FASHION

Head start — Stiksen launches virtual fitting rooms with AR filters

The Swedish cap brand uses an Instagram-integrated AR filter to help customers try out several colours and fits before proceeding to checkout.
By ERIK SEDIN
May 02, 2022

It goes without saying that the online shopping experience is highly unsustainable. When various e-commerce platforms offer free shipping, consumers will order several pieces in various colours, sizes, and models just to try them on and then send everything except for the right fitting one back.

The Atlantic calls it ”reverse logistics”, and explains that much of the returned items just end up in a landfill or an incinerator. In 2021, around 50 to 80 per cent of clothes bought online are returned, according to research firm Bernstein.

To help push back on this worrying trend, Swedish cap brand Stiksen has launched an AR fitting room on Instagram, so that customers can try out colours and models before purchasing.

— Our AR caps are not a separate collection, but instead a representation of our physical assortment. The caps that you see in our AR filters are the ones you find on our website or with retailers as well. We are basically adding to our digital presence by offering customers a virtual showroom, allowing them to try our caps out in AR before buying them, explains co-founder and CEO Asim Khandker.

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Why did you decide to create an AR collection?

— Augmented Reality has always fascinated me, especially when merged with fashion, but it is still not used to its full potential. Online fashion is a very crowded space where navigation and understanding what you’re buying can be difficult for customers. We want to be an early adopter of AR in the fashion industry to best help our followers see and understand what kind of products we offer.

Why did you go for Instagram?

— Instagram is simply the platform where we currently have our strongest foothold. We have a great relationship with our followers and wanted to create even more engagement by adding value to their feeds. Of course, we might implement similar filters on other platforms like Snapchat, which also has a great AR tool.

Do you think AR filters work better with caps, rather than other pieces of clothing?

— In some ways, yes. People are quite familiar with using the front camera on their phones and taking selfies. Since the cap goes on the head, it is rather accessible and easy to “wear” digitally. In an instant, you can try our caps out in different styles and face either front- or backwards, without actually going anywhere or putting a lot of effort into it.

CEO Asim Khandker and creative director Alexander Källåker.

Have you looked at the environmental impact this could have?

— Clothing and fashion are a necessity in our society, but unfortunately, every step in the manufacturing process has some footprint on the environment. As of today, the industry accounts for approximately 10% of global carbon emissions. One way to contribute to reversing the trend is to produce garments with recycled and/or organic fabrics of high quality that last longer. Another way is to affect the logistics. 

— AR filters will not improve the quality or durability of our caps, but they can certainly have a positive effect on the logistics side. The customer can now browse our colours and styles and try them on before making a purchase. That way, they can better pick out and buy the specific cap they want, instead of ordering three different colours, trying them at home, keeping one and returning the other two. In other words, AR filters can and hopefully will lower the return rate. Also, there is now finally an easy way to find the answer to the question: “Can I pull a yellow dad cap off?”

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