Seeing the Future of Fashion with Apple

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With everything connecting to the internet, the ideas for new advancements in all sectors are endless. Software is eating the world for real and fashion is no exception. I think we could be on the verge of a super upgrade in how we shop for fashion. The idea is that the future of fashion retail could be taken over by tech giants such as Apple or Google or Microsoft or Amazon or even Samsung; it remains to be seen who'll take the first step. And since most of us love Steve Job's Apple, we will make Apple the hero of our story.

Making shopping more therapeutic than ever
Many women and men too think of shopping as a form of therapy—something relaxing and fun to do. However, not finding the right item in the right size can be a bummer. Since the dawn of the fashion industry, fit has been a crease that has never quite been ironed out. Shoppers have learnt to live with sizes that kind of fit but are not perfect. After shelling out your hard-earned cash, you still have to get a tailor make adjustments to better accommodate
your body shape.

“The mirror won't be just another Apple gadget—it will be a radical revolution in the fashion industry.”

The question every shopper asks: Is there a way to get clothes in my size at a more reasonable price? And the question every brand and manufacturer is asking: Is there a way we can get those latest Autumn/Winter pants with fits that look fab on our customers, faster and more cost effectively? It is these questions that a company like Apple could finally answer.

Through the Apple Mirror
Imagine if Apple surprises the world by introducing you to the Apple Mirror. The mirror won't be just another Apple gadget—it will be a radical revolution in the fashion industry. It will dispel that fit issue once and for all, ensuring you get whichever brand you like in the perfect size for you.

Here's how I imagine this mirror (it’s a splendid standing mirror of 6 ft. by 3 ft., with a step) will work. First off, the camera-less mirror will scan your precise measurements and size, creating your unique body profile and your own alive virtual shadow in 3D (with sophisticated AI this is possible) that resides inside the device. This "virtual avatar" is a major highlight, given that it can try on clothing on your behalf even if you are not standing in front of the mirror. Thus, dealing with the biggest problem people face—finding something that fits. People's bodies are unique and world needs products that accommodate this fact.

Second, is that the mirror will have its own healthcare features. It can give you updates on your height, weight, body fat percentage and scan other vitals. With the healthcare sector expect to see investment of close to $117 billion by 2020 it would be worth exploring the potential for this.

Back to fashion, the possibilities are endless. You will be able to easily browse the latest season's designs, and join in on the conversation right there. You can watch the latest fashion shows in NY, London, Milan or Paris happening live, no problem. If you want to deal with a specific brand, you can "pin" it on the mirror. This will allow you to gain real-time virtual access to their fashion shows and try on those new creations there and then. If you find a design that looks irresistibly good on you, you can pre-order it on the spot, reducing the chances of it going out of stock before you own it. This is the "see now, buy now" model at its best.

“You will be able to browse, try, purchase and leave a review all while adoring yourself in front of the mirror— goodbye uncomfortable changing stalls!”

That is not all, you can order the fabric you want, in the colour you love and the style that looks fab on you, from the brand you support at the price that suits you. That would be the end of one of the longest battles with the fashion retail sector women have fought for years. And the added beauty to it all you will be able to browse, try, purchase and leave a review all while adoring yourself in front of the mirror—goodbye uncomfortable changing stalls!

Frankly the thought of waking up in the morning and looking at my Apple Mirror makes me excited. The mirror will obviously have the most refinedversion of Siri to greet you in the morning, and that too in your own language. Then off to advising you on your best choice of outfit for the day.

Massive Benefit to the industry
Like other industries, fashion is sniffing around for ways to tap into emerging markets. Industry observers have noted that the Chinese consumer is becoming pickier, favouring classy premium designs over mass-produced garments. India has lately been attracting the attention of major brands, with many of them adding some Indian flair to their new creations. The Apple Mirror will help the fashion industry better address the needs of emerging markets, and much more cost effectively. How? By creating a global standard of a body profile based on the millions of scans it will receive from all corners of the globe. This way, even body types that don't fall within the typical Western mould will be catered for by brands and fashion houses.

The question that industry have been asking themselves time and again; how can it cater to the demands of a more exposed, self-aware and tech-savvy consumer faster and more costeffectively? Can the demand for more personalised, more affordable garments go hand in hand with higher profit margins for fashion industry players? Does such a win-win exist?

I think the Apple Mirror could be the answer to this. The mirror's impact won't be limited to the consumer—it will be a boon for producers as well. Since they will be creating clothing items based on universal body profiles, manufacturers stand to curb their wastage immensely. Getting merchandise to the end user will also cost much less. In a future defined by the Apple Mirror, brand manufacturers will be creating clothes to fit on demand, based on real-time orders. Instead of making clothes and hoping folks will like them and buy them, they will be making clothes that have already been, in effect, bought.

* Disclaimer: The article is fictional in nature and I am not associated with Apple at the time of writing and publishing of this article. The intent behind writing this article is to think out loud and kick-start radical innovation in the space.

(About the author: This article is authored by Bhuvan Thaker, marketing and business advisory partner to businesses and technology entrepreneurs in brand, strategy, innovation and visioning.)
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