#SmartVoices: “Phygital is the new Black” say innovators at Sense Immaterial Reality, WeArt and C.L.A.S.S.

From digitalised fabrics to virtual tactility… C.L.A.S.S. ecohub and the smart and innovative high-tech companies dialogued with Corriere della Sera on the new way forward for the fashion and textile business


The inspiring conversation is part of C.L.A.S.S.’ #SmartVoices programme of virtual talks which brings together innovators and visionary game changers in the sector.

Phygital Textiles is the name of the virtual talk organised by C.L.A.S.S. exploring a new generation of values and technologies set to revolutionize the market consumers.

Fabio Sottocornola, journalist at Corriere della Sera moderated the talk with Giusy Bettoni, CEO and Founder of C.L.A.S.S., Silvia Valeria Rinaldi, Chief Magic Officer at Sense Immaterial Reality and Guido Gioioso, General Manager and Co-Founder of WeaArt S.r.l. The two companies are both new partners of C.L.A.S.S. for the Future Devices section, focusing on digital communication.

Phygital (the merging of the words Physical and Digital) arose as a key concept in the wake of the pandemic which has changed our lifestyle including also the shopping experience. A neologism as well as a new way of conceiving the world which unlocks unexpected solutions and opportunities for all. As Phygital became a prominent concept due to the pandemic ‘imposed virtualisation’, Giusy Bettoni highlights that a new balance must be found. “What we experienced taught us that we need both the digital and the physical, a healthy balance where one sphere doesn’t take over the other but they co-exist harmonically making our lives simpler and unstressful.”

Giusy Bettoni continues: “Responsibility is fundamental, but aligned communication is equally importan . Phygital was already a reality before the pandemic and now we need to speed it up”. We were pioneers as being in contact with Sense Immaterial Reality starting from last year and now we’re proud to have included it among the opportunities our ecohub is able to give to designers, students and even customers”.

Silvia Valeria Rinaldi is the Chief Magic Officer of Sense Immaterial Reality, a quite peculiar title which explains very well what her job is really about: magic, meaning creating immaterial objects to experience in real life. Sense Immaterial Reality has created a way to digitalise responsive fabrics which can contribute for a more sustainable business. “Our “immaterial” collections are identical to the physical ones. They can replace them by evocating all their values. Today the magic wand is our mobile, transformed into a true futuristic tool. At Sense Immaterial Reality, we can make garments and textiles appear and everyone can experience and interact with them.” Through ‘immaterial reality’. The company goes beyond digital, it creates objects that do not exist, at the service of the real needs in the physical world.

Such innovation has a great sustainable potential. Professionals can discover and interact with textiles without the need to fly over to faraway places, especially during travel ban times. Nevertheless, lack of travelling means also less impact on the environment and pollution.

Guido Gioioso, General Manager and Co-Founder of WeArt S.r.l., says that the magic his company does is the ultimate digital frontier: virtual tactility. “Touch as a fundamental sense, that’s why a technology that can be integrated in professional training applications and customer experiences was developed and that allows to record and reproduce tactile sensations: forces, vibrations and temperature changes”.

WeArt has developed small wearable futuristic devices that capture and reproduce in space and time tactile sensations. Touch is a fundamental sense in the fashion and textile business. If you also add that  according to several studies it is able to create deeper memories linked with the emotional sphere – “digital haptic interaction”, a.k.a. interactive remote virtual tactility –  it can really mark the beginning of a new era.

In the wake of the Covid-19 emergency, Sense Immaterial Reality and WeArt received a huge number of requests to apply their technologies. A sign that the market ‘imposed’ need to find alternative way to communicate both their collection and values. “The pandemic accelerated the rush for responsibility because being sustainable means also guarantee safety and traceability, that today are fundamental as well as beauty and design” says Giusy Bettoni. “We still need to keep a balance between digital and physical and find the opportunity to mediate the two of them. Digital is under the spotlight but consumers are also requesting more and more physical experiences. We know it is a challenge”.

Now companies have to think about new ways to present, showcase and communicate information and products. As it is more difficult to physically send materials, fabrics, samples and catalogues and the interest towards new opportunities of visibility has exploded. 100% virtual collections and showrooms are an answer and can be supported by virtual reality: “Illusion is really about bringing the real feelings of products to you, wherever you are”, says Silvia Valeria Rinaldi.

Ends Bettoni: “One of the criteria to be part of C.L.A.S.S. is to have an added “inspiring” value. When we created the category Future Devices on our platform, we selected Sense Immaterial Reality and WeArt for their uniqueness, because we were amazed by the services they were offering and especially by their potential. On top of the above uniqueness, there’s also the fact that they are already “real” and can be easily customized for different uses and needs”.




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