Production of Fashion for Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is probably the most hyped vertical compared to Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality. The reason is that it seems to be the most promising short-term technology that can actually be adopted by the masses.

Let's look at how you can take advantage of AR apps to reach hundreds of millions of customers and enhance their user journeys that connect Physical and Virtual Fashion experiences, known as Phygital Fashion. Additionally, we want to go deeper into the production and technology that everyone is required to understand before and while producing AR fashion.

Today the most common way to experience AR fashion is through Social Media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok using just your phone. However, there are also 3rd party platforms that can help you build your own custom AR experience such as Lightship from Niantic. Additionally, WebAR platforms are now enabling users to experience AR on mobile phones without even installing any app.

AR Fashion experiences

1. Image Tracking

The app recognizes some specified object in the picture such as a Logo, QR code, text, or anything else that you select, and then shows an image, video, or 3D object

RTFKT x Nike AR hoodie

Above is an example where one of the most innovative Virtual Fashion companies RTFKT & Nike has recently released its AR hoodie and now recently we replicated that for one of our clients and are offering it to anyone through Virtuall.

Virtuall AR Wings

2. Fit on body & face

Another very popular way of using AR for fashion is to fit the fashion item directly on the person displayed in the camera. This is more advanced functionality and requires platform support for that. The quality highly depends on where you want your AR filter to be displayed. In this way, brands can showcase their collections in a cool way targeting specific audiences.

Snapchat Virtual Fashion with 3D Body Tracking

3. Object Placement

You can also place objects (images, videos, or 3D) into the physical world and allow customers to interact with them. One of the most interesting examples is Virtual Showrooms where you can allow customers to preview and interact with fashion collections.

Zara AR teaser

Production

Now let's talk about how actually to produce these experiences. Our objective at Virtuall is to add virtual components to existing physical fashion collections fast and cost-effectively, starting with the idea to scale across various 3D destinations and hundreds of items. So we are going to look at AR from that angle.

Although you can place images and videos using AR, the most effective way of displaying fashion items is 3D. So for any of the experiences mentioned above one should start with actually creating a 3D virtual clone of an existing fashion item and then if you want to add extra spice to it, you need to animate it. To create a 3D AR model artists need to go through 4 steps:

1. Creating 3D model from pictures (2D to 3D)

So going from just pictures to 3D models is actually an artistic process that requires artists' interpretation and understanding of what the brand actually is looking for. This is especially true when you need to create for a specific application (Snapchat, Instagram, Shopify, Roblox, ..). In these scenarios, it's not enough to "just create a perfect replica" because each virtual environment is forced to comply with its technical limitations and requirements that inevitably reduces quality, change the form, shape, materials, etc. The software typically used during this step is Marvelous Designer, Blender, Maya, Zbrush, and Adobe Substance Painter.

Creating clothes using Blender & Marvelous Designer

2. Adapting a 3D model for a specific destination

Once we have a 3D model that we like, we now need to adapt the model for a specific environment. This step includes reducing the number of polygons, resizing and removing textures and materials, fitting the item on top of the new Avatar, and many other things. This is crucial because users are expecting to load the model quickly and in the AR case interact with them in real-time not to speak about fit on the body and similar use cases.

3. Animations

To bring more immersive experiences to the users one might want to animate the 3D fashion item. Take a look at how we animated wings for one of our customers using Blender.

4. Place the model in the AR environment

This step requires a custom approach for every single app (environment) as it depends on how the app and user want to use the model. Here's the list of the biggest apps and their AR development environments that you can bring Fashion AR experiences to:

  1. Instagram - your fashion to Instagram users with SparkAR
  2. Snapchat - your fashion to Snapchat users with Lens Studio
  3. TikTok - your fashion to TikTok users with Effect House
  4. Niantic (the company behind PokemonGo) - your fashion to custom AR games with Lightship
  5. AR Code - your fashion to users without requiring them to install any apps using Web AR technology
  6. Other AR apps such as uMake install as a stand-alone app and allow you to build customer experiences simpler than Lightship but with more limited possibilities
Image Tracking AR Effect | Spark AR Tutorial

As you can see for every single app/environment you would need to perform a separate development step to adapt the 3D model differently. To make it even more complex, every environment comes with technical limitations and differences, the same feature can be better on one than others. The comparison would require its own blog post but here's a short comparison between the major AR Apps.

ApplicationsRecognitionSpeedQuality
Lightship555
Lens Studio554
SparkAR443
Effect House243
Comparison between biggest AR platforms

Conclusions

There are many different use-cases, production steps, and environments to actually get to the results in just AR, not to talk about other 3D use-cases such as E-commerce 3D placement, Virtual Worlds, Games, Metaverse, Virtual Try-On, etc. And typically brands would like to reach the users within multiple channels, however, because of the involved complexities they are often just testing out one with only a few items or as one of their PR stunts.

We at Virtuall have removed all these complexities so that brands can only focus on their customers and fashion rather than the production and scaling of 3D models.

Virtual fashion to provide sustainable revenue streams for Brands

The Fashion Tech report just got released by The Business of Fashion and McKinsey and we summarized the trends and key takeaways through the lens of the phygital infrastructure company, Virtuall.

As fashion executives consider where to focus their attention and direct their resources, the report explores five technology-driven imperatives for the industry in this report:

Here are 7 most important trends covered in this report relevant to the Phygital and Virtual fashion

Nike & RTFKT showing the way to fashion value

A project worth talking about is Nike and RTFKT phygital products.

Nike, with its RTFKT, is showing the way for how the digital dimension of a physical product is increasing the value of the whole.
These iconic Phygital products grow more valuable over time, along with their virtual features.

GenZ understands this natively. In Games, it is natural that items like capes, swords, or other game artifacts have unique features enhancing their experience, the more unique, the higher the value. With the technology available today, we can improve physical products in the real world and the virtual by merging them making them more valuable.

We strongly believe this is a capability everyone should have. We can help you “imbue” your products with special powers!

Here is a good read to brush up on what Nike and RTFKT is doing with Phygital products:

Nike is Taking Their Digital Presence to the Next Level With RTFKT’s Cryptokicks iRL

Nike Logo

Provide value GenZ recognizes - imbue your products with special powers

Shopping for Fashion in Multiverse (Metaverse?)

The channels are changing, and you need to think of immersive social media (i.e., Hotel Hideaway, Ifland...) or game/virtual worlds (Ready Player MeHiberDecentraland) as countries full of stores.

Every such channel is an opportunity to reach further and generate new value from and for the brands’ virtual fashion. Not to mention the exciting customer journeys that can be created for virtual and physical fashion together.

The Digital Dimension of a physical product can move fashion into value beyond its current. This value could empower made-to-order journeys – “wear the virtual versions while you wait for the physical one to be produced” and make that waiting an exciting part of the journey.

Or open doors, virtually be the key to exclusive communities, or why not physical doors, venues, events....?

Whatever the application or utility in the real world, it is empowered by the digital.

The opportunities for fashion with special powers are endless with access to technology and the right partners.

More reading on the GenZ subject - GenZ and Fashion in the Age of Realism

Shopping for Fashion in Multiverse - Know your customers

GenZ is the largest generation yet, representing 25% of the world’s population.

This generation is coming into its purchasing power, and brands know it. Large brands such as PVH, Gucci, LVMH, and Levi are strategizing to meet this new group of buyers.

They are, however, different from any generation before them and too large of a group to ignore!

GenZ is different in everything from social media preference to perception of value. They prefer visual social media, Tiktok, Instagram, and Social Games. Many in this generation have started to abandon platforms in favor of new experiences. Like how we saw the movement in social media at the beginning of 2000, MySpace vs. Facebook.

This generation also perceives value differently. 75% of them have already bought digital items in Games, and they are the most digital native generation yet as they have never experienced a world without the Internet.

Their favorite forms of entertainment are Fashion, Games, and Music.

To reach this generation, brands need to be where they are!

For many brands, it will be complex to find out where to be and what their narrative should be on these new platforms. Luckily Tech is being built, making it a lot easier to engage across these new channels.

Check out this reading to know your new customers better.

Shopping for Fashion in Multiverse (Metaverse?)

The power of 3D-enabled Sales and Marketing goes further yet.

Consider how brands sell their products today in traditional Retail or e-commerce.

Will they grow big from selling in one Store in one City?

Will they grow by advertising in only one channel?

There is a multiverse of 3D-enabled channels where brands’ virtual fashion can help drive brand value, community, sales, and marketing to new levels. Every such destination can be seen as a Country full of Stores.

Buying “skins” (virtual fashion) is already a 54B USD market established way before technology such as crypto and NFTs.

Two platforms alone represent over 500M potential customers for a brands virtual fashion; Zepeto and Roblox.

What if a brand could easily access all shops and destinations? (100x)

Read this great article on the topic: DRESSING FOR THE METAVERSE: LUXURY HAS ENTERED CYBERSPACE... reading in BoF!

Gucci and Roblox

We visited Gucci in Roblox today! It was a fascinating world to be in and discover this legendary brand.

Games and virtual worlds lend themselves very well to engaging the community and attracting new generations.

What we ask ourselves at Virtuall is how a brand can continue to engage its users in and beyond the game.
Our conclusion is that along with a great experience, the brand must continue to bring fresh content to the community to build a real following.
One-off engagements without tending might end up as abandoned gardens... 🌸

Our Product Experience Platform makes it easy for brands and agencies to continue to deliver community 3D content across multiple games. Why not engage across worlds such as Roblox and Naver Z (ZEPETO)🎮📈😊to reach further and engage longer?

Gucci + Roblox

Direct to Avatar

“Direct to Avatar” starts here at Virtuall.

There is a very comprehensive article about how brands can reach their customers in a new and valuable way written by Catherine Seeds: “listen” to it here: https://lnkd.in/g6d7Ngiu

Virtualls’ platform enables all brands with Direct to Avatar sales and marketing capabilities. It starts with your fashion designs!

Some key proof points

Ralph Lauren released a 50-piece digital clothing collection in August 2021, available for purchase in the social networking app Zepeto.

American Eagle announced a virtual clothing collection for Bitmoji avatars in July 2021.

Gucci and The North Face, a VF Company released a joint collection of avatars on Pokémon Go in January 2021.

In March 2021 Gucci released virtual sneakers that can only be worn with AR, using technology developed by Wanna.

In Roblox, the Gucci Garden experience offers The Collector’s Room. It allows people to collect limited Gucci items in the metaverse. Gucci, from their initial sales of the collectible items, collected 286,000,000 Robux from the game. This is approx 3M USD.

Your fashion designs are worth more than you think

Fashion is not only physical, but today it's also Virtual and you can monetize that. Maybe in ways, you didn't even consider. Possibly millions of dollars?

NikeAdidas , DOLCE&GABBANA, and Lacoste are all legendary brands that have found an exciting path to new revenue, brand exposure, and outstanding customer experiences. It starts with their digital fashion as avatar wearables in games.

Nike alone collected 185M USD from NFTs and virtual fashion this year. Fashion in Games is already a 54B USD market.

Do you want to know how your brand can do the same? Reach out to us; we have taken a complex engagement and made it super simple for any brand!

Virtuall 3D design lab