Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in the fashion industry
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are both transforming the fashion industry, from the way we shop to the way we interact with brands
Do you remember Back to the Future? In the second episode of the trilogy, Doc uses a kind of pair of binoculars that provides information about what he observes through them, much like today's Augmented Reality devices. Then Marlene, Marty's daughter, wears a Virtual Reality device to answer a phone call. And what about fingerprint payments? In short, that movie anticipated innovations that are becoming common today.
Although we don't yet have shoes that tie themselves, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are changing the fashion world.
What are Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality?
Augmented Reality, or AR, is a technology that consists of adding layers of information to reality.
It is not a separate virtual world, but a hybrid integration between the world around us and the digital world. This is possible thanks to devices (smartphones, smart glasses, etc.) that allow us to see or hear computer-generated inputs superimposed with reality.
A popular example of Augmented Reality is the game app Pokémon GO in which players could view their surroundings via their smartphone to search for and capture the little monsters from the famous anime. Another example is the IKEA app, which allows customers to see how a piece of furniture would look in their home before buying it, or the beauty apps that let users try on makeup virtually or test out different hair colors.
On the other hand, Virtual Reality, or VR, is a completely immersive experience that replaces the user's view of the real world with a computer-generated one in which users can interact with objects and people.
If Augmented Reality adds details to the visual field and sensory experience, Virtual Reality replaces them completely.
The most common way to experience Virtual Reality is with a VR headset. These headsets are usually connected to a computer or a gaming console, which provides the images and processing power to create the virtual world. As you can imagine, VR is particularly common in video games.
The Metaverse: Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality?
The term ‘Metaverse’ refers to a virtual world created by humans and inhabited by avatars, which are digital representations of people. It is similar to both Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, but it is also different.
While the Metaverse is similar to Augmented Reality in that it is a computer-generated world that is overlaid on the real world, it is different in that it is not limited by the physical world.
It is also similar to Virtual Reality in that it is a completely immersive experience.
So, is the Metaverse Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality? The answer is: both. However, the Metaverse is also an evolution of the Internet. It is a kind of digital layer that is superimposed on the physical world. Users in the Metaverse are still part of the physical world, but they can interact with virtual elements that other "real" people do not see.
How are Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality used in the fashion industry?
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are both transforming the fashion industry.
For example, these technologies are changing the way we shop for clothes, but they also give fashion brands new ways to interact and engage with customers.
Let's see some of the many uses of AR and VR in fashion:
Thanks to Virtual Reality brands can create virtual fitting rooms. This is a great way to try on clothes without having to actually go into a shop. Users can see how the clothes look on them and find the perfect fit without even leaving their house. Similarly, Augmented Reality apps allow customers to see how clothes would look on them without even trying them on. This is great both for e-commerce and for brick-and-mortar shops.
Virtual Reality is useful for creating immersive fashion shows. It allows viewers to experience the show as if they were actually there, while they are anywhere in the world. In certain cases, viewers can even buy them directly from an app.
Both AR and VR are used to create virtual storefronts. This allows customers to browse and purchase items again without having to leave their homes.
Augmented Reality allows companies to share more information about their products. Simply have consumers frame the label with their smartphone and access multimedia content about the production or care of the garment or more.
The advantages of using AR and VR in fashion
The uses of AR and VR mentioned above bring several benefits to fashion brands:
Better customer experience
AR and VR make shopping easier, faster and smoother, and turn shopping into an immersive, fascinating, and customizable experience. This fits perfectly with the different needs of online and offline shopping.
Higher user engagement
People crave for exciting experiences, especially if these involve their favorite brands! AR and VR allow for more captivating interaction with the consumer, leveraging emotions, and thus tying a positive perception to the brand.
Many fashion companies struggle to keep up with digital transformation. Those companies that manage to innovate first have a competitive advantage especially with regard to Millennials and GenZs. These generations are used to interacting with technology and expect companies to do the same. In particular, Millennials are an important target audience for fashion because of their growing purchasing power.
Higher transparency and brand loyalty
More and more consumers are paying attention to the sustainability of companies. However, they need evidence of real commitment to reduce their environmental impact. Augmented reality and Virtual Reality give new opportunities for companies to showcase their activities quickly and in an engaging way.
- Better understanding of the market thanks to data analytics
New technologies often include tools for analyzing consumer habits. All this data makes it possible to understand trends, anticipate changes, and adapt quickly and without wasting resources. They also make it possible to offer consumers an increasingly personalized experience, winning their loyalty