Technology gives us a lot of reasons to look forward to the future. It is changing the way we live
- from innovating the most trivial tasks to developing life-saving tools, that we are edging
towards a becoming a much smarter, efficient and advanced civilization.
Today, we are going to look at one such technology that is making headlines every day:
augmented reality. For those who don’t know what augmented reality is: keeping aside the nerd
talks, remember how some time ago people were carrying their phones and running around town
searching for imaginary creatures on the Pokemon Go app? Yeah, that’s augmented reality. Even
today, when you turn yourself into a superhero, morph your face into a puppy or find yourself
standing next to Ironman on your Snapchat or TikTok stories, that is augmented reality too at
Simply put, augmented reality is the juxtapositioning of a computer-generated image or a graphic
on to the real world outside when looked through your phone. These images, graphics or other
digital assets get so seamlessly interwoven into the real world that they almost become a part of
the reality - a mixed reality of sorts.
The uses of augmented reality are widespread. But in the past few years, it has been refined
further to cater to the retail industry; more specifically to the online retail industry.
The need to integrate this technology arose because the traditional shopping experience was
becoming somewhat hectic. People had to travel long distances and take time out of their busy
schedules to visit their preferred stores and make a purchase. Secondly, demand and supply were
increasing and the limitation of stock availability became recurring. Often, customers only found
out about this after visiting the store, which proved to be a complete waste of time and effort,
leading to poor customer experience.
In the case of online shopping too, people faced a similar kind of situation. Scrolling through
thousands and thousands of images of garments was a tiresome act. Secondly, users had to
second guess how a particular article of clothing would look on them and make a purchase.
Often, there would be the problem of the fitting or the clothes looking differently than what the
customers had seen online. This lead to them returning their purchases, which was an additional
cost incurred by businesses.
With augmented reality at the centre of the shopping experience, all these issues can be easily
resolved. WonderFashion’s augmented reality platform allows users to trial different clothes
virtually. It lets people create a digital avatar that resembles them. Users are asked to click and
upload a selfie. Upon uploading, this selfie is rendered in 3D and applied to a virtual body mesh.
This body mesh can be fully modified. Right from its height to shoulder width, skin complexion
and more, every detail can be changed and the results can be seen in realtime so that user can
accurately design his or her digital twin.
Once this digital avatar is in place, they can surf through the wardrobes of their favourite brands
and apply the clothes they like onto their virtual avatar. This way, they can get a 3D look and feel
and a 360-degree view of how they would look in a particular garment. Since each piece of
clothing is also rendered in 3D, they can zoom in and look at the colour, designs and the material
of the garment in great detail. This will help them make take more accurate purchasing decisions.
With the help of Google’s ARKit, clothing assets can be designed very conveniently. This way,
the challenge of creating AR assets of the clothes becomes easy and brands need not worry about
it too much. Allowing users to try on different clothes, anytime and anywhere makes the entire
process very engaging and intriguing. One can say that it is the gamification of the traditional
shopping experience, as users can apply different immersive backgrounds, lighting setups and
even add different accessories. This, combined with the fact that they never have to travel or wait
till their order arrives, changes the entire clothes shopping experience.
An augmented reality shop can even work for both online and offline stores. For on-ground
stores, salesmen can hand over mobile phones or tablets to customers who walk-in. Instead of
wading through crowded aisles and waiting in long lines to trial clothes, they can simply create a
virtual avatar and try on different clothes that are available at that outlet. In just a few clicks, they
can choose the garments they like, head to the billing counter and walk out with their shopping
While there are many advantages of augmented reality in fashion, the most crucial benefit it
offers is that it lets businesses operate non-stop. For instance, in today’s scenario, the COVID
pandemic has crippled businesses as people stopped buying clothes out of the fear of contracting
the virus during physical trials. With virtual reality, retail outlets can still be operational as they
can enable digital trial rooms, which completely mitigate the risk of physical contact and inturn
enable stores to maintain high standards of hygiene and safety.
Moreover, for budding businesses, investing in a brick and mortar store can prove to be a costly
investment. Whereas by offering an AR shopping experience, they can easily recreate the
physical trial and at the same time equip the user with all the information and visualisation he or
she needs to make a purchase.
Fashion augmented reality solutions have the power to transform the shopping experience. It lets
people interact with the product at a whole new level and that makes all the difference. While
augmented reality clothing stores shall soon become a common phenomenon, the applications of
AR are limitless. With major brands already looking at adapting this technology, soon, there may
be an Amazon AR shopping experience. Cars shopping, home shopping, holiday shopping,
healthcare and many other industries can hop on this bandwagon to reach out to more people. At
this point in time, we are only limited by imagination. We’re sure, in the future, augmented
reality holds a lot of exciting things in store for us.