The pandemic has fueled the wider adoption of augmented reality in fashion. The modern fashion industry is keeping pace with changing trends, striving to introduce digital technologies and explore new opportunities, thanks to which consumers can have a positive experience and remain satisfied with the brand’s product and service.
Social media management platform Hootsuite conducted a study that found that a person takes about seven hours a day to surf the Internet. Virtuality is becoming more and more deeply rooted in the daily way of life, becoming its integral part. Digitalization has also affected such routine things as buying clothes. This is what has created new opportunities for fashion companies to present their brand and products to customers using not only traditional advertising but also in more interactive ways.
Virtual fitting technology as a vital part of brands
Last year, Nike released Epic Games’ signature virtual clothing set for Fortnite characters. Valentino, Sandy Liang, and Marc Jacobs have also capitalized on the success of the simulation video game Animal Crossing: New Horizon with in-game virtual fashion collections.
For now, virtual models such as Miquela, Shudu, and Seraphine are gaining immense popularity. These are virtual models who advertise brands, blog, and collect thousands of likes on Instagram. These 3D girls were already generating attention from fashion houses such as Calvin Klein and Prada several years ago. In the face of the pandemic, interest in virtual models and the potential they offer has grown significantly. For example, Bella Hadid’s virtual image has become the face of the Mugler Spring 2021 collection.
Covid-19 has indeed become a growing point of fashion interest in the virtual world and, in particular, in augmented reality technologies, which is quite reasonable, because already technology giants, including Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook, support AR to become the next revolutionary innovation. However, even here the fashion industry faces a challenge as it has to develop in a new direction and at the same time consider how virtual fashion can be used to improve the quality of customer service.
3D virtual fitting technology for fashion retailers
According to the Salesforce Connected Shoppers Report, 87% of purchases start with an online search. However, nearly half of them end up visiting a regular store. With the advent of new technologies, consumers will be able to make more informed purchasing decisions without having to physically try on clothes. Augmented reality drives brand sales through the ability for potential customers to get to know a product closely before purchasing it.
Virtual clothing try on with AR and 3D is no longer a novelty, but a widely used technology that underlies the 3DLOOK mobile body scanning technology, which allows retailers to offer users a close-up experience of how clothes will fit their body shape.
Besides, with accumulated customer body data, fashion retailers can start exploring 3D body avatar solutions that will allow consumers to try on clothes online from anywhere.
The important point is that today the fashion industry is not just exploring these technologies as a way to improve the online experience of buying clothes. It is considered that during the pandemic and possibly even after it, fitting rooms will remain mostly closed. If so, AR solutions will perform greatly in adapting physical stores to meet the new health and safety needs of customers and the demand to reduce people-to-people contact.
Today, many clothing brands are already considering the potential of augmented reality technologies in the fashion retail space, testing virtual fitting solutions that will allow consumers to preview their clothes on their own body, whether at home, in a store, or elsewhere. Probably, very soon, most of our life will take place online, so this option will be very convenient and useful.
Virtual fitting solutions to help fighting overproduction
The return of clothing items, in particular, due to the wrong size and fit, is a real scourge for clothing manufacturers and a sore point for the environment. The returned garments form a huge layer of garbage in landfills, amounting to more than five billion pounds, according to Vogue Business. For this reason, the fashion industry needs technology to help solve the problem of returns caused by mismatched clothes. This contributes to fewer garment returns that end up in landfills and costs reduction as well.
In that regard 3DLOOK’s 3d virtual fitting technology is helping fashion streamline their manufacturing and distribution process by providing mobile body scans, sizing and fit guidelines and 3D avatars that designers can use to create clothes based on customers’ real bodies. Thus, companies will be able to produce an assortment tailored to consumer demand in optimal quantities.
Implementation of virtual 3D-fitting technology: key issues
The next stage in the development of the fashion business in the virtual segment will be the use of the obtained customer data for the implementation of 3D virtual selection technology. This technology, often known as 3D virtual clothing technology, allows consumers to try on clothing online.
Using a device equipped with a camera, basic AR technology can display a virtual version of a product on a shopper’s body or over a realistic 3D avatar. With this technology, retailers can create a 3d trial room where shoppers can quickly and conveniently try on clothes in the store or at home.
Safety aspects considered by virtual clothing try-on
However, the implementation of virtual 3D fitting solutions is fraught with some problems. As it is still an evolving technology, there are serious data privacy concerns among consumers concerning how the data that businesses collect is stored and used.
Solutions such as mobile body scans, visual fitting rooms, and virtual fitting technology have an additional barrier to storing different consumer data such as names, addresses, bank details, and biometric information. To reduce consumer concerns, solutions must be designed with confidentiality in mind, and businesses must ensure transparency and security in the storage of customer data.
Aside from these challenges, there is tremendous potential for 3D virtual fitting technology to improve the way fashion design, sell and consume fashion. The creation of a virtual dressing room for e-clothing will reduce the amount of clothing that ends up in landfills.
Despite its many disadvantages, the technology has great potential and benefits both clothing manufacturers and consumers, saving time and resources. 2020 marked the beginning of an increased interest in a virtual fashion. No doubt, today fashion designers and brands have to accept digital technology solutions, open up new opportunities, and make their products affordable to consumers in both the real and virtual worlds.