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Secret Shopper: Stradivarius's digital fashion collection

Camilla Rydzek
06 May 2022

As part of TheIndustry.fashion's Secret Shopper series we "tried on" garments from Stradivarius' new virtual fashion collection "Blueming". 

Digital fashion has become increasingly popular since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and now users have the ability to augment virtual designs onto their own photographs.

The latest fashion brand that is experimenting with this new form of dressing up solely for the benefit of the virtual world is Stradivarius, which has released a nine piece virtual collection called Blueming.

Virtual fashion is meant to be more sustainable as it does not require physical resources beyond computing power and hardware, and it also is perhaps more suited to a culture that thrives on "throw-away fashion" or items that are worn once, if at all, and then discarded.

This is our verdict on the new Blueming collection and how easy it is to "wear" clothing digitally.

Digital interface

The collection can be found only on Stradivarius' app, and users don't need to sign-in to access it, which is a plus point. The Blueming collection was very easy to find - in fact it can't be missed. The app uses the same video that Stradivarius shared on its social media channels and website - a dynamic run-through of what users can expect of the collection with lots of flowery pink and cosmic silvery tones. The slogan reads "Digital Fashion: Wear the Future Now". I'm intrigued.

First impressions of the digital fashion 

The collection looks incredibly fun and fittingly outrageous - these are looks to be worn at festivals or in a night club. The fact that they're virtual also adds a more interactive dimension to the designs and two items - the Blooming corset and trouser set and the skirt set - actually evolve their look. At first the co-ord set looks like it is made of an ordinary tie-die light rose and white coloured fabric, but then little flowers start bursting open and the whole fabric turns into a wearable garden. It's hard not to watch it a few times over.

Would I wear these items in real life? Probably not, but then I don't think this is about that. What I like about these items is that they leave commercial concerns behind and really focus on the design. It's colourful and bright and I think the title "Blueming" and its description of being set in a "sensual female wonderland" is very accurate.

The shopping journey

The first thing I realise is that I have no photo of myself showing my full body, which is required for me try on the virtual fashion. A selfie won't be large enough and so I opt for a chair/box/coffee cup contraption that will allow me to take a photo remotely using a self timer.

I start thinking about the clothes that I am already wearing. Will the virtual clothes cover them? Do I need to change into shorts? The only instructions the app gives is to position yourself in front of the camera and use even lighting. Three sample images show users what to do and what to avoid. In the end I opt for shorts but it turns out this wasn't strictly necessary, as the virtual clothing adds skin colour where there should be bare skin.

Taking the photo turned out to be the hardest element of the process. Once it is there - and uploaded - you can try clothes on at will simply by clicking on your design. The app then processes the picture and it is ready for download.

Product selection

The collection is made up of nine looks, which combine floral pinks and denim. I am very impressed by the level of accuracy that the images produce. I am very happy with the selection of clothing and by mixing styles it feels like there is a lot of variation and choice. What would be interesting to see is if in the future they could be just as easily montaged onto a moving body. Whilst I have used the free version of the collection, normal users would have to purchase the finished photograph of them wearing the items.

As Stradivarius continues to add new "drops" of virtual collections, I am excited to see what they'll come up with in the future.

 

User friendliness

The video that Stradivarius shared at the beginning takes the user through every step and explains the process quite well. In the end, if you discount the struggle to find or take a decent picture, it only takes a few clicks to complete your virtual look. The whole process is also incredibly quick and quite realistic.

In Conclusion

The experience was enjoyable and it was surprisingly sophisticated. The fact that the virtual clothing seems to free the creative minds of designers, who are are not bound to physical or commercial incentives, is something to applaud and keep a close eye on.

Will Stradivarius go rich selling £1.50 virtual dresses? Probably not, but engaging with a new technology in this way shows its willingness to experiment with new formats.


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