by Katherine D

Since the start of the twenty-first century, technology has quickly become more and more integrated into our daily lives. One of the industries most impacted by this is fashion. The internet has had a massive impact on the world we live in and is a technology hub for most people, especially in the form of apps. Of the variety of different impacts of technology in fashion, I chose to examine three different types of personal styling that utilize apps. All of the tech knowledge I have chosen is new, and will most likely drastically advance over the course of the next ten years. Amazon has recently branched into the fashion world and launched a few interesting products, specifically the Echo Look and Prime Wardrobe. As far as making brick and mortar shopping simpler, two apps, PS Department and The Hunt, significantly decrease the time investment required to shop for fashion in brick and mortar stores. Two other apps, Stylicious and Purple act as a virtual closet and stylist by giving outfit recommendations. Below is a more detailed look into each of these new technology-driven products and their impact on the fashion industry.

Echo Look and Prime Wardrobe are two unique approaches to fashion without the need for a physical store. Echo Look is a hands-free camera integrated with Alexa technology allowing the user to not only see their look from all angles, but to know the weather, the days schedule, and whether or not those shoes match simply by asking. The attached app uses the pictures you take and a algorithm created by stylists to tell you which outfit you should wear that day. The camera immediately uploads photos and videos to the accompanying app making an outfit of the day post on Instagram easy and quick. Photos are full length and the smart camera blurs out the background making pictures pop. Prime Wardrobe combines all the benefits of online shopping with the security of quick and hassle free returns allowing the customer to truly never have to leave the house and still look fabulous. The user picks three or more clothing and accessories from the massive Amazon store and receives them one to two days later. They then have a seven-day period to try on and decide which pieces they would like to purchase. The rest can be quickly returned with the included free box. While there are numerous services similar to Prime Wardrobe (Gwynnie Bee, Trunk Club, and Stich Fix), Amazon has an extremely expansive selection of brands and price points. And unlike the other services, Amazon’s service is included with the user’s Prime membership. Both of Echo Look and Prime Wardrobe expand the individuals scope of styling beyond what would be available at a physical store or through an expensive stylist.

Brick and mortar shopping can be a serious hassle, especially when you have no idea where to find that one pair of black sheer heels you saw on Instagram. Two fashion apps, PS Department and The Hunt, help narrow down the search by tapping into a massive database of users and store inventory. The Hunt allows anyone to post a picture or description of a item they are interested in and the other users will inform the user when they find a place selling that item or something similar. The app also allows the user to specify how much they are willing to spend. PS Department performs a similar function, except for instead of using other site users the app uses experts with access to department store inventory to tell the user where items are located around them. The user can ask for the location of a specific piece or more general requests such as homecoming dresses. After sending a request an email will be sent to the user once the item is located. Because of apps such as these, far fewer fruitless trips to every Neiman Marcus and Nordstroms need to be made searching for one item.

Stylicious and Purple, two more fashion apps, function as virtual closets for the user. Although a bit tedious to set up initially, the payoff is worth the work. Both apps, require all of the clothing and accessories in the user’s closet to be photographed and categorized. Categorized means the user needs to give some information about a garment, this can be as detailed as the color and brand or as simple as the type of clothing. The amount of detail provided depends on what the user wants out of the app. By swiping for a stylist pick, the apps will generate an outfit using clothing in the user’s closet to create a look. If it’s not their style a simple swipe will produce another. Another benefit of using a closet app is the expiration date capability. When adding items into the app, the user can set a date, say two months, and if that item of clothing has not been worn before that date the app will notify the user to get rid of it. Winter clothing and such can be archived for the summer months so outfits will be chosen relative to the season. This allows the user to have access to their entire closet at all times. Standing in a store wondering if those black pants are already sitting in their closet is quickly eliminated.

All of these products, from the Echo Look to Purple, give users more effective ways accomplish fashion-related tasks. In the hyperfast world we live in, fifteen minutes shaved off your morning routine is not only essential, but invaluable. By using an app like Stylicious to plan out the week’s wardrobe, rushing is a thing of the past. Easily accessible clothing shopping though things like Prime Wardrobe even the fashion playing field allowing “plain Jane” to have the opportunity to try new and exciting styles without any risk or commitment. Shopping time gets significantly cut down with the use of an app like PS Department, giving the busy mom more time to spend with kids instead of sifting through purse racks at Nordstrom only to come up empty handed. A inexpensive dupe for that pair of heels Kate Hudson wore in her latest instagram post is now available at your fingertips thanks to The Hunt’s numerous users. Technology drastically impacted the way we communicate, learn, and create, and now impacts our fashion lives including what we wear, how we style ourselves, and how we purchase our clothing.

All of the products and apps discussed above are foreshadowing the tremendous impact that technology will continue to have on the fashion industry. For example, Echo Look just launched a few months ago and already Amazon has added new improvements and capabilities to the cloud. Over the next decade, virtual closets, personal stylist apps and shopping tools will get smarter, quicker, and more specific to you, the user. Perhaps one day, instead of having to catalog all items of clothing in your wardrobe, your phone will automatically sync with your purchases and create a closet even quicker. Although no one knows what the future holds, I can say for sure that the fashion world has drastically changed thanks to technology and will continue to be shaped by it in the future.

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