Augmented Reality and the Fashion Industry

We’ve only hit the half way point of the year and it has become abundantly clear what the top app for 2016 is — Pokémon Go. The game that combines urban exploration and geocaching with everyone’s favourite pocket monsters has caught the world by storm. Pokémon Go features the optional use of augmented reality allowing players to catch them all against the backdrop of real life settings. For many players, the AR setting is a fun and amusing function to enable in order to capture photos of Pokémon in real life situations — like seeing a Magikarp flop around in a glass of wine. But the potential and use for augmented reality exists far beyond being a fun feature in a popular game and has blended with the world of fashion to incredible results.

In particular, augmented reality has revolutionized the way fashion marketing meets the public consumer. A few years ago, an AR app was developed for a fashion show that allowed users to receive an up-close look at the details of the design, learn more about the designer and even see themselves next to the model. As well, top fashion magazines, from Esquire to GQ, have implemented augmented reality into their online presence to add further interactive depth to their content.

Retail companies such as Converse and Topshop have also implemented AR in the form of the virtual fitting room enabling consumers to “try” on clothing from the comfort of their own home making online shopping a more stress-free experience.

But the most exciting way that the AR trend is meeting fashion is within clothing itself, when clothing pieces come to life as viewed through a smartphone. AR companies like Zappar and Augmented Reality Fashions create apparel featuring eye-catching graphics and imagery that all look great on their own, but when the Onvert Enabled QR code is scanned via the app over smartphone, the graphic jumps to life.

Back in 2013 during Amsterdam Fashion Week, designer Marga Weimans revealed the first ever full AR dress. Weimans design went beyond the mere scanning of a 2D image by an app but implemented 3D tracking and an occlusion effect into the “hyperfabric” of the dress. The use of this hyperfabric enables designers to make long distance changes to their designs and adapt to the wearer’s geo-location and the surrounding climate.

It’s clear that the use of augmented reality has already taken off, beginning in the world of gaming and is now touching down in various industries across the board. It won’t be long before AR technology becomes entirely commonplace.