A number of panelists at South by Southwest in Austin this week unveiled or promoted a range of innovations confirming various tech trends that have been gaining steam but aren’t yet mainstream. Among the lot are the rise of the virtual fitting room that actually works, virtual search that also actually works, and broad customization of retail practices.
Virtusize, a Swedish online fit start-up we’ve been following for some time, was on hand to discuss how they improve user experience without requiring customer measurements, while the visual search engine Cortexica demonstrated their high functioning snap and search technology. SXSW is the first we’ve heard of Cortexica, but when it launches this summer it’s set to debut in partnership with a major U.S. retailer, similar to how predecessor Style Eyes came out with ASOS, and Snap Fashion works with a range of second-party retailers. To make inroads as a search-by-image function, the de facto best practice seems to be to connect from a development stage with retailers.
One of our favorite people in the fashion tech scene, Liza Kindred, the founder of think tank Third Wave Fashion, was also on hand for SXSW’s fashion tech panels. Kindred noted the importance of customization, the natural result of the numerous individual innovations across the industry. As new and better ways to shop everywhere emerge — like, say, the aforementioned visual search functions — consumers naturally personalize and refine the way they buy…everything. With so many ways to search, fit, and buy, Kindred expects “mass cusomization” of personal experience to become the norm.