Fashion Forward

Does anyone remember that 90s movie Clueless? For more than 20 years, we have been envious of the protaganist Cher’s digital wardrobe, which was incredibly technologically advanced for its time, with a touch screen computer and a virtual try-on feature for her to select her clothes with. Now, finally, technology is catching up with that 90s dream!

In Berlin last summer, an exhibition was held in celebration of Mexican culture, environment and lifestyle, and it was there that I came across a real-life virtual dressing room for the first time. The “try on” technology enables the user to simply stand in front of the camera and use motion sensors to select their outfit of choice, virtually trying on different outfits that were programmed to move in sync with the user. In this instance, we were able to try on traditional Mexican attire, which was a great way for the audience to interact more directly with the culture and have a bit of fun trying on different outfits.

This particular model was a basic design with low-res graphics, but several fashion entities are now beginning to develop the concept further as a selling strategy and means of marketing. The Gap released a pilot of their own augmented reality try-on app called DressingRoom earlier this year. With this app, the user is able to adjust the body type of the mannequin to match their own body type and try on the clothing. (Watch the promo video here). A more direct approach is seen with graphic artist and designer Emma Shipley’s “Scarfi” app, created in collaboration with Meshmerise. The app allows the consumer themselves to virutally try on Shipley’s luxury scarves that are uniquely designed, hand-drawn and printed on Italian silk, cotton or cashmere. (Watch the promo video here). By using both the Scarfi and DressingRoom apps, consumers are able to shop online with a much clearer idea of whether the clothing will suit them before purchasing the product.

The Fashion Innovation Agency (FIA) in London works with emerging technologies alongside the fashion industry, delivering a number of cutting-edge projects, such as the Scarfi app, that push fashion forward. Another of FIA’s projects that takes innovation in fashtech another step further is a collaboration between London start-up HoloMe Technology Limited and world-renowned fashion label RIXO, bringing live catwalks into viewers’ homes. Using HoloMe´s AR software solution, catwalks are captured in high quality and then used to create life-like holograms remotely. Viewers are able to use their smartphones to watch the catwalk on demand from the comfort of their homes, as if it were happening in their homes. (Watch the demo here). This of course, provides a more realistic view for the consumer to gain a heightened understanding of the clothing and enables a wider audience to watch the shows.

Creeping into every industry, it is not only fashion that has begun to utilise AR technology as a new marketing strategy. IKEA and Anthropologie have also just launched an iOS app that follows the same idea, using Apple’s ARKit technology with the help of post-production collective CVLT. When browsing through homeware products online, consumers have the ability to choose the item they want and virtually view it in their home, to have an immediate idea of how the product will look. As with the HoloMe AR catwalks, the products from IKEA and Anthropologie are captured with the highest resolution to provide as life-like an image as possible.

These projects are just a few examples, but there are many more companies producing similar apps and technologies for their own products currently. All of these innovations in AR ultimately aim to boost sales and improve ease, satisfaction and interaction of the consumer during their online shopping experience. Personally, I’m still waiting to have my own wardrobe in a digital dimension so I can be more time-efficient in choosing my daily outfits!

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