Fashion is physical. right? While clothing is always material, expression is always something more. And, digital fashion brands are navigating that intersection. Even physical fashion brands are using XR technology to sell their hard copy clothes. Although some are selling soft copy clothes. From virtual clothes to virtual stores, there’s plenty to see.
How to bring a person to a virtual experiment
Before we get to full virtual stores, let’s start with physical fashion retailers using XR technology. What’s the worst thing about shopping for clothes? Are you trying them out?
Are we all in agreement on this? The lines, the hours and the hustle and bustle? It’s… difficult, isn’t it? But you want to know how the clothes look on you. This is where the XR comes in. But it still proved inconvenient. Or, at least, it could be.
In September, Reactive Reality announced the launch of physical “smart glasses” for virtual experimentation in brick-and-mortar stores. This may sound familiar to some. Arpost Readers. Launching the original PICTOFiT was one of our most popular posts last year. That iteration was interfaced through e-commerce apps and sites. The smart mirror is different.
“We are very proud to introduce it to the market.” co-founder Stefan Hauswiesner said “It’s a first, and we hope it gives shoppers more confidence, both online and offline,” Arpost said.
Both projects involve creating an avatar of the user by inputting a few body measurements. This creates a virtual model without the use of photography, which is more valuable to the user than other solutions.
The avatar may look like a virtual store mannequin, but may have a user’s face, hair, and skin color. The user can share screenshots of their avatar wearing yet-to-be-purchased collections with different virtual backgrounds.
“Sometimes they’ll screenshot things, send them to friends, ask for advice, so it’s lying that way. Housewisner said. Initially, as a company, we didn’t intend to do this.
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The solution can work with 2D product images, but retailers will get more out of the process if they have 3D assets. It includes AB test options before making clothes.
“We always set out to work with the real-life data retailers have at their fingertips. To this day, eight and a half years later, this is our key competitive advantage.” Housewisner said. “Now we can dress models and people with clothes that haven’t been produced yet.”
Even earlier models were mini-volumetric scanning setups but required the user to be “hands-on,” which many were uncomfortable with.
Be your own model
Last year, Walmart acquired Zikit – a “virtual fitting room platform”. As Hauswiesner and I were discussing the pros and cons of posting nude photos of yourself, Walmart announced the fruits of its Zeit acquisition. It’s a “be your own model” solution.
The process can be more user-friendly than PICTOFiT, as there are no input requirements for measurement, so users do not need to know their size; Not to mention their seam allowances. However, they should upload a photo of themselves wearing less.
Instead of generating a 3D model, the solution uses machine learning to generate a “topographic map” of the user, overlaying photo-based assets to reveal realistic folds, textures and lighting. This replaces Walmart’s previous generation of indoor apparel previews, which allowed users to choose a representative model from seventy options.
“These features work together to create a unique experience that’s incredibly easy for our customers to use and comes with 270K items at an unprecedented scale and size.” Walmart New Businesses & Emerging Tech SVP, Cheryl Ainoa, spoke on LinkedIn. “I can’t imagine how far the tech-enabled features of your own model go.”
As with reactive reality, Walmart hopes to see consumers share their “be your own model” experience on social media, as well as try on clothes that might not be available in a nearby physical location — when they step into that “virtual store” facility. .
Full virtual stores
So far, we’ve looked at solutions for placing physical goods on virtual entities. But, there are also solutions to bring virtual people to virtual stores. Instead of making mobile-based online shopping relatively easy, these solutions take advantage of the average person’s time spent in the virtual world.
Imperia and Bloomingdale’s
This spring, Arpost Introduced our readers to Imperia. At that time, the focus was on an immersive e-commerce solution, shifting from short-term special activations to always-on virtual stores. The story remains a touchstone for the continued desire to change the ways we experience brands and goods.
Recently, Imperia announced another chapter. The company created an experience for Bloomingdale’s for the retailer’s 150th anniversary. The virtual store has three separate rooms where users can remotely browse items by Polo Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs and more.
We are honored that Bloomingdale’s has chosen to partner with Imperia as the company celebrates its 150-year anniversary. Imperia founder and CEO Olga Dogadkina said in a statement. Arpost
Activation wasn’t just a 3D catalog. It featured specially designed items, games and a video showcasing the history of Bloomingdale’s. And, when Bloomingdale’s is done with their holiday, you can swap the collection and jewelry in their virtual store.
“Highlighting their enduring mark on the fashion industry, they continue to push the boundaries of innovation, serving as an example of how technology can be used to create the most engaging and memorable online shopping experience.” said Dogadkina.
In-store and print advertising at Bloomingdale’s also added work at 8th Wall and ROSE. Live models, whether in-store or from print catalogs, showed shoppers fashion in their surroundings on their phones. This type of activation is becoming a signature for KHAITE and others in particular for ROSE.
As this article is being written, Walmart is back with another virtual business activation, this time with Roblox. The activation consists of two separate areas, one more gamified and the other more plainly advertising. They are not virtual stores, neither of which places you can buy goods or services from Walmart or the Roblox ecosystem.
The Roblox activation is said to be a test for future virtual world initiatives by the retail giant. These integrated virtual experiences are said to host additional events such as concerts in the future. And, maybe, a virtual storefront at some point.
Vogue in fantasy worlds
Walmart isn’t the only familiar name in virtual stores, and they’re certainly not the deepest in the pool. At the time of this writing, Vogue business It takes place in the virtual world of “Metaverse Atelier” created by Journe and powered by Epic Games.
This second immersive event by the company featured seven virtual fashions as well as holographic interviews with some of the driving forces behind the experience and other virtual fashion pioneers such as DRESSX and The Fabricant. A few weeks ago Arpost About a Vogue Singapore Launching an issue on that platform.
“We’ve heard from designers involved in building some of these properties that can now be used in Spatial.” said Lee. “It allows designers to express their ideas freely. The design process becomes more iterative and interactive.”
Late last year, Spatial made the transition from enterprise to consumer services. Lee made the move to more casual users looking for ways to interact in a meaningful way during the pandemic. But since the company started working with a cross-platform avatar generator this summer, he says that trend has picked up significantly.
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“When everyone can be represented in this way, we become more of a lifestyle company.” said Lee. “Before, our clients were technical artists and now we can talk to a lifestyle client like Vogue.”
MetaVRse has been working on “The Mall” for what feels like forever. Growing from their Virtual Showroom technology, The Mall is an evolving virtual store and social space that makes the American mall look like a rural convenience store. The virtual world is 100 stories tall and each story covers a million square feet of virtual real estate.
While the company has been releasing months of controlled releases about the mall’s progress, we got the biggest glimpse yet at the WebXR Brand Summit. Not only did we get a sneak peek of what the virtual store will look like, but also the prototype system, games in the virtual world, and news about the cryptocurrency interface in the retail space.
“We named it The Mall. It’s not ‘The Metaverse Mall’ or ‘The MetaMall’ or anything like that.” Alan Smithson, Co-Founder of MetaVirce, said during the presentation. “It’s just ‘the mall.’ Main Mall”
Whether you’re looking for virtual fashion, virtual stores, or just an easy way to expand your physical wardrobe, XR Fashion is blazing new trails in this once-natural physical industry. So what are you waiting for? Try something.
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