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Virtual changing room

By Tiffany Tan (China Daily)

08:23, April 26, 2013

Augmented reality technology has been used to tap mobile-savvy consumers. (China Daily)

The fashion industry is increasingly using 'augmented reality' to market its products. AR allows customers to try on clothes and accessories virtually, before deciding their purchase. Tiffany Tan provides the details.

After two hours of scanning booth after booth at the China International Clothing and Accessories Fair, Tian Xueqin finally finds her mirror. Standing before it, she tries on a floor-length, body-hugging gold satin gown created by couture designer Guo Pei. Tian raises her arms out to the sides to see how the dress moves. She looks at the way it sits at the waist, then turns around to check out the back. When she's done, Tian steps away from the mirror and the dress vanishes.

Magic? Not exactly. The wood-framed, full-length mirror is actually an LCD screen that allows people to try on two of Guo's bridal designs virtually. When the user enters the frame, the dress "snaps" onto her body and moves with her, as if she were really wearing it.

The technology, called augmented reality, has been used in the international and domestic fashion industries for at least two years now, but few in China know about it. No wonder crowds formed around Guo's virtual dressing room, created for last month's fair by 360Fashion Network, a fashion technology company in Beijing.

"At least 300 people tried on the clothes today," a woman assisting visitors on the first day says. "About half of them were men."

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