Augmenting Fashion

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Augmented reality is bringing new wonders to every industry. Recently, we saw the big impact that Pokémon GO had on gaming. The ubiquity of the smartphone has provided an immediate audience and distribution channel that augmented reality can take advantage of. With the rise of this technology, we are seeing more businesses incorporating AR, especially in the industry most known for adopting new trends: the fashion industry. Fashion brands have flourished online by being able to bring any style consumers want to their doorsteps. But even with all this accessibility, there is still one disconnect: the absence of the actual product. It’s tough to translate the details of products online without actually being able to experience them. This is what gives shopping in brick-and-mortar stores an advantage over shopping online. However, augmented reality is hoping to make the digital experience feel more real.

At London Fashion Week, Lyst promoted its augmented reality technology with Humannequins wearing augmented clothing. Lyst developed this technology using 360-degree photography to capture every angle of the clothing. The audience was able to dress the models using a tablet or smartphone. Martine Jarlgaard produced a similar experience at London Fashion Week by equipping guests with HoloLens technology, Microsoft’s mixed-reality headsets, to view the entire spring/summer 2017 collection, superimposed on the catwalk. Using DoubleMe’s Holo Portal, the designer scanned the entire collection and turned it into volumetric 3D meshes that became the holograms.

Augmented reality is not just about simulating clothing, but also enhancing it. KG Projects created a custom app that turns clothing into augmented pieces of art. When a camera is pointed at the garments, the screen-printed designs trigger AR animations to overlay digital imagery. This makes digital effects appear as if they were part of the fabric. The collection consists of six looks made from suede, cotton and organic wool. The collection was designed by Parsons School of Design graduate Kailu Guan for New York Textile Month.

These methods show the potential of being able to experience clothing through a digital lens. Not only does this make clothing more customizable in a virtual sense, but it also changes the way we experience it. The end of the fitting room could be near, as people will be able to try on clothing even from the comfort of their own homes, giving companies and brands new ways to engage with customers.

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