By Katie Keane
Virtual fitting rooms were among the discussions at the Fashion 2.0: Fitting Room of the Future event, which took place late last week in NY. The night kicked off with a presentation of Fits.me by CEO Heikki Haldre. The company, which is based in London, is recreating the experience of the fitting room online to reduce the return rate of online fashion purchases. Fits.me’s website allows users to input their measurements (which they can determine using a printable tape-measure) and then a robotic figure changes its shape to match the users’ preferences. User’s can then have the figure try on clothes they are considering to see how it would fit on their bodies. “As a customer it’s really risky to buy online, as all those brands have different sizes,” Haldre said, a problem Fits.me is working to fix.
Following the presentation, a panel of fashion and e-commerce industry speakers discussed technologies impact on the fashion industry. The panel was moderated by Fashion 2.0’s Yuli Ziv and included Alex Richardson, managing director of Selling Machine Partners, Loree Lash-Valencia, senior vice president of business development at MyShape, Brooke Moreland, CEO of Fashism.com, and Lara Crystal, vice president of brand marketing at Rent the Runway.
Richardson said the function of online retailers should be to draw customers to the actual brick-and-mortar stores. “The technology is great but it never models the store or the retailer,” he said.
For Crystal and Rent the Runway, a startup that allows women to rent designer dresses and accessories for special occasions, the online marketplace is all they have. “We’re trying to combat the fit issue online with great service,” she said of dealing with the varying sizes and fits of differently clothes on different women.
Moreland discussed another way to help combat fit with the new location-enabled feature of Fashism, based off of Foursquare’s platform. Fashism is an advice community where users can upload pictures to get instant feedback on their fashion choices and the new feature allows users to view stores around them and the reviews of products from others.
Summing up the benefits of e-commerce and fashion merging, Lash-Valencia said, “If technology can take the road blocks away, how exciting is that to just shop and have fun with it?”