When people use electronic devices to view their surroundings with images or text layered on top, they’re experiencing augmented reality (AR). A famous example of AR is the 2016 mobile game Pokémon Go, which involved cute digital characters superimposed on scenery from the real world.
AR, which has many practical applications, could revolutionize the fashion industry. It gives consumers new ways of building their wardrobes, and it may change how clothes are designed.
AR-Enhanced Shopping Experiences
AR has been aiding consumers for several years. For example, in 2011, a British Hugo Boss store installed a large screen on which customers could place virtual clothes on virtual models. During the early 2010s, certain programs let computer users see images of themselves in different outfits. Those pictures may have been somewhat primitive, but they were often effective visualization tools.
Advanced applications that perform similar functions are starting to appear. Gap, for instance, has worked with the technology company Avametric as well as Google to develop an app that lets consumers see what they’d look like in various attire.
The Gap app is called DressingRoom, and right now, it’s only available on certain Google phones. Perhaps it will show up on other platforms at some point, though. In essence, it records a person’s measurements and then creates a mannequin avatar that represents him or her. Through a mobile device, a customer can see the digital mannequin in different outfits and judge which clothes look the best. People can also use this app to order one or more of those items.
In addition, the high-tech companies Bold Metrics and Morph 3D have collaborated to create an app that, like DressingRoom, lets customers view avatars in different ensembles. Those avatars can sit, stand and move around in lifelike ways. Through this app, people can consider dozens of outfits in just a few minutes.
In some cases, AR is just for fun. Exhibit A comes from the company Drawsta, which sells T-shirts and apps in tandem. When someone uses the app to view the shirt through an iPhone, an imaginative animated scene springs to life. The animation changes each week, too.
AR and the Fashion Industry
These days, fashion professionals are getting acquainted with AR just as many shoppers are. For example, AR really made a splash during the 2017 New York City Fashion Week. The technology firm Superbright teamed up with xAd, a company that provides location-based services, to stage a brief show with five real-life models.
Attendees downloaded a special app and viewed the proceedings through camera-equipped gadgets. They could see three-dimensional graphics and read facts about the clothing and the models. As the women moved around, those visual elements moved with them.
It’s difficult to tell how AR will influence the evolution of fashion, but it’s likely to lead to daring styles. Assisted by apps, designers will be free to experiment with the wildest styles they can imagine. They’ll be able to see what all kinds of fabrics, colors, cuts and patterns will look like before they begin cutting and sewing. AR can support and enhance their most audacious ideas, and some of those fanciful notions are sure to become major trends.
One thing is true for both consumers and fashion pros: AR is far more than an amusing novelty. It could be a key to unleashing the full creative potential of many designers. Just as important, it could boost global retail sales by encouraging people to get creative with the clothes they buy and the looks they try.
The Dwimmer team is working on an augmented reality experience we can’t wait to unveil. Stay tuned for a personalized, cinematic world of style!