Online retailers turn to technology to help solve sizing issues

Size-related returns is big problem in online retail, not least from an environmental point of view. In the UK, fitting is the number one reason customers return their purchases, according to Globaldata. Online retailers have been turning to technology for a while to find solutions for this problem, Vogue Business reports. Zalando and Footlocker for instance, have experimented with tech that aims at finding the best fit possible for customers, among their existing products. But the core problem remains the same: all the ill-fitting clothes and shoes created to begin with.
So, what to do?
Fit prediction platform Body Block AI and 3D scanning company Fit 3D want to help brands integrate 3D sizing into the design process. They have made thousands of body scans, creating a database that gives brands information about size and shapes in different geographical locations.
And apparently their partners are now exploring another approach to sizing, moving away from the classic Small/Medium/Large scale into sizes that ”match the morphological types in their database.
A start at least.

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What algorithms might mean to style

The fashion world is currently being flooded with all kinds of tech. Some of them aim to make online shopping easier, others to technically enhance the clothing itself, while yet others are all about the holy grail of it all: style.
That mysterious quality close to the concept of taste – hard to grasp, hard to just acquire. More like something you either have or don’t have, a personal trait that just seems magic in a way.
But what happens when technology starts to claim to know something about style? Is it even possible? Well, there are several attempts actually. Like Amazon’s style assistant Echo Look that analyses your outfit through a combination of algorithms and human fashion specialists. Meanwhile StitchFix sends users clothing suggestions by cross-referencing a client’s preferences with what others of similar age and demographic have bought. Meanwhile Matchesfashion.com works with personalized avatars that can try on digital clothing samples to help you see what it might look like on your body, while Net-a-Porter is trying a type of tech that will creep right into your data looking for info on what you plan to do next (events, trips and the likes) – and suggesting purchases accordingly, as reported in The Guardian.
But is that style though? And does all this help us require it? Well, I guess that depends on what we feed the algorithms. If we tell them to check for mass approval (likes on social media for instance or whatever has worked in the past) we will get just that and no progress at all. But on the other hand, are we comfortable programming algorithms to be audacious and bold the way our human style role models are?
Maybe that is the kind of trait we still prefer in humans.

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Amazon 3D scanning trial points towards future virtual try-on service

Last October, Amazon bought 3D model company Body Labs, their first step towards creating a virtual try-on service for clothes.
Now Amazon are inviting people to have their bodies scanned at their New York office, The Wall Street Journal reports. The participants are being asked to return every two weeks to have their bodies scanned over a total of 20 weeks. They also need to answer questions about fitness, health and weight-related loss and goals, in order for Amazon to understand how bodies shape over time.
In January , the tech giant patented a blended reality mirror that lets you that lets you try on clothes virtually, a step up from their style assistant Echo Look Camera, released a year ago.
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Body Labs 3D Scan

The challenges of fashion going digital

So looking forward to today’s network meeting about the digitalization of fashion, arranged by Swedish Fashion Council and Stockholm University among others. How to match the ever moving and competitive fashion industry with the long-sightedness and perseverance that the digitalization requires? Well, that sure is a great challenge, especially when it comes to creating new business models. There’s also a great need for innovation and new ways of thinking not only when it comes to business models, but the whole way the fashion industry is organized in everything from creation and production to cross-industry cooperations. Among the speakers today are Michael Andersson och Julia Krantz from Volumental, Rickard Lindqvist from Atacac and Jonas Larsson from The Swedish School of Textiles in Borås.

Photo cred: Ivyrevel’ s Data Dress, a great example of the change fashion currently is going through.

 

Your future wardrobe: an experience rather than objects to own?

The fact that we need to reduce our consumption in order to save the environment is something most of us agree on. Especially when it comes to consumption of fashion. We need fast fashion to be replaced by slow fashion, right? But what if it could be the other way around? If quality could mean something else? If quantity could actually be quality?
Well, Swedish project Streamateria is attempting something quite unusual. The idea is to create an avatar of your body using 3D scanning, then download a design of your choice that the avatar can try on. Then just press print and collect the item in a pop-up store. When the item, made out of a biodegradable material, has expired, you just throw it in the compost and it’s goes right back into the system again. Thus, the clothes may have a limited life span, but since they’re part of a closed loop, the raw material can be reused unlimited times. The company compares this to a streaming process where you use, rather than have, thereby shifting the focus from owning clothes, to experiencing them.
Streamateria actually started as an art project in 2014, but since then several partners have expressed interest, and next year they’re planning to pilot the whole concept. I for one look forward to seeing what it might bring.

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Swedish Volumental lands deal with New Balance

Swedish company Volumental has received at lot of attention for their 3D scanning software, making it possible to create products that fit your individual body shape. Now the Stockholm based company has landed a deal with shoe brand New Balance, according to a report in Swedish tech magazine Breakit.
The first launch was made in London in October and come summer, Volumental’s product will be in one hundred New Balance stores in over 30 countries. So far Volumental have collaborated with German company Mykita, making custom made glasses, and with American department store Nordstroms who use their 3D scanning matching feet with shoes.
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Photo credit: Aurora Horwood

En utmaning för modetechbranschen: storlekar

Det blir lätt mycket fokus på uppkopplade plagg med häftiga funktioner när man pratar modetech. Men en av de viktigaste utmaningarna för modetechbranschen framöver kommer nog att bli något betydligt mer vardagligt: att komma till rätta med storleksproblematiken.
Att hitta kläder som passar perfekt är alltid en utmaning, även om man handlar i en fysisk butik. Men handlar man online får man i regel ägna sig åt rena chansningar. Informationen att modellen på bilden ”bär storlek 36 och är 179 cm lång” är ett ganska trubbigt verktyg att använda för att avgöra om plagget passar när man själv drar en mindre storlek och är en bra bit kortare. Framför allt känns det väldigt omodernt och opraktiskt i dessa teknologiskt avancerade tider.
Nu är det inte så att det inte händer grejer inom det här området redan.
Vi har ju redan sett hur svenska Volumental angriper ämnet genom att 3D-scanna av fötter och ansikten för att kunna erbjuda individuellt anpassade skor och glasögon. Studio Heijne erbjuder en onlinetjänst för customiserade och skräddarsydda klänningar. När det gäller konfektion finns tjänster som försöker komma till rätta med problemet att storlek small hos ett märke kanske mer motsvarar medium hos ett annat, och som lär sig vilka märken kunden gillar och vilken storlek man bör beställa av respektive märke. Att kunna prova plagg virtuellt innan man slår till, är ju också ett sätt som många experimenterar med. Nyligen lanserades till exempel Scarfi, en app där man virtuellt kan prova Emma J Shipleys vackra scarves.
Men frågan är vad som blir framtidens lösning? Huvudfokus är att det måste det vara lätt för kunden, både vad det gäller tillgänglighet och utförande. Och framför allt vill man ha ett verktyg som fungerar överallt, hos alla märken och plattformar. Är det ens möjligt? Jag hoppas det, för jag är ordentligt trött på att förhålla mig till en standardmodell som inte liknar mig över huvud taget.
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Foto: Other Stories och Stil & Teknik