3DLook, winner of the Retail DT Grand Challenge 2019 and the LVMH Innovation Award in 2019, has developed technology for measuring the human body with just two photos from a smartphone camera. It’s a mobile-first solution for retailers’ fit problems that doesn’t require any additional hardware or software.
“Our mission is to make the data exchange between brands, retailers and customers simple, and to apply this intelligence to the product life cycle,” said Vadim Rogovsky, chief executive officer and founder of 3DLook.
“The fashion and retail industries have to create new shopping experiences, while reducing their negative impact on the environment,” he said, adding that solutions such as 3DLook’s size recommendations and virtual try-on, and the data and intelligence provided, could dramatically reduce return rates.
The technology is now being put to the test by 1822 Denim, which offers a wide range of styles and sizes with collections such as Butter; Re-Denim, designed from sustainable fabric made from recycled water bottles; maternity, and plus size.
“Denim is very hard to fit,” said Tanya Zrebiec, vice president of strategy and innovation at A3 Apparel Group, parent of 1822 Denim. “Every brand is different.”
“Tanya has been pioneering our technology and was instrumental in testing, and then integrating our mobile web widget into one of [A3’s] brands, 1822 Denim,” said Whitney Cathcart, cofounder and chief strategy officer of 3DLook. “Our unique body-scanning technology generates accurate 3-D avatars and 50 measurements that enable applications that greatly increase the confidence of consumers making purchases online.”
It’s an appealing proposition, given the recent spike in return rates. The value of returned online orders this past holiday season is expected to be as high as $41.6 billion, according to a study released by CBRE and conducted with Optoro, which helps retailers process returns.
“We had a few different ideas about why we wanted to bring 3DLook on board,” Zrebiec said. “One is to help with return rates for e-tail, because they’re so high. We’re excited about what the technology is doing for our business. We’re looking in the future to gather enough sizing data from customers so that we can move forward with 3-D patterning and customization. We know that’s where the consumer wants to go. 3DLook is going to provide the roadmap for getting us there.”
Zrebiec said 3D’s widget has “worked really well. We have a 6.3 percent conversion rate after using the widget. What’s really great is that they’re the only ones that have a mobile web widget where you don’t actually have to download an app.”
The tech company has collected more than 250,000 body profiles, on its way to logging 100 million by 2023. Its Perfect Fit product was created to help brands and retailers move beyond archaic fit, sizing and grading rules so that they can create personalized products for consumers. “Understanding what the consumer looks like will help brands and designers reimagine sizing and pave the way for customization,” Rogovsky said.
The company is not the only technology firm working on fashion’s sizing conundrum, however. “There are quite a few companies out there,” said Zrebiec. “The reason it keeps coming up is because this is really an important space for our industry. It’s been a topic nobody has tackled.
“Our business is in desperate need of change. Whitney has a background in our business,” Zrebiec said of Cathcart, whose résumé includes Generra Sportswear, GSL, Byer California, and cofounder and president of Rabbitgirls. “Other companies are just tech companies. They don’t speak our language, don’t understand our business and don’t know how to apply their technology to what we need.”
According to Rogovsky, brands such as 1822 Denim, which claims to offer “premium-level products at very affordable prices,” are farther along in adopting 3-D technology than higher-end labels. “Luxury brands are very far from 3-D,” Rogovsky said, noting that the high-end brands have been slower to embrace e-commerce, and lagging behind fast-fashion firms by, say, 10 or 15 years. “France is very conservative. What’s surprising is that they didn’t have mobile apps for sales, only for loyalty programs. Luxury brands approached innovation from a marketing perspective and weren’t optimizing technology.”
Nonetheless, Rogovsky envisions a sales associate at a Louis Vuitton store taking two photos of a customer, then showing the client only items that fit her body. “You only see personalized recommendations,” he said, adding that body data can bring efficiencies to design and planning, resulting in more sustainable product cycles.
“They seem to want to catch up,” Rogovsky said of luxury brands. “LVMH [Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton] wants to establish itself as an innovator. Maisons such as Kenzo, Dior and Louis Vuitton have already started innovative activities and are highly interested in creating more personalized and immersive user journeys. We’re going to explore 3-D with the brands to bring engaging and magical shopping experiences both online and in stores.”