News & Events, Tech

Augmented Reality Shopping is a thing now, here’s what we know

AR could help fashion during the pandemic.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Mar 20, 2021

As someone who has attended many fashion shows over the years, I understand the importance and general annoyance of them. For a couple weeks, every year, fashion editors attend runway shows in New York, Milan, London and Paris, discovering new trends, materials and designers. Don’t get me wrong, it is fantastic and a privilege to attend these highly coveted shows and get the first look on everything for the upcoming season; but, it is also exhausting. It ends up being weeks of traveling back and forth, after-party events, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, coffee dates and much more. In fact, many seasoned fashion insiders dread fashion week each season, and often joke about cancelling the whole thing. Ironically, that is exactly what the pandemic brought us — no more fashion shows. Over the last twelve months, the fashion industry has managed to take things digitally — and their latest adventure, augmented reality, could be just the thing to connect the fashion to the world.


The London-based concept store, Machine-A, is using augmented reality to give shoppers the in-person experience that has been missing amidst the pandemic. The virtual store, developed with the Institute of Digital Fashion, opened on February 19. They set out to showcase the work of emerging UK designers like Richard Quinn and Martine Rose to boost visibility for the brands. Visitors can enter with a QR code that then shows the sales floor of Fall/Winter 2021 collections, along with personal messages from the designers depicting their inspiration for the collections.


Augmented reality has become a great way for fashion brands to interact with customers. “For us, it’s important to always be discovering new innovative ways to engage with our customers and our community,” Stavros Karelis, founder and buying director for Machine-A said in a press statement. “We wanted to raise awareness for the brands that we are carrying, especially in this period of time when the store is shut and London Fashion Week is taking place digitally.”


The reality of the situation is that in-person fashion shows are not necessarily an option for many and augmented reality widens the opportunity for more people to discover and enjoy brands. This could be a new and upgraded way for brands to compete in the pandemic and beyond. Augmented reality could be great for general shopping as well. People wouldn’t have to deal with going into stores, carrying around shopping bags and interacting with people. Retailers can then save on physical locations.


Photo via Machine-A