Sunday, 25 September 2016

FITS.ME : FUTURE TECHNOLOGY SHAPING ONLINE SHOPPING?


Online shopping automatically appears to be the simplest option when shopping for clothes, but is this really the case? Or is our society just becoming lazy?

With the latest deals and discounts exhibited on every social media site and the idea of simply searching this seasons trends  within seconds; there’s no doubt about it that online shopping is incredibly enticing. Whilst all being at the touch of your fingertips, consumers now have the ability to search, select and buy wherever and whenever they want.  The convenience of home deliveries, wider variety of choice, and (often) lower prices, makes online shopping an ever-more attractive option. Some may argue that the ‘old ways’ of shopping trips are preferred, as the likelihood of returning the product is minimised due to availability of trying on before purchase and in-person visuals of how the clothing looks, and feels.  But as a society are we becoming too lazy to make the journey to our local shopping centre or are we simply adjusting to the recent technological advances that allow us to make a more secure decision on purchases even though we have only virtually seen the products.

According to research, 45 percent of consumers prefer online shopping for clothing and additionally, 72 percent of consumers usually use e-commerce sites to search before making the trip to clothing stores.  However, would these figures alter if, as consumers – we were guaranteed from online shopping with great fit from sizing and shape even though there is no ability for the customer to physically try on the garments?

Fits.Me is a relatively new software that can be installed into e-commerce websites which allows consumers to virtually ‘try on’ the garments, enabling them to visualise the fit and shape of something they physically cannot try on. Companies that use this software can then record the data from existing customers and thus collect records of their customer’s preferences, aiding in the development of latter clothing collections from the brand.  This is particulary useful as they will then gain extra knowledge of what their audience prefer and be able to design suitable collections to cater to the mass of their customers.  Founded in 2010, Fits.Me is now headquartered in the centre of London, where its technology is ever-evolving and is beginning to appeal to more and more brands.  The ‘virtual fitting room’ technology works through information provided from the company about their products; fit, stretch, silhouette and construction method (e.g. type of weave/knit, fabric choice) and combines this data with the shoppers measurements and fit preferences, to ensure the customers can see the best virtual visualisation of how the garment should look on themselves.

The companies aim is to eliminate the stigma around ‘sizes’ and replace with ‘fit’.  This seems like an appropriate movement as the fit of a garment is one of the most important things, and nowadays consumers – especially female customers have a lot of self consciousness about what size they are and what size clothing they buy.  With Fits.Me having this motto it may help this bracket of consumers forget about what a label says and actually consider more what they are wearing and how it makes them feel.  Fits.Me offers a recommendation feature; ‘Fit Origin’; within its programme that aids the shopper to decide which compromise is best, in order to achieve the best fit for that garment.  I believe that by having this feature it will reduce the statistics figures of returns to companies, as it will mean consumers will not need to buy multiple sizes of the same product, due to seeing a virtual fitting on their computer screens, thus they are more likely to buy the correct size in the first place due to the digital visual.

In today’s day and age, we - as consumers, are becoming more demanding with what is made available to us.  When we like what a company offers; its service and products, we are then more likely to reuse and revisit that particular brand and purchase more products due to the consumer relationship we have built with the brand.  Every personal measurement that consumers submit into the brands website is recorded and saved for future purchases, this highlights to us that customer personalization is key as it saves the consumer time, and as a lazy society that we are, this is much appreciated.  These elements may bring more trust to the brands using the Fits.Me software, due to pleasant experience whilst online shopping and happy customer’s means ... more revenue for the brand.  Consumer’s will then begin to realise the software and choose other retailers online that too have the Fits.M software.  This result will allow the Fits.Me brand to act as a pioneer between clothing brands aiding shoppers to a wider variety of clothing due to the good quality of the Fits.Me software.

Some retailers that have already fitted their websites and launched Fits.Me are Thomas Pink, Henri Lloyd, QVC, T.M. Lewin and Pretty Green.  “Fits.Me constantly allows us to experiment with new technological capabilities to improve search and discovery.  We encourage using the fit recommendation tool, it only takes a few seconds and statistics show that we improve conversion by 21%”. Henri Lloyd.

Currently Fits.Me has approximately 25 million customer profiles installed into their software data accounts, with over 250 thousand garments listed on various brands sites.  They believe the more research fuelled into the software the better the technology will develop - “Science, data and fashion, all working together to create a personalized shopping experience”.   

Like many other businesses, Fits.Me have social media accounts such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  With its main advantage being a free platform to advertise and communicate with their customers, Fits.Me use these sites to display other emerging technological innovation in fashion, as well as controversial model stories, fashion performance and robotic advances.  These may appeal to their followers as typically one may assume that their following fan base are those that are naturally interested in the brands ideologies and future happenings.  With their social media sites being hyperlinked at the bottom of every website page and their website url being featured in the biographies of these social media accounts it allows great customer access and easy transitions from one to another.  Simple and easy-to-be seen links make it so useful for potential customers as allows them to see what other consumers think and what the brand offers, with their morals and ideas for future development.



Bibliography

Abramovich, G. (2014) 15 mind-blowing stats about online shopping. Available at: http://www.cmo.com/features/articles/2014/5/6/Mind_Blowing_Stats_Online_Shopping.html#gs.DajZmgQ (Accessed: 23 September 2016).

Carney, J. (2016) There is no such thing as an omnichannel shopper. Available at: http://fits.me/2016/03/16/no-thing-omnichannel-shopper/ (Accessed: 23 September 2016).

Charlton, G. (2011) 45% of consumers prefer shopping for clothes online. Available at: https://econsultancy.com/blog/7960-45-of-consumers-prefer-shopping-for-clothes-online/ (Accessed: 23 September 2016).

Fits. Me. Engineering the perfect fit. Available at: http://fits.me/ (Accessed: 23 September 2016).

Fits. Me. Success stories. Available at: http://fits.me/success-stories/ (Accessed: 23 September 2016).

Fits. Me on LinkedIn. LinkedIn. Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/company/477593 (Accessed: 25 September 2016).

Fits.Me. (2011) Fits me on Twitter. Available at: https://twitter.com/ItFits_Me (Accessed: 25 September 2016).

Johri, S. (2012) Online Shopping… are we becoming lazy spendthrifts? Available at: http://shilpijohri.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/online-shopping-are-we-becoming-lazy.html (Accessed: 23 September 2016).

Lunden, I. and Lomas, N. (2015) Rakuten buys virtual fitting room startup fits.Me in A fashion commerce play. Available at: https://techcrunch.com/2015/07/12/rakuten-buys-virtual-fitting-room-startup-fits-me-in-a-fashion-commerce-play/ (Accessed: 23 September 2016).

McGregor, L. (2013) Facebook. Available at: https://www.facebook.com/ItFitsMe (Accessed: 25 September 2016).


Nicholas and He, K. (2012) Online shopping: Laziness or conservation? Available at: http://blogs.nicholas.duke.edu/torchlight/online-shopping-laziness-or-conservation/ (Accessed: 23 September 2016).

Sunday, 8 May 2016

THIRD YEAR INTERN #OVERVIEW

I think I have experienced quite a bit from my third yeah interning experience.  Firstly I have realised that it can be intense and it will certainly be very intense and stressful when I come to my third year in uni.  I think it has made me understand the importance of of organisation and time management.  Seeing as there is little provided structure with workshops (as such) when you come to being a third year and everyone suddenly becomes very independent with their own work , it is vital to have your own schedule and give your self internal deadlines to ensure you will not leave everything till last minute and not complete all the work required.  In regards to this it is equally as important to stick to your schedule and meet all your deadlines!!!

I have definitely improved my skills on Adobe software; such as Photoshop and InDesign, by using them more frequently and getting used to the tools on these software's.  It has made me realise the attention to detail that goes into a final major project and the many ingredients that are needed in order to achieve a good outcome at the end of it.  Even though I have only briefly helped out with Michelle's work I am incredibly amazed with the work she has produced and cannot wait for the end of year Fashion Show where all of the third years will be exhibiting their work and hopefully I will be chosen to help backstage and dress the models!

Saturday, 7 May 2016

THIRD YEAR INTERN #6

Weeks 5 and 6 are very similar in terms of tasks as they both link together and over lap (with the jobs I was helping out with.)  
For Week 6 the stress grew and for a moment it even began to stress me out hahah!! The studios were incredibly hectic so again Michelle needed help sorting out the final bits before the deadline which was on Friday 6th May at 12 noon.  I done small tasks that in the long run helped out Michelle... like, print of images for sketchbook, organise her patterns into individual garments and putting them into paper envelopes and making sure they are clearly labelled. Lastly I also organised her box - which is a part of what the hand in requires which is evidence of all process and development - this includes the sketchbook, final line up, toiles, patterns etc.  All these small tasks greatly helped with pre-deadline stress meaning she could focus on the accuracy of her make.

THIRD YEAR INTERN #5

For Week 5 it was the early stages of stress with only one week till deadline.  Therefore I knew it was going to be hectic for Michelle as outfits needed to be made and finished.  So I let her get on with the construction side of the outfits whilst I helped organise.  At first thoughts it seemed pretty pointless but now I realise how important it is !!!! For week 5 I had to gather all of Michelle's final 6 garment toile's together, sort them out into the set outfits then press them - which I'm now realising I didn't do a very good job at (by looking back at some of the images below - ooops haha!) I then took photos of these toiles on a model so that Michelle can use these as evidence within her sketchbook of work and future portfolio to show development.  The final images of the front of the outfits are below.  I also took side and back views, and the outfits with coats/jackets on - I removed and took photos without them on.


 (I also turned all the photos to black & white to hide the horrible bright green floors we have in our studios hahaa!!)

Sunday, 24 April 2016

SUSTAINABLE FASHION?

Seeing as it was National Earth Day the other day, I thought I'd do my part for the world and reconsider the 'importance' of the fashion industry and the effects it has on our planet in terms of the environment.  Being sustainable in fashion is proving to be a challenge in today's society.  The ever-changing demands of society require the constant attention of designers in order to compete to satisfy consumers with quality, price and style.  it is believed that the majority of environmental issues within the fashion industry lay in the production and manufacturing of the garments.  According to the United States Energy Administration the textile industry in the U.S is the 5th largest CO2 contributor in the country.  Leading the way of ethical and environmentally friendly fashion are smaller fashion brands with strong morals and innovate ideas to help promote a better world.  After an afternoon of extensive research, here are some companies that are doing their part to save the world on step at at time.

CLEAN CUT

Clean Cut is an Australian fashion business that raises awareness, education and support through the use of sustainable and ethical practices.  Clean Cut provides the information and the necessary programmes to brands and designers on how to make informed fashion choices.

SHAPES IN THE SAND

Shapes in the Sand are an Australian Swim and Lifestyle-Wear Label that aim to create swimwear which has a minimal impact on the environment.  They use the Econyl Nylon Textile Filament which is a 100% recycled fibre derived from discarded nylon fishing nets found on coastlines and in the ocean.  Their products are designed to last, meaning the product life cycle is extended so fewer products will need to be bought and less will be put into landfill.

QMILCH

Anke Domaske is a German microbiology-student/ innovative designer of the arts, who created the 'Eco Milk Fibre'.  The new milk fibre is a developed bio-polymer consisting of the milk protein casein. The casein is produced from raw milk which is no longer marketable and that should not be used as food. Qmilch absorbs colour very easily and absorbs moisture, therefore it is particularly suitable for applications in underwear, functional sports clothing, home textiles sector, but also for technical textiles.  Due its natural quality it has an automatic natural UV protection.

DYECOO

Dyecoo is a Netherlands-based brand, founded in 2008, which is the world’s first water-free and process chemical-free dyeing machinery.  The technological equipment uses reclaimed carbon dioxide (CO2) in a closed loop process, to dye synthetic only fabrics.  The 180 minute process takes place in a DyeOx which pressurises the CO2 to become supercritical (a state between liquid and gas) allowing the dye to dissolve easily due to its increased solvent power.  All the fabric leaves the DyeOx completely dry, meaning it is ready for immediate use; therefore reducing the time and energy used.  Due to it being a closed loop process, this enables 95% of the CO2 used to be recycled and used again within the next batch of dyeing.  In addition the company itself only apply 100% pure dye; consequently it has more than a 98% uptake, resulting in vibrant colours and minimal wastage produced.

MYSHAPE & FITS.ME


These are two companies that have created innovative software that allows consumers to have an improved accuracy in clothing sizes when online shopping.  MyShape is a developed patented technology that matches shoppers with items that corresponds to their personal body measurements.  Launched by retailer Hawes & Curtis, FitsMe is a virtual fitting room with shape-shifting 3D robotic mannequin that has the ability to mimic a consumer’s body shape so that the exact fit can be visualised before purchase.  An exclusively-online German retailer Quelle has recently been using this technology has seen that their returns have decreased by 28%.

Friday, 22 April 2016

THIRD YEAR INTERN #4

WEEK 4

As third years deadline is creeping closer and closer, the stress within the studio's is building at a rapid pace!  Therefore Michelle (my intern) needs as much help as she can get.  This week I helped out with small jobs that are time consuming so overall save Michelle a lot of time, which is very valuable to her at the moment. I unpicked a zip off one of her final outfits ( a pair of trousers).  I then cut out some fabric for her for another garment, so now she can assemble the garment quicker as the fabric is all cut and ready.


The fabric Michelle used is a True Black Spacer Fabric.  I laid out all the pieces of her pattern in a logical order so that there was minimal wastage.  Some of the pieces required to be cut on the fold and some doubled so I made sure I took this into account before hand.  There was a slight struggle when cutting the fabric out as the fabric is quite thick (approximately about 5mm), especially when the fabric was doubled over.  Michelle got her fabric from MacCulloch & Wallis.  Here is the link to the fabric :


Monday, 18 April 2016

THIRD YEAR INTERN #3

WEEK 3

Last week was a stressful week for Michelle as she had her toile review on Thursday afternoon.  Toile review's are a regular occurrence within a fashion university course.  They are one-to-one tutorials with your design tutors that show the progress of you designs, sketchbook work, and making of final garments in toile format.  They usually last up to 10/15 minutes and allow for feedback and guidance on possible improvements to make and praise on work progressed so far.   These improvements are often in the format of shape and silhouette adjustments including, length, style lines and fittings on a test model.

Therefore in order for preparation for Michelle's toile review, I organised her work that would be needed to be provided in this short meeting, created a final line up of her final 6 garments on an indesign document (using photoshop to edit the outlines of the images.)  I ensured I used a white background so that fabric samples and colour swatches could be attached to clearly show the aesthetics of her final collection.  I also stepped in to be a model for this toile review and wore the second to left outfit in the image below.