Emma J Shipley launches augmented reality app where whimsical scarves come to life

Designer Emma J Shipley with her augmented reality Scarfi app

Designer Emma J Shipley with her augmented reality Scarfi app

British accessories designer Emma J Shipley, known for her colourful graphic illustrations, has launched Scarfi, an app that allows customers to virtually try on and purchase her silk scarves.

Developed in partnership with the London College of Fashion’s Innovation Agency (FIA) and technology company Meshmerise, the augmented reality app asks for access to the user’s smartphone camera, which on selfie mode enables them to try on 10 different print designs, inspired by elements of nature. Meanwhile, whimsical animations bring the designs to life and encourage the user to snap a photo and share on social media.

The app launched at Westfield London this week, where shoppers could otherwise try on, shop and pick up their purchase on the spot through iPads featuring the app alongside a display resembling a vending machine. Visitors to the shopping centre also had exclusive access to the feature scarf from Shipley’s spring/summer 2017 Sirens collection, which debuted on the day.

The Emma J Shipley augmented reality Scarfi app

The Emma J Shipley augmented reality Scarfi app

“It’s so exciting to see my designs come to life on the app. I want the customer to feel like they’re really entering the world of my illustrations, and feel like they’re almost becoming part of the story and the narrative that’s happening in the designs,” Shipley comments in the video below.

“The advances in augmented and virtual technologies are blurring the lines between physical and digital. Virtual try-on has the possibility to revolutionise the way consumers experience fashion and for designers create a new platform to showcase their collections,” said Matthew Drinkwater, head of the Fashion Innovation Agency.

The Emma J Shipley augmented reality Scarfi app installation

The Emma J Shipley augmented reality Scarfi app installation at Westfield London

The launch follows Westfield’s recent “How we shop now” report, which presents an increasing consumer appetite for new technologies when trialling products. The study shows that 33% of British people would be interested in virtual assistance when trying on clothes, while 41% would like to use new technologies such as virtual reality headsets to see how furnishing looks in their homes. Meanwhile, a recent study by Barclays highlighted a willingness to visit stores that featured technologies such as VR, AR and smart fitting rooms.

The fashion and beauty industries are starting to better equip themselves in order to cater to this growing interest. Recently, beauty brand Charlotte Tilbury opened a store in the same Westfield shopping centre, which deploys a magic mirror as a selling tool. While at a recent #FashMash panel, industry experts predicted a bright future ahead for AR and VR.