Shop What You See On The Street

  • Apr, 17, 2014, 02:16 PM
Shop What You See On The Street
(Photo : REUTERS) A new startup company wants to embed chips in clothing - making it easier to find out where the well-dressed you see on the street find their threads.

Start up company Awear wants to embed chips in clothing to make them shoppable.

Fashionista writes that the chips would be scanned by users with the accompanying app - who could then go online and purchase the item. 

The intention behind the chip and its accompanying app is to bridge the gap between online and offline in fashion - or seeing what people are wearing on the street, and not having to ask them where they bought it, according to Fashionista. 

The DKNY Easter egg hunt at its Madison Avenue store on Monday was a test-run of the concept, writes Fashionista. The "Easter eggs" in the hunt were items of clothing hidden in plain sight and tagged with identification chips. Hunters could discover the items through an app that showed the user if they were getting hotter or colder. Once the hunters were within a few feet, the item would scan and pop up in the app.

The idea for the Easter egg hunt came about when Yuli Ziv, the VEO of the Style Coalition, introduced Awear founder Liron Slonimsky to Aliza Licht, Donna Karan International's senior vice president of communications.

Ziv told Fashionista that Awear shows potential as a platform on top of which others can build their products. The chips could dispense product information and washing instructions from a garment's creator, for instance. The use cases are wide-ranging.

While crowd sourced shopping sites like The Hunt and ASAP54 have become prolific alongside image recognition apps that encourage users to take stalker-like photos of strangers, the leap from seeing a pair of boots in the wild to clicking "Buy" isn't an exact science, writes Fashionista.   

Awear is looking to create greater specificity in identifying products on the go. 

Slonimsky, an Israeli writer and now-tech entrepreneur, began working on the idea for Awear after a stranger brushed her off for asking who made her bag, writes Fashionista.

Anyone with the companion app can scan the product (up to a 30 foot radius) to find out the product information, in clothing items with embedded chips.

Should the user find themselves surrounded by a crowd of well-dressed patrons, the app will scan all of the chips in the proximate area. The user would then have to filter through the results - which would not take too long, writes Fashionista.   

DKNY's involvement is a positive step for Awear, but the startup has a long way to go before it can launch.

Slonimsky says the team aims to release a full app in 2015, before which they need to recruit as many fashion brands as possible.

Slonimsky told Fashionista that Awear's hardware is like the fax machine. At the beginning, so few people owned one that it had no utility, but as more people adopted it, its relevance grew.

In short, she says, Awear is only as good as the number of designers and retailers that are willing to embed their pieces with chips.

If too many users try scanning an item only to end up grasping at air, they'll quickly jump ship.

Fashionista says that Awear could provide increased visibility, cheap marketing and a boost in sales for brands.

For luxury labels like Louis Vuitton or Prada, Fashionista suggests that it has the potential to combat counterfeiting, with the added value of giving reassurance to customers who would not be caught dead with a fake.

In addition to acquiring new shoppers, Awear's technology could also also provide a new way to engage with their existing customer base.

The technology could be adapted to alert a person whenever they get scanned, a real-life "like," which could contribute to better customer loyalty programs for retailers and brands. 

It remains to be seen whether Awear will be the company to bring the offline world of fashion, online. 

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