As the creativity of Silicon Valley spreads to tech centers around the world, investors seek potential startups for the next Google and Facebook beyond U.S borders. Sequoia Capital’s investment in Taiwan startup, Appier, in June of 2014 marks a first which has opened doors for Taiwan’s startups as never before. Many startups in the US, recognizing the abundance of talent and lower costs, are moving operations to Taiwan. One such startup that caught our attention is Vismile, a company at the forefront of¬ 3D Virtual Fitting. The trend of combining fashion and technology is taking off as seen in iwatch, nano-fiber clothing, and virtual fitting. These evolving technologies are transformative in nature and incite our imaginations in envisioning their future potentials. In the fashion design and garment industries, virtual fitting greatly enhances the efficiency in tailoring and production of clothing by providing a virtual presentation before a garment is made. Increased accuracy of business forecasting for the industry and greater accessibility of custom made clothing, such as wedding garments, is the celebrated outcome. Vismile’s virtual fitting room occupies only the space of an LCD screen, it can be utilized as an Online to Offline (O2O) vehicle or a low cost way for web-only enterprises to develop a market before expansion of bricks and mortar locations. The application can further integrate into smart homes, in the form of a luxury digital closet that organizes one’s wardrobe. Imagine, viewing one’s selection of wardrobe, virtually “trying things on”, before ever reaching for a hanger! Behold the exciting future of tech in fashion.
Founded in 2011, Vismile has garnered worldwide attention through CNN, Wall Street Daily, and Reuters, leading fast fashion and luxury brands from Asia to Europe, to embrace this new technology. Vismile produces the world’s leading 3D virtual fitting room through augmented reality, artificial intelligence, big data, motion sensing, and other advanced technologies, which create one of the most powerful fashion marketing tools. Vismile’s 3D technology enables the designer and consumer to realize full dimensionality in the virtual fitting process. Existing technology utilized by other companies in virtual fitting are mostly 2D or 2.5D, where one cannot view the outfit design from all angles. Another of Vismile’s breakthroughs is reduced cost for 3D imaging of the designed garment. The commercialization of virtual fitting has stagnated in the past to a great extent from the high cost of producing 3D imaging. With Vismile’s breakthrough, virtual fitting is taking off. The 3D imaging products aren’t limited to clothing. With Vismile’s technology, bags, shoes, hats, and other accessories can also be virtually fitted.
From the consumers’ point of view, virtual fitting equates to a personal shopper who helps choose the clothes that fit them best while making recommendations of what is suitable by sensing the consumers’ body type and what they are currently wearing. Consumers can easily search using category, price, style, etc. and try on multiple clothing within seconds to find an ideal match. Information on the chosen garments such as price, material, available colors, and recommended matching accessories, etc., is displayed in one screen shot. Vismile’s 360 degree photo-taking function even allows a consumers to see how he or she looks from all angles without straining the neck as one might do in front a mirror. Users can also take pictures with different backgrounds, holiday messages, celebrities, etc. to share on social networks making the process fun for the consumer and great marketing for the retailers.
From the retailer’s perspective, Vismile’s virtual fitting room is a full time salesperson. Using embedded interactive advertisement to make recommendations of matching accessories and to collect big data while consumers are trying on clothes, it provides a test market before the actual product launch to maximize revenue and minimize inventory in the warehouse.
Vismile’s current business model is derived from an actual case study of its product in department stores in Taiwan. As a result of the deployment of the Vismile virtual fitting room, the department store’s sales grew double digits. Consumers find it entertaining and convenient to use, thus increasing the visibility of the participating brands. Both the department store’s marketing revenue and the brands’ sales had significant gains due to Vismile’s product. Vismile is currently developing a web version for virtual fitting, which presents another area of opportunity that has seen growing interest with eBay’s acquisition of PhiSix, an online virtual fitting company, in Feb 2014.
We are excited to see how technology startups bring creative and innovative methodologies which increase access to fine fashion design and for the consumers who want it while also improving our world in so many ways and on different fronts. Certainly, Vismile may well change how we dress and shop in the coming future.