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"Virtual Mirror" Could Change The Way You Try On Store Clothes

“Does this dress make me look fat?”

Women often ask the question men dread hearing the most.

And now there’s a chance they’ll be able to query their significant other even if they’re not on the shopping trip with them.

A New York design firm has created an upgrade for the one thing you’d never expect needed it – the humble store mirror.

Digital design company IconNicholson has come up with a looking glass equipped with infrared technology that allows the image reflected in a mirror to be wirelessly transmitted to any cell phone, email account or PDA.

The recipient is then directed to a private “virtual dressing room” site, where they can view the image.

It means a shopper could be trying something on in a dressing room and decide to get a second opinion from a friend or lover half a city or a half a world away.

“She could be in Paris, your mom, watching you try on your wedding dress (while you are in New York),” explains technology officer Christopher Enright.

The recipient can then send back a text message with their response to the gown.

And if that isn’t enough, the three paneled virtual mirror also promises to let shoppers try on an outfit without ever removing a single article of clothing.

Specially built-in left hand side controls let them choose from a variety of items in a store and “see” what the apparel would look like on them – including matching shoes.  

Other gizmos on the right hand side make it possible for consumers to access information about the product itself – including sizes, colours and price.

Enright analyzed the way people were already using technology when inspiration struck. He notes teens frequently take pictures of themselves in new clothes and email them to friends for comment. This just cuts out the middle man.

“This is … adding technology to something we already do,” he maintains.

The firm is aiming the innovation straight at the tech-savvy 17-24 year-old market. “[Young people] are IMing and phone messaging each other all the time,” claims the company’s Joseph Olewitz. “They shop in groups. This will appeal to them.”

So when will you start seeing this in your local clothing store? Not yet. The first test mirror was unveiled at a trade show this week and there are rumours that a major chain in the U.S. is close to buying them.

So far there’s no word on how much they’ll cost or whether the technology will soon be “reflected” in Canadian outlets.

Photo Credit:   Torsten Silz, AFP

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