Virtual and Augmented Reality are starting to revolutionize the way industries approach their customers, and the fashion industry is no different.
Technology has come a long way, but consumers’ closets have largely been untouched by its innovation. Designers and brands now, however, are aiming to change that, with the implementation of VR and AR technologies. It’s making it easier than ever before to browse clothing from the comfort of one’s home, and possibly even try things on, in a digital wardrobe sort of way. Brands are also starting to adopt virtual showrooms, which are basically online showrooms that allow online consumers to see and shop for the items in a way that’s eerily similar to an in-store experience.
One of the main benefits of creating a virtual showroom is its omnipresence.
Anyone with a working WiFi connection and phone or laptop can access the room, thus allowing brands and designers to showcase their collections to a truly international audience. Of course, Internet shopping has always allowed this (one of its many features), but virtual showrooms offer a way to get up close and personal with the products. Customers can see how the clothing looks on a mannequin and get a 360 degree view. In addition, brands can recreate their in-store experiences for the online consumer; luxury brands have long been hesitant to sell products online due to their perceived lack of exclusivity and service, but virtual showrooms can change that. Now, brands are able to recreate their physical stores for the online space, and with the added option of chatting with a representative online, can seamlessly transfer a physical experience into an online one.
Jimmy Choo was one of the first luxury brands to launch a virtual showroom which allowed its consumers to browse and pre-order certain shoes and accessories from their A/W collection, creating a unique and memorable shopping experience.
Augmented Reality is also another technology that designers can use to their advantage.
AR, like VR, can create a different kind of fashion showroom – have users simply use their phones to see what a certain product might look like on their own bodies.
Chrono24’s virtual showroom allows users to try on any watch from the comfort of their own home with a simple app and wristband setup (which can be printed and cut at home). In doing so, their virtual showroom offers an immense amount of flexibility and efficiency, as it gives consumers a chance to see the product on their wrists without having to go physically in-store to do so. There are currently only a few models available, but the company plans on adding more to their AR showroom soon. It’s a truly innovative and special way for consumers to shop, and it could truly change the way online shopping and e-commerce companies sell their products.
These are, however, only a few of the ways in which AR and VR can transform the fashion industry. While the technology is still being developed and tweaked, there are already exciting advances being made.
Consumers can expect to see virtual dressing rooms and VR experiences for the runway soon. Fast fashion brands such as Topshop and Zara have begun to embrace both VR and AR, but luxury brands, like Balenciaga, are also starting to join in. It is exciting to imagine the possibilities that could come with new and improved VR technology – wouldn’t it be far easier to try on clothes in a virtual dressing room from the comfort of your own home? No longer do customers need to go in-store to see how a particular piece may fit on their body. It could truly revolutionize the way people shop online, and could possibly provide access to a far wider audience.
In all, it will be interesting to see how technology continues to influence and change the fashion industry. Virtual showrooms are only the beginning – VR and AR will shape the way consumers, designers, and brands all interact with fashion.