With the recent organizational issues caused by the pandemic, much fewer customers are daring to venture into public spaces like clothing stores. Despite the challenges, business owners are not sitting idle. Companies that create or sell clothing are coming up with some very creative ways to maintain and grow their customer base, and implementing augmented reality fashion experiences is at the top of this list.
Augmented reality (AR), which uses software running on a mobile device and visualizes digital objects among users’ real-world surroundings, has great potential for clothing brands and stores.
It’s simply amazing what can be accomplished with augmented reality in the fashion industry, and this is exactly what we’ll be examining here. So keep reading for a closer look at augmented reality clothing solutions and building your own with AR app development services.
How is augmented reality Used in the Fashion Industry?
AR in its current form (delivered via smartphone/tablet) has been around for just over a decade, and this time has allowed many companies in the clothing/fashion industry to not only grasp how AR works, but also find its strengths and best use cases. Below are the results of these experiments and real business cases of augmented reality in the clothing industry and other similar fields.
Augmented reality clothing fitting
When AR clothes fitting functionality is implemented in an app, you can stand in front of a mirror or ask someone to hold your phone for you as the app visualizes how the clothes will look on your body. Obviously, you won’t be able to tell how tight/loose the clothes are in an AR changing room, but you can model dozens of unique looks in a matter of seconds. This is particularly useful for online shopping.
We previously mentioned that AR is usually delivered through mobile apps, but this isn’t a mandatory requirement, and the AR mirror is a testament to this. The AR mirror is really just a very big screen with a mirror-imitating design and highly reflective properties. It can be installed in stores and let you try on clothes digitally without ever picking them up.
A store in augmented reality is so much better than window shopping. As you launch the app and move your phone around, you can see the store and the many items of clothing sold there. If you want to visit a different part/section, you can click on the corresponding interactive option. Some stores even create virtual tours that you can enjoy while sitting on your couch.
AR clothing showcase
In other industries (e.g. automobile, construction, entertainment), AR is constantly used for presentations, promotional campaigns, and showcases. Why should it be any different for clothes? You can certainly create an app to showcase your newest product or product line, such as an augmented reality T-shirt. You can even create a web-based AR experience to make it more accessible to the public and not force them to download any apps.
AR clothing configurator
Having the option to see an item of clothes on your phone in 3D and interact with it (digitally modeling it, moving it around, checking the size and scale) is certainly nice, but a configuration feature can leave an even greater impression. If you build a product configurator into your app, you can provide customers with the unique opportunity to select an advanced product build. They can see the changes in real time and “make” the clothing of their dreams. Usually, there is also an option to proceed with the purchase.
Which Fashion Brands Use AR?
The adoption of AR technology is growing every year, and major brands are buying in or at least exploring how to build an AR app. Let’s examine some of the brands taking part and their use cases.
Prada has invested in a try-on experience with some advanced features. The app includes countless items from the product catalog in different variations, and models them on the body by mapping out limbs, joints, effects of gravity and stretching, etc. All of this contributes to a very convenient user experience, and is boosted by voice commands, so users can quickly switch between different clothes with a simple spoken sentence.
Macy’s is a major American clothing & beauty retailer that is using both VR and AR. In terms of their AR implementation, they are providing try-on experiences through different means. This includes AR mirrors in brick-and-mortar stores and a mobile app for various products worn on the head and face. This way, the AR clothing brand is hoping to strengthen customer loyalty and give clients a good reason not to flock to other competitors.
Carolina Herrera is one of the most advanced augmented reality fashion brands, given that it has chosen the most accessible approach of bringing AR to users – letting them access it through a web browser. Their web experience features the latest clothing collection and various interactive options for customers. They can see products up close, move them around and rotate them, and even see how someone wearing the clothes would look in their local surroundings. In short, this is a sort of digital showcase.
Ralph Lauren is another example among clothing companies using augmented reality, specifically for try-on. However, what makes their AR experience unique is that the app does not require any footage of the user’s body, and does not just visualize a stand-in. Instead, users create digital avatars and model the clothing on the avatars.
The GAP has been using AR for over 4 years now, and their virtual dressing room has gotten pretty good. Their app features dozens of clothing items with size variations. The products can be modeled on a 3D mannequin, with different body shapes available to account for the diverse needs of customers. The app should also feature checkout and order functionality in the nearest time.
Let’s Recap – What are the Benefits of Using AR with Your Clothing Line/Store?
If you choose to implement AR in your business through a personal augmented reality clothing app, you can choose a purpose and functionality for it that’s never been created before. However, just based on just the solutions available today, you can take advantage of benefits like:
- Allow customers to model clothing at any convenient time and place
- Increase the share of online sales and in-app sales
- Boost customer engagement with your products
- Leave an impression that solidifies your brand name
- Give customers something that competitors cannot match
- Reduce the time spent on consultation and sale processing
- Rent fewer physical stores with a shift to digital services
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you come up with a custom solution that’s never been done before, you have the potential to become a global phenomenon!
How to Develop an AR Fashion App
Unfortunately, developing an augmented reality clothes project is out of reach for most fashion designers, manufacturers, and retailers, simply because they don’t have the right specialists for the job. Sure, they can hire software developers or find some on-hand staff that can be educated in these ways, but both approaches are pretty demanding in terms of time and attention.
The easy solution here is to find a capable development provider that will take care of all your needs. For example, you may consider partnering with Program-Ace. We have been developing AR apps (and VR/MR solutions) since the inception of the technology, and take a diligent approach to every project.
As we develop software for different industries, we make sure to assess the companies’ business needs and ensure that the end product hits every target and draws in a wide audience. If you want to learn more about our services and get the ball rolling on cooperation, just contact us today.