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Retail technology

GU showcase store introduces personalized avatars for virtual try-on

GU Style Studio
GU Style Studio

Fast Retailing’s GU, is connecting online and offline retail with a new store in Tokyo’s Harajuku district, that allows shoppers to see sample products in real-life and then try them on using virtual tools.

The GU Style Studio, as it’s called, is designed to showcase garments and provide a sense of convenience by enabling customer to then order them through their mobile phones for delivery at home later.

Visitors are encouraged to create their own digital avatar through a photo taken at the GU Style Creator Stand, then scan QR codes on individual items via the GU Style Creator App to see how they would look wearing each piece. They can then continue to play with a combination of different looks digitally while they move through the store.

According to Osamu Yunoki, GU’s chief executive officer, a benefit from this technology is the data collected from shoppers at the store. Yunoki told Bloomberg that information on app usage and styling combinations can help GU learn more about how people shop and what’s in style.

After purchasing items, customers can choose to have them shipped to their home, or they can pick them up at a nearby GU store or designated 7-11 location. GU has almost 400 stores across Asia, primarily in Japan, Taiwan and China.

GU Style Studio
GU Style Studio

“We’re fusing the in-store experience and e-commerce to offer a fun and convenient experience. Harajuku isn’t just for shopping. It’s also a place where fashion is created. We’d like to use our customer’s creations as a stimulus for developing new types of fashion,” he said.

It’s not the first time Fast Retailing, Asia’s biggest clothing retailer, and also the parent company of Uniqlo, has chosen GU as a testbed for new technology: it was the first brand in the portfolio to introduce RFID tags and self-checkout back in 2015. Two years later, Fast Retailing announced they would be using the technology in 3,000 Uniqlo stores worldwide.

The industry is increasingly seeing examples of more seamless shopping opportunities – from unmanned stores, to overtly interactive ones. This idea of walking out empty-handed, meanwhile, combines the idea of a convenient shopping experience, while encouraging customers to share more data.

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e-commerce Editor's pick Retail Startups technology

Amazon exploring the future of sizing with 3D body scanning trial

Body Labs 3D scan
Body Labs 3D scan

Amazon is currently inviting people to have their bodies 3D scanned at its NYC offices, hinting at the e-commerce giant’s future plans of entering the virtual try-on and personalized fit space.

According to The Wall Street Journal, participants are being asked to return every two weeks to have their bodies scanned over the course of 20 weeks. They are also being asked to answer a series of fitness and health questions, and complete an online survey that determines weight-related loss and goals in the past year. The survey reads: “We are interested in understanding how bodies change shape over time.”

The project comes from Amazon’s new 3D body scanning unit, and is assumed to tie to a broader aim of improving the fit of clothing sold online – one of the industry’s greatest challenges. It comes after Amazon paid a reported $100m+ to acquire Body Labs, a startup that creates 3D body models to support B2B software applications, back in October 2017.

At the time TechCrunch reported that Body Labs’ website, which is currently down, demonstrated how its API could be used to “accurately predict and measure the 3D shape of your customers using just a single image”, which in turn could be used to power custom apparel or be used by fashion e-commerce retailers.

Over the past couple of years Amazon has been making aggressive moves towards the fashion category, both from a hardware, service and merchandise perspective.

In April 2017, it released the Echo Look, a device that uses a camera to help users keep track of their outfits and receive style advice. Its try-before-you-buy Prime Wardrobe service, launched last summer, is also now open to consumers beyond the Prime membership and is due to launch imminently.

The retailer has so far developed over 50 in-house apparel labels for women, men and children, showing that there is virtually no corner of the apparel industry that it doesn’t have covered.

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Campaigns mobile social media

Hollister launches Bitmoji outfits for Snapchat inspired by spring collection

Hollister Bitmoji
Hollister Bitmoji

US teen apparel label Hollister is promoting the launch of its spring collection by creating 12 corresponding outfits for Bitmoji characters, available to post on Snapchat.

At present, users can create their own avatars through a standalone Bitmoji app, which generates the ‘mini me’ characters in a variety of situations, such as showcasing emotions or sending the recipient greetings.

The Hollister launch aims to create a unique experience for Snapchat users and propel the brand back into the forefront of the teen shopper’s mind. For the Bitmoji experience, outfits include items that feature in their newest collection such as t-shirts with the brand’s iconic eagle logo and a men’s camo sweater.

As Michael Schneider, VP of marketing, told WWD: “At Hollister, we aim to create emotional and engaging brand experiences where we know our customers are spending their time.“

This focus on the consumer and the brand experience can also be seen to have positively influenced the last quarter of the brand’s sales period, with a quarterly comparable sales gain of 11%.

This is not the first time Hollister has spearheaded digital experiences on the Snapchat platform in order to engage with the Gen Z audience that is at the core of the brand. In 2015, it launched geo-tagged filters available at thousands of high schools in the US and Canada. In 2017, it launched a retro video game available through Snapcodes.

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Editor's pick social media technology

Prada enlists computer-generated influencer to promote Fall 18 show

Lil Miquela for Prada Fall 18
Lil Miquela for Prada Fall 18

Prada has worked with Lil Miquela, a computer-generated virtual influencer, to promote its Fall 2018 collection via animated GIFs on Instagram Stories.

To announce the partnership alongside the label’s Milan Fashion Week runway show, Miquela posted a series of short Instagram videos featuring the GIFs, and invited her followers to head to Stories and play. The call to action read: “Go off!! #pradagifs are live in stories! Start posting and tag me.”

Over on Prada’s account, the CGI avatar gave followers a mini tour of the show space, a new Rem Koolhaas venue, while flying a drone around, which she controlled with her phone.

GIFs ranged from inspiration of Prada’s current collection, as well as nods to more archival pieces such as the SS10 flame shoe and the SS11 banana print.

Lil Miquela for Prada Fall 18
Lil Miquela for Prada Fall 18

Miquela Souza, or Lil Miquela, is a virtual version of a 19-year-old Los Angeles based influencer, who boasts over 600k followers on Instagram, and whose creators remain purposively elusive.

Speaking to the Business of Fashion in February, Miquela explains her success: “Initially, it probably stems from curiosity. I think people stick around because they end up learning more about themselves through the questions they’re asking. I love being able to communicate, learn and talk to everyone from all corners of the world. There is a sense of community to it as well, the people who follow me end up being friends with each other and the communications that it opens up is inspiring.”

Since “launching”, the influencer has been seen wearing the likes of Vetements and Proenza Schouler, while her music track “Not Mine” has been played over 100K times on Spotify.

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Editor's pick mobile social media

Juicy Couture launches virtual collection on new Britney Spears game

Britney-Spears-Juicy-Couture

We know gaming is a lucrative space these days. Just look at Kim Kardashian’s mobile version which has reportedly brought in $100m since its launch in 2014.

The company behind that, Glu Mobile Inc, also runs the new “Britney Spears: American Dream” game, which is quickly following in similar footsteps and integrating numerous brands within it. First up in the fashion space, is Juicy Couture.

The result sees users able to buy a range of 20 digital Juicy Couture Black Label looks for their avatars, including sunglasses, dresses, jeans, jewellery, shoes and handbags. They do so with B-Gems, the game’s currency, and then wear them while doing things like making and performing songs and competing with one another to make it to the top of the charts.

“We’re excited to see the impact adding a fashion brand has to Britney Spears: American Dream. It’s something that has proved quite successful in other Glu titles so we’re looking forward to future opportunities,” Glu chairman and CEO Niccolo de Masi, told WWD. “These types of integrations add significant value to the player by providing an immersive brand experience in an authentic way. We deliberately select brands that align well with each title and celebrity partner.”

Juicy Couture might sound like an interesting choice, but as Racked reports, the classic Juicy tracksuit is supposedly making a comeback after being spotted on various celebrities once more. Bloomingdale’s is also releasing an exclusive capsule collection of Juicy Couture Black Label classic tracksuits (in real life) this July.

The typical player of the Britney Spears game is reportedly female between the ages of 18 to 35.

The Kim Kardashian: Hollywood game has included brand integrations such as Balmain, Karl Lagerfeld and Nars cosmetics.

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e-commerce Editor's pick technology

Westfield explores the future of fashion with pop-up virtual reality experience

w-future-fashion-580x280-v3

Westfield UK is focusing on technologies like virtual reality (VR) for spring/summer 2015, with an immersive pop-up experience at the heart of a new campaign called Future Fashion.

During March and April, visitors to both Westfield London at Shepherd’s Bush and Westfield Stratford City, will be invited to wear VR headsets paired with gesture tracking technology. The interactive experience will enable them to see their own hands within the virtual world.

There will also be a large screen that tracks shoppers’ body shapes as they walk up to it. Westfield is referring to this as creating a “fashion avatar” – as the user moves, elements of three trends highlighted by Westfield for the season – denim, floral and future modern – are expressed with them, leaving trails behind as they go. Denim sees an avatar seemingly woven from thread, floral by different buds and colours representative of scent, and future modern by glowing lines.

Users will then be able to explore the three trends via Westfield’s ‘Edit Me’ trend microsite; digitally curating products to fit each of them from retailers within the shopping centre.

Myf Ryan, Westfield’s marketing director for the UK and Europe, said: “From research Westfield conducted, we know that shoppers are eager to explore new fashion technologies and are intrigued by new virtual ways to experience it – 52% would use augmented reality in a retail environment and 57% are tempted by virtual mirrors. This event will take our shoppers on an incredible virtual journey, which pushes the boundaries of fashion and technology.”

There is also a digital content hub surrounding the Future Fashion campaign. It will include a series of stop motion, hyperlapse and how-to tutorial films produced by Portas. The campaign will be further supported by social media, out-of-home and a press partnership with The Telegraph Group.

The immersive experience will be in place in Westfield London from March 27-29 and in Westfield Stratford City from April 2-4.

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Editor's pick technology

Avatars take to Björn Borg catwalk ahead of SS15 computer game launch

bjornborg_gaming

Gaming was at the centre of Björn Borg’s spring/summer 2015 show at Stockholm Fashion Week last week, as models wore avatar masks striding down the catwalk with a series of robotic movements.

That strategy was part of a teaser for the brand’s own computer game launch – “First Person Lover”, as it’s called, due January 2015. Further details have yet to be released, though head of design James Lee refers to the premise of the game as being about “creating more love in the world”.

“Gaming and digital animation has a great impact on fashion today and we wanted to pick up on this in the collection and show,” he expressed. In a behind-the-scenes video ahead of the launch, he adds that inspiration was found in the different fictitious worlds of a computer game, from underwater scenes to temples and more.

Projections inspired by the game were placed as the backdrop to the Stockholm show by creative show director Bea Åkerlund, who added: “I was really inspired by Björn Borg’s SS15 collection and their ‘First Person Lover’ game and wanted to recreate the experience for the audience. My intention with the show was to merge the full emotions of falling in love with how it would feel if you would climb into the computer game just for a second.”

Check out the highlight reel below…