Fashion brands are staying creative in the wake of the pandemic with many switching to virtual reality solutions.
Virtual Reality Showrooms
The advent of virtual reality showrooms has been a game-changer for the fashion industry. With premium technology, VR companies are able to customise virtual showrooms that are an exact replica of a brand’s physical space. The technology allows buyers to browse the showroom in a 360-degree way and even view individual garments up close. Buyers have access to fabric texture, price information and catwalk footage.
Coronavirus and Fashion
The coronavirus pandemic has led to many changes in the fashion industry. The last few months saw shop closures, increased demand for loungewear, mask fashion and soaring online sales. With regard to high fashion, virtual reality became the obvious solution for replacing showrooms. BrandLab, a virtual reality showroom developer, benefited from this trend. Dan O’Connell, the company’s co-founder, stated “when COVID hit, all of a sudden we were the number one solution. For brands, the ability to maintain customer relationships in a world where they could not meet face-to-face was very important. We are the only business to offer this type of immersive and interactive showroom appointment.”
Increased Demand for Virtual Reality
BrandLab, a Welsh company, experienced a 500% growth in the wake of the coronavirus with a 2000% increase in new customer enquiries. Virtual reality showroom technology is already being used by many big brands including Barbour and BIBA.
Whilst this is not a replacement for physical showrooms, it can increase the industry’s productivity. O’Connell said that “buyers are often restricted to viewing 10 or so collections, back-to-back, over the course of two days at trade shows. Through a virtual showroom, they could now see up to 200 in this time and then visit the ones they have particular interest in. It will also allow the industry to become more inclusive. Buyers can engage with a wider range of designers they might never have had the time for before.”
The Future of Virtual Reality
However, it is not just the fashion world adopting this technology. Many industries are benefiting from this new trend. The future looks to be full of virtual reality solutions for everything from galleries to car showrooms to shopping centres.
This may also act as a sustainable solution. Typically, fashion buyers can take up to 80 flights a year visiting showrooms so virtual reality will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the fashion industry.