Apr 262012

Window shopping is a phrase that usually implies looking at a display of mannequins wearing trendy garments and accessories, such as designer sunglasses and handbags. The visual displays are designed to lure customers by suggesting that they too can look fashionable in the same products. Thanks to Bloomingdale’s new virtual window displays, customers really can see themselves wearing designer sunglasses.

Image Courtesy of Mashable.com

The Lexington Avenue NYC Bloomingdale’s is currently featuring virtual LCD screens in six interactive windows through May 7. Each window has four options of sunglasses from designers such as Marc Jacobs, Roberto Cavalli, Miu Miu, Gucci, and FENDI, which any passerby can “try on” before walking into the store.

The window display locates a woman’s eyes and positions a selected pair of frames on her image as projected by the built-in camera. A front view and profile show the woman how the actual designer sunglasses might fit her face shape. If there is a pair that a shopper particularly likes, she can press the “Print” button. The selected style and virtual image are sent to a salesperson inside Bloomingdale’s who will help the customer try on and potentially buy the frames she saw in the window. Continue reading »

Mar 122012

M Saraswathy’s brief BusinessWorld article (Tech Couture: Fashion keeps a date with augmented reality) outlines some recent uses of AR in advertising, including uses at Lakme Fashion Week. The article ends with a tempered approach suggesting that so far, advertisers have not been able to tell if AR translates into more sales.

Even so, the possibilites for augmented reality with fashion advertising seem endless. Because clothing is a visual communicator, AR offers many interesting possibilities for layering visuals over bodies, environments, etc. The “Fashionista” tool below allows shoppers to try on clothing wherever they may be, using augmented reality.


But AR offers other tantalizing prospects for causing disjunction in the public spaces in which clothing is sold and worn.

So far the most interesting uses of AR that I have seen have been for aesthetic or critical purposes. I can envision AR being used for purposes like overlaying images of the workers who produce clothing items or the workshops in which they are produced. Or statistics about ethically sourced material. Or overlaying images of real women over advertisements or mannequins. Or, or, or…

A few links to interesting AR projects: