The Growing Trend of “Fast Fashion” and Augmented Reality

The culture of consumption has changed among the fashion retailing market, consumers now want to fulfill their desire for products instantly. ‘Fast Fashion’ consumers have been influenced by the “see now, buy now” phenomenon fuelled by social and digital media, moving away from the traditional production chain and in-store shopping experience. Tapping into this previously unmet consumer need ‘Fast Fashion’ brands are disrupting the market and engaging their audience through digital mediums such as Augmented Reality (AR). Here are some brands that got creative with the new trend.


AR is all about mixing digital objects with the real world and that’s exactly what Nike did to create hype around it’s sneaker release in collaboration with MomoFuku chef David Chang. Nike made pairs available through their SNKRS app and the only way sneakerheads could buy them was using the new AR feature.  Nike dropped the shoe as a special on Chang’s menu and when users opened the SNKRS camera and pointed it at the menu it unlocked a 3D model of the shoe. Hypebeasts then had to act fast to purchase the sneakers which sold out in just 20 minutes! Larger versions and variations of the menu were also scattered around other locations for fans who couldn’t make it to the restaurants in person.


In an attempt to engage their millennial audience high street fashion retailer, Zara has introduced augmented reality displays into their stores. When a consumers mobile phone is held up to a sensor in-store or designated shop window the AR feature shows models posing, moving and even talking, offering up an oddly realistic experience. Through a single click, the shoppers can then instantly buy the selective looks straight from their phone. The app also features a tool for sharing the experience on social media, encouraging customers to take and submit photos and videos of the holograms.


Perhaps one of the most creative examples of augmented reality in retail was Airwalk’s “invisible” pop-up shop. Pairing geolocation targeting together with AR, Airwalk created a virtual pop-up shop in the middle of two public parks to promote the limited-edition relaunch of the Airwalk Jim. Fans were encouraged to download the app, which revealed the mystery location of the pop-up store. Once they arrived at the location, consumers then used their camera to unveil large life size versions of the shoes which they could then shop via the app AR feature. Attracting crowds from passers by, the brand offered a unique and fun shopping experience  for its customers.


Gap’s AR app is a huge time-saving option for those too busy to go physically shopping in store. Using the fitting room feature, users  add information such as height and weight, the app then matches a virtual 3D model to the body dimensions which becomes reflected in a mannequin on the smartphone screen and appears in the room on front of them. Consumers can browse the Gap catalogue, adding and changing different outfits. If users like the way a garment looks on them, or at least looks on the mannequin based on their measurements, they can purchase it directly from the app.


It’s not just fashion brands tapping into this trend, cosmetic companies are also keen to get in on the action.  Earlier this year L’Oréal acquired ModiFace, one of the leading providers of augmented reality technology to the cosmetics industry. However, beauty giant Sephora are already leading in this game with their Virtual Artist app. Using facial recognition the app scans the user’s face to identify eyes, lips, and cheeks for product placement allowing them to try on the perfect shades and products — all from the palm of their hand. It comes with an instant ‘click to buy’ function which is built into the user experience. Customers can then proceed to purchase their favourite items that they added to their basket.