Virtual Reality Eyewear. How is AR Impacting Fashion?

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have emerged as a transformative force in multiple industries. Augmented reality, in particular, is severely disrupting many areas, including fashion. In a 2021 study from Fashion and Textiles, AR is identified as a powerful product presentation tool by mediating imagery, information fulfilment, and psychological ownership. Leading brands are increasingly integrating this technology into their online and offline spaces, with Gucci’s recent addition of an AR feature to its mobile application, which allows consumers to try on fashion items and cosmetics virtually, exemplifying the growing trend.

However, AR offers innovative ways to enhance the consumer experience beyond revolutionising marketing strategies. Below, we explore how AR is impacting different areas of the fashion industry, from eyewear to luxury fashion and even in design and manufacturing.

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The latest developments in AR tech mean that it is capable of registering the smallest features of the human body. AR technology can analyse facial features and suggest eyewear styles that complement the customer’s face shape, skin tone, and personal style. See the Virtual Try-On feature of leading eyewear and sunglasses brands, such as Oakley sunglasses. They’re one brand that leverages augmented reality technology to allow consumers to virtually try on their models of sunglasses, from Frogskins to Holbrooks. Users can thus experiment with different styles and frame colours before making a purchase and even snap a picture to share with friends. This allows for a personalised exploration of eyewear options for buyers and a lower likelihood of returns for sellers.

On the other side of the eyewear spectrum, AR is influencing the design of the eyewear itself. Augmented reality glasses, designed to enhance reality through digital information projection onto wearable lenses, represent a fusion of fashion and functionality. The recently launched Ray-Ban Meta serves as a prime example, combining the iconic Wayfarer frames with cutting-edge AR technology. These glasses not only provide a stylish accessory but also offer users a seamless integration of digital information into their daily lives.

Luxury fashion

Fashion brands on the higher end can tap into the potential of AR to create immersive brand interactions. According to Vogue Business, in 2023, 72% of luxury fashion consumers in the UK find it important that brands offer AR solutions as part of their shopping experiences. Thus, it’s no surprise that other luxury brands are embracing AR-enhanced experiences beyond Gucci. Dior, for instance, is working on a catalogue of virtual products accessible through Snapchat, enabling users to try on complete looks using AR technology.

On the other hand, Cartier takes consumers on an AR time-travel experience, transporting them back to Paris in 1917, the year of the Tank watch’s first release. This showcases how luxury brands are using AR not only as a marketing tool but also as a means to engage consumers in novel and memorable ways. This helps solidify the brand’s reputation by forming immersive brand stories.

Design and manufacturing

Beyond the realm of retail, AR is streamlining design and manufacturing through technologies like 3D body tracking, real-time multi-class segmentation, and cloth simulation. These advancements contribute to making digital clothing look more realistic, bridging the gap between the physical and virtual realms of fashion.

See Forbes’ 2022 report on ZERO10, a digital fashion hub that empowers designers, brands, and users to create and wear virtual clothes in augmented reality. This platform not only allows designers to transform their 3D designs into AR but also aims to educate creators on the process. The inclusion of an educational program signifies a commitment to democratising digital fashion and providing the necessary tools for creators to thrive in the AR space.

As consumer expectations evolve, it’s clear that the fashion industry is embracing AR as a key enabler of innovation and creativity. With advancing technology, AR is proving to be a transformative force, shaping the future of fashion in exciting and unprecedented ways.


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