When you reach the final frontier, it’s hard to know where to turn next. How can you explore if there’s nothing new left to uncover? That’s the question that prompts people to start pushing the envelope and breaking truly revolutionary ground. This is the tale of fashion technology, and more specifically, the e-commerce industry. When online shopping first became a viable retail option, people saw it as a tech-savvy extension of the mail order catalog. Brick and mortar stores would still be the driving force behind fashion, just complemented with a handy tool to boost sales through at-home marketing and purchasing. In under twenty years, e-retail has grown into a driving force no one could have predicted. It’s impressive success inspired developers to work on a revolutionary new idea to push the industry forward: new fitting technology.
WHAT LED THEM THERE
When e-retail was young, it wasn’t a big deal if online stores weren’t user-friendly. Despite their depressing graphics and only showing one small photo of each product, shopping from home was a novelty. It was impressive enough to quiet a lot of early complaints. Today, technological advancements like virtual technology and photo-realistic rendering are beginning to make online shopping look dated. People want a better experience, something to help them experience online shopping like they would shopping in a physical store. This clamor for improved technology might die down if the fashion industry simply ignored it, but tech-savvy designers are already playing into the public’s hand. Motivated by new virtual tech tools, new fitting technology has become fashion’s new frontier. It may be a sign of the retail apocalypse, but it’s going to make life much simpler.
AN ANSWER TO COMMON PROBLEMS
With new fitting technology, retailers will be able to post accurately sized examples of their products in an online store. Early models let you pick a body shape and use that general size to try dozens of different clothing combinations. Developers aim to bring consumers a way to see different outfits in realistic 3D. That way, shoppers can feel confident the outfits they imagine work well in real life.
Tools like this also focus on how clothes fit. One of the biggest problems with online retail is receiving an outfit that looked one way in pictures and appears completely different in person. Of course, this is often due to company standards and cheap quality, but since current e-commerce sites are somewhat unspecific it’s hard to crack down on fraudulent behavior versus actual mistakes. Eventually, developers hope 3D technology like these new fitting tools will help regulate questionable retailers more closely.
HURDLES TO LEAP
Technology that will immerse you in your online shopping experience is exciting, but these tools have a long way to go before they can match an in-person experience. The primary issue with new fitting technology is that there is not a universal sizing standard. A size small from the Gap will be slightly different in proportion to a size small from Guess. What online stores really need is some multi-brand platform where each company can measure their products in inches rather than generic sizes. Then, if users cater individual avatars to their own precise measurements, every article of virtual clothing will be based on a consistent system.
To follow through with such an extensive database, companies would have to devote months of work transferring all their clothing dimensions online or scanning in each individual design and size. We’ll just have to see how e-commerce develops and where this new fitting technology will take us.
Whether you’re online or in the store, how your clothing fits is a tricky question. With new fitting technology, developers are hoping they can make your selection process easier and more efficient. Keep your eyes open to see how things progress!
— Nathan Young