Last updated: 13 March 2023
Published on: 12 May 2016
4 MINS READ
Metail's MeModel creates an avatar for every shopper, with personalised body measurements and proportions, to try on clothes virtually.
Computer visualisation and virtual avatars met haute couture fashion when Metail made its runway debut on Tangs.com on 6 May.
Metail’s technology, which allows shoppers to try clothes online, was unveiled at a launch party to mark the continued partnership between Singapore’s oldest family-owned specialty store and Singapore Fashion Week.
Speaking at the start of a runway show presented by graduating students from Lasalle College of the Arts, Mr Kevin Dyson, Chief Executive Officer of Tangs, said by allowing customers to create avatars of themselves and to view how the clothes will look on them, Metail bridges the gap between online and offline shopping and helps to enhance the overall experience.
Supported by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), Metail launched with six female apparel brands including Singaporean label In Good Company and apparel from the Post-Fashion Lasalle x Tangs Pop Up Store which features selected pieces from the runway collections that were showcased at the launch party.
Dr Janil Puthucheary, Minister of State for the Ministry of Communications and Information and Ministry of Education, said the collaboration was a good example of what can be achieved through partnership between educational institutes like Lasalle, private enterprises such as Tangs and community events such as Singapore Fashion Week.
“And in the middle of it you have digital disruption which allows for a different type of retail experience, a new way of doing business and new opportunities.”
With Metail, online shoppers can look for the “Try” icon displayed alongside selected female apparel on Tangs.com.
Clicking this icon activates a pop-up box in the bottom right corner of their web browser, where they need only enter their height, weight and bra size to generate a 3D model of themselves called a MeModel, an avatar with their own unique body measurements and proportions.
For further accuracy, their waist and hip measurements are also incorporated into their MeModel.
Shoppers can then view their clothing selections on their MeModel in their recommended size, from a 360-degree angle.
They also have the option of selecting a MeModel that most closely resembles themselves in terms of ethnicity, skin tone and hair colour, and can even choose to view their MeModel with their hair up or down.
The technology behind Metail was developed and commercialised based on research into computer vision from Cambridge University.
Compared with other technologies such as augmented reality (AR), computer vision provides a more cost effective and scalable option, said Mr Kelvin Au, Managing Director of Metail Asia.
He estimated that it could cost about US$200 to create a 3D model using AR, but less than US$10 to do it using computer vision technology. This allows Metail to launch with larger retailers where the number of items could go up to the thousands.
Apart from an increase in net sales for retailers and the fact that “customers love it and find it fun”, the technology also benefits and transforms the larger retail ecosystem as a whole, said Mr Au.
For example, the data that Metail collects can be fed back to the retailers to help them make better decisions.
Manufacturing and supply chain planning can be improved with more accurate projections of the quantity of clothes to be produced based on consumer profiles. Better insights into online purchasing behaviours will also lead to less wastage due to unsold odd-sized garments, and enhance the re-manufacturing and re-distribution of popular sizes.
For designers, the data is useful in helping them understand the body sizes and shapes of shoppers so that they can create new fashion garments that match their target consumers.
“We can slice and dice the data by retailer, by brand, by geography and offer the insights as a value-add,” said Mr Au.