Meet the Irish woman bringing Cher’s virtual wardrobe from Clueless to life
Published 17/04/2016 | 12:08
Say goodbye to cramped fitting rooms, harsh lighting and horrifying 180 degree mirrors - one Cork woman believes that virtual dressing rooms are the future and has developed her own website to make it a reality.
As virtual reality begins to permeate every aspect of our lives, Ann Marie Corbett, from Mitchelstown, is looking to harness the new technology and change online shopping forever.
While she hasn’t yet gotten round to exploring the first-person POV possibilities of VR headsets, her site, Ann Marie’s Dressing Room - now available on desktop and soon to be launched on Android and iOS - allows users to try on entire outfits from the comfort of their couch.
Her inspiration for the tech-enabled dressing room? Cher Horowitz’s iconic computerised wardrobe in the classic 1995 film Clueless.
“I was watching Clueless one day, about three years ago, and I saw Cher using a virtual dressing room to try on her clothes before she gets dressed,” Ann Marie tells Independent.ie.
“In the world we’re living in at the moment, we’re constantly buying stuff online. When you’re working it’s very hard to get time to go to shops and try everything on, but when you get something on the internet, it’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s with you in three or four days.
“I buy loads of clothes online, but I never knew what the product would look like before I bought it. The good thing with this is you can put your outfit together in four minutes virtually, with shoes, bags, hats, accessories, everything.”
On visiting the site, users can choose their skin tone, hair style and colour, and can upload a picture of their own face or use the model provided.
At the moment, the site is still in its early stages, and the options for skin tone are quite limited, as well as offering just one option for the mannequin’s body, but Ann Marie says they may look into the possibility of allowing users to enter their height, weight and bra sizes in future.
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“I decided to keep it simple for now with just one body shape. But it’s an evolving product, we’re updating it all the time, and we might consider it down the line again,” she says.
Once you’ve got your virtual model, you can choose from more than 90 brands, mixing luxury labels like Victoria Beckham, Alexander Wang, Michael Kors, and Marc Jacobs with high street favourites such as Topshop, New Look, Miss Selfridge and Karen Millen.
“Originally, I had to ring all the brands, but Topshop just contacted us and asked if we would be interested in working with them. We’re very happy now to have people coming to us rather than us going to them,” says Ann Marie.
The 28-year-old worked in her family’s restaurant, Corbett Court, for years before deciding to pursue her love of fashion.
“Fashion was always my passion, but with a family business I was always caught helping them at work.
“I’ve always loved fashion – like Carrie Bradshaw, I like my money where I can see it: hanging in my wardrobe,” she laughs.
Ann Marie now has five people working in the company, and, since starting the site, they’ve received a huge response, having to update it to support 100,000 visitors at one time.
She says the next step is to broach the UK market.
“After that, who knows? We might try America!”