.

While we are on this subject, I find base jumping utterly beguiling. I’m not sure that crazy antics get any cooler than jumping off stuff and actually flying with the help of just a technical ‘Batman’ style suit. Have a peek at this ‘Vampire4 wing suit’ and imagine yourself in it. A wing suit! How cool is that? I will never, ever skydive, but I must say that I was in total awe of these suits giving ‘superior glide, precise control and high forward speed’ but it raises the question; how much forward speed can one person genuinely need? You have just jumped off a building for goodness sake!

So that takes me back to my jump, can I or can’t I? …that is the question.

It’s The Socialympics – Are You Ready For The Social Onslaught?

Currently, if you’re not discussing sport you’re not in the ball park. You are the person who turns up to a Trekkie convention dressed as Avon from Blakes 7… you get the drift. When it comes to top tier events, this is it. Wimbledon, Tour de France, Champions League and recently the Euros – where Twitter was bombarded with more than 15,000 messages per second as the final goal rocked the back of the net – sport is now more social and more connected than ever before. Next up, the Olympics, and I for one can’t wait.

It is being deemed the ‘Socialympics’. The stage is set, the technology is capable and we are poised. During the last Olympics Facebook boasted 100million users and Twitter, 6million. This summer the figures total more like 900million and 140million respectively. Globally we will be glued to our TVs, (worth buying a 3D TV for) watching live streaming on the net and apparently some even managed to get tickets to be trackside 😉

Wenlock and Mandeville

Wherever we are, we can share, capture and post our experience, our moment, our joy, expectation, our memory… because let’s face it, Usain Bolt we ain’t!

Why record a portion of an emotion when you can save the whole thing? I’m talking 360. There is a great new little device called ‘Bubblescope’ about to go to market. It’s an imaging device that you attach to your phone which enables you, in one click, to shoot the entire 360 surrounding as a still or video. No stitching together or multiple shot faff – perfect for THOSE moments – and then using the ‘Bubblepix’ app you can upload your masterpiece and share it with the world. You can find more information at www.bubblepix.com.

BubblePix - Suzi Perry

It’s the simplicity that I like, I don’t want all my shots to be in surround, but the scope twists on and off easily and is small enough to carry in your pocket, something that I will actually do rather than just think is a good idea. Beware if you are ever standing behind me, you may end up in my bubble!

Here are a few apps that you may like to grab in time for the Olympics:

London Olympics Ultimate for Android. Schedules, medal tables, news etc.
2012 Olympic news.  For Windows Phone 7
London 2012: Official join in. For iOS
and live streaming on BBC Sport facebook Apps and Eurosport Player.

Enjoy x

PS, if you’re younger than 40, you may need to google Blakes 7!

Royal Ascot 2012

One of the most famous sporting and social showpieces in the world is in full swing again. Her Majesty and other members of the Royal family are in attendance each day and the atmosphere is absolutely wonderful in this, the Diamond Jubilee Year. Particularly for the ladies who love the fashion, I’m just adding a few pictures each day. Hope you like them x

A very big thank you to all the lovely dress designers and milliners that very kindly loaned me my Ascot wardrobe.  If you want more information, we have listed the websites for you to take a look at

Amandawakeley.com
Suzannah.com
Antonyprice.com
Pauleka.com
Philiptreacy.co.uk
Janetaylormillinery.com
Stephenjonesmillinery.com
Williamchambers.co.uk
Racheltrevormorgan.com
Corneliajames.com

All pictures taken  by Graeme McAlpine at www.McAlpine.tv

Free Radio Walk in the Black Country – Sunday 10th June 2012

Over 4,600 people arrived at Himley Park – Wolverhampton last Sunday in wonderful sunshine intent on not only having a fun time, but also attempting to raise as much money as possible for Promise Dreams.  Last year, a fantastic £103,000 was raised by the 3,500 competitors. Would it be possible to improve on that figure…………………

Fresh and Emma hosted the event (Emma looking gorgeous as Minnie Mouse) and I joined my fellow patrons from Promise Dreams, namely Steve Bull, Beverley Knight, Jacqui Graham, and Matt Murray on stage for a pre walk warm up carried out by the girls from Wolverhampton Uni.   We were delighted to have the lovely Nick Hancock join us on stage.

You can see the vid here to get an idea of how everybody enjoyed themselves and when Free Radio announced on air early on Monday morning that the money raised on the day was an unbelievable £117,000 I can only imagine just how happy all of those people would be to know that they had been part of something so wonderful.

£117,000 will make so many dreams come true for the youngsters that Promise Dreams work with. There will be so many happy, smiley children because of the wonderful people that gave up their Sunday to raise money and on behalf of the Promise Dreams team and their Patrons Beverley, Jacqui, Steve, Don, Matt, I would just like to say a very big thank you to all of you who took part and of course to Matt and the team at Free Radio who made it all possible.

Other News

I recently backed a very worthy Bennets Insurance campaign to try to get a compulsory motorbike question as part of the driving test. At the moment the questions are randomly chosen and the driver can pass without being reminded about bikes. I think this should be the bare minimum – I would of course rather everyone spend a day on a bike to become bike aware and generally a more observant license holder, but I’m aware that we must begin somewhere.

So if you agree please sign the petition here www.bikerpetition.co.uk

It’s has been a busy few months. As well as the above I have also engaged in some filming for 5th Gear, The Wright Stuff, The Alan Titchmarsh show, Daybreak and Llve with Gabby. I enjoyed hosting the House of the Future at The Ideal Home Show this year. It was the centrepiece for the entire event.

I also had the honour of meeting Prince Charles who was quite lovely and very friendly and finally I had the opportunity to show off my well practiced curtesy! We enlisted some fun technology, my particular favourites were the new Renault Twizy electric car and the Transport Pod which I found to be the ultimate in relaxation gadgets. Lee Baldry was on hand to present all the daily shows and the show was a great success, hurrah!

So too was Gadget Show Live. It’s always a huge pleasure to meet people who watched the show and of course to work live is the best experience…any old monkey can do take after take on a pre record but living on your wit, live, is where it’s at!  With 3 shows per day  we pretty much  lived in the Supertheatre all week, but I met some wonderful people and had a lot of fun, so lovely to meet you if you were there!

Let’s dance for Sport Relief

Ortis and I were asked to join the comedic list of entertainers to participate in this years rather hilarious ‘dance’ fest in aid of Sport Relief. We were thrilled to take part, however I could have done with a few more days to learn what turned out to be the busiest salsa ever! Ortis took to it like Ricky Martin himself, but my brain engagement and body co-ordination was a little slower on the uptake : nonetheless I loved every second, we had a blast and I lost a few pounds along the way! So thanks for supporting that one if you managed to catch it. Big thanks to our gorgeous choreographers Richard and Ali and all the far too energetic dancers who made me realise that I needed to sharpen up! I’m on it! Also a big squeeze and comedy congratulations to the ultimate winner Rowland Rivron, who cartwheeled his way to victory during his sublime rendition of Christopher Walken’s award winning dance to Fat Boy Slim’s video Weapon of Choice – out of the ball park my friend.

Bafta Gaming Awards

I presented an award at this event, hosted by the achingly drole Dara O’Briain The ceremony has grown massively over the past few years yet still maintains the atmosphere of an agreeable family gathering. Often, I’m off like a shot after the last gong has been given at an awards do but I was still going strong at 3am thanks to some great company and perhaps a few glasses of the red stuff. BF3 was the big winner on the night. During my final series of The Gadget Show we were part of the launch for Battlefield 3 when we built that incredible immersive gaming sim, so I pinched their award for a few shots with Rachel Deley, Wife of Ortis.

Holiday

I was lucky enough to take a back to basics RV holiday in Northern California back in February. After spending a few days with friends in New York we flew across the states to embark upon our camping/wine tasting/skiing extravaganza. Sonoma was my favourite part of the wine adventure, quaint and boutiquey, perfect for quaffing fine grape juice and tasting local cheese. We felt somewhat like speedy snails surrounded by our home comforts at all times and loved the freedom to stay or leave. Almost 3 weeks zipped by at a far too fast rate. However I loved every minute, skiing at Heavenly Valley, scenic hiking trips, motorbikes, bicycles, glorious food and wine crowned by one of my favourite vistas – San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. It was just what I needed to clear my head and reset my body for 2012!