Augmented reality technologies are having their moment in fashion circles. And I can't say I'm surprised. What, with snap lockdowns forcing retail stores to close until further notice, the try-before-you-buy feature fits seamlessly into our already online-centred shopping experience. Though the novelty of AR is yet to wear off and mostly resembles Cher Horowitz' virtual closet meets Sabrina the teenage witch, it has potential to be a practical tool for designers and consumers alike.
Loungewear and jewellery designer Chelsea de Luca is one of the first Australian labels to incorporate augmented reality technologies into her business. How has she done this you ask? Just slide on over to her Instagram on your phone (not desktop), click the star icon and voila! It's your face with any one pair of her glamorous earrings. The filter allows you to explore products and test how potential purchases pair with items you already own without having to empty your bank balance or leave the house.
“One of the greatest challenges of this new ‘COVID-19’ world, with constant lock downs and border closures, has been my inability to travel to meet with clients to showcase our designs. I’m incredibly proud to have found a technology to rectify this, bringing the fun back into shopping in a concept that reaches not just Australia but the world” said Chelsea de Luca.
And for designers and brands who don't have their own bricks and mortar store, augmented reality technology is the next best thing when creating an online experience that is both immersive and personalised.
Previously we've watched designers experiment with AR-exclusive clothing, though not quite 'Lil Miquela' the idea pushes our understanding of fashions place in the digital world. With Gucci releasing their 'Virtual 25' sneaker this year in a collaboration with AR fashion platform Wanna. The shoes can be purchased for between $9 and $12 and allow owners to upload photos or videos sporting them to social media. While other brands like Dior have utilised AR for Instagram allowing users to try sunglasses like the DiorColorQuake. The concept is definitely one that has stuck as brands look for new and innovative ways to engage customers.
“It’s a new frontier but fashion must keep moving,” says de Luca.