Look Here

The fash­ion cam­era ar­rives for ev­ery­one, with a few new tricks.

WWD Digital Daily - - Front Page - BY ADRI­ANA LEE

Ama­zon of­fi­cially un­veils its Echo Look fash­ion cam­era.

Af­ter roughly a year of in­vite- only avail­abil­ity, Ama­zon's Echo Look fi­nally strut out onto the con­sumer mar­ket.

The web gi­ant, which has been try­ing to build its fash­ion busi­ness in new ways, re­leased the $200 fash­ion selfie cam­era to the pub­lic Wed­nes­day.

As an Alexa-pow­ered de­vice, Look does what all the other Echo speaker prod­ucts do — con­duct searches, de­liver weather and traf­fic reports, con­trol smart homes, play mu­sic and more, all through voice com­mands.

But the Look's pri­mary mis­sion is to give users style guid­ance.

The hands-free cam­era ef­fec­tively brings Ama­zon-branded ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence into the bed­room. Thanks to com­puter vi­sion, Look's Style Check fea­ture can tell fash­ion­istas which out­fits look best on them, or let the Ama­zon Spark com­mu­nity vote be­tween two looks. The de­vice can also ad­vise users based on weather, ge­o­graphic lo­ca­tion, oc­ca­sion, trends and styles they al­ready have in their clos­ets.

“We're con­stantly lis­ten­ing to cus­tomers and think­ing about what new fea­tures can we bring to make Echo Look more use­ful for them and more com­pelling,” Linda Ranz, Ama­zon's di­rec­tor of Echo prod­uct man­age­ment, told WWD.

Look can serve mul­ti­ple peo­ple at once, so one's pen­chant for preppy looks won't in­ter­fere with their room­mate's goth state­ments. Peo­ple reg­is­tered un­der House­hold Pro­files can switch be­tween the ac­counts by talk­ing to the cam­era or en­abling Alexa's Speaker ID to au­to­mat­i­cally rec­og­nize and dis­tin­guish voices.

The Look's not-so-secret sauce is data, and it has plenty to mine. Ama­zon em­ploys le­gions of style ex­perts, data sci­en­tists and ma­chine learn­ing spe­cial­ists, who can avail them­selves of in­sights and re­sources from the e-com­merce com­pany's vast mar­ket­place, as well as ad­vice from pub­lisher Condé Nast, which put Vogue and GQ's fash­ion con­tent on the Look app's home screen in Fe­bru­ary. Blend­ing hu­man and ma­chine has be­come the “It” thing for fash­ion-tech pur­vey­ors from Stitch Fix to Posh­mark, but the in­dus­try will be pay­ing spe­cial at­ten­tion to the see how the Look per­forms given Ama­zon's in­flu­ence.

Ama­zon's ap­proach with Look offers a chance to un­der­stand shop­ping be­hav­ior within the con­text of a user's wardrobe.

To get their ex­ist­ing styles into the mix, Look users can snap pho­tos of their clothes and the tech can sort them into “col­lec­tions” by sea­sons, color or other cat­e­gories. On trips, users can use the app to log their looks, so they don't for­get what they wore or where they wore it.

“One of the things that I find, with hav­ing used Echo Look now for years, is that you start to re­al­ize that you're wear­ing the same thing all the time,” Ranz said.

Had the launch come at any other time, the fash­ion gad­get's path to adoption would likely be eas­ier. Ask­ing peo­ple to put cam­eras in their bed­rooms or chang­ing rooms can be a dicey propo­si­tion to be­gin with. But it's en­ter­ing the mar­ket amid high con­cerns about data pri­vacy. The pri­or­ity du jour for brands and re­tail­ers is to make the sce­nario more trans­ac­tional: Of­fer such ben­e­fit and value that peo­ple will will­ingly of­fer up their data in ex­change.

For Ama­zon, that means con­ve­nience, which is a con­sis­tent thread through­out its prod­ucts and ser­vices. Mak­ing the case for Look may be a bit tricky — chang­ing clothes and snap­ping pics may be a no-brainer for the fash­ion­istas and in­flu­encers it catered to at first, but for many peo­ple, it could be a chore. Once done, how­ever, the tech­nol­ogy makes it easy for users to keep track of what they have and get rec­om­men­da­tions for new com­bi­na­tions or items that go with that blue shirt or those gray slacks.

“For ex­am­ple, I wore this out­fit to­day. And be­cause I signed up for pair­ings, I get rec­om­men­da­tions through­out the day of tops that I wear with th­ese pants, and vice versa,” Ranz ex­plained. “It's about us­ing some­thing you have in a dif­fer­ent way.”

It's also about selling clothes, which is some­thing Ama­zon is nat­u­rally in­ter­ested in with its pri­vate la­bels and brand part­ner­ships.

Ac­cord­ing to Ranz, the com­pany didn't push that in ear­lier ver­sions of the Look app, which buried prod­uct sugges­tions in the in­ter­face. But users kept ask­ing for rec­om­men­da­tions, so now it's a spot­light fea­ture, one that can even bring a few sur­prises.

“Ama­zon con­tin­ues to add new brands, and you don't nec­es­sar­ily know what all is there now. Even I found brands that are in Ama­zon's cat­a­logue that I would have as­sumed we didn't have,” she said. “So some­times I'll dis­cover, like, ‘Whoa, I didn't know we carry AG Jeans!' And so it's been fun for me to ex­plore ways into the cloth­ing that I might not have found just from a search.”

Look and its dis­cov­ery pow­ers ap­pear to be mov­ing into a piv­otal role for Ama­zon's fash­ion fix­a­tion, which has been ramp­ing up over the past year with Prime Wardrobe and deep­en­ing re­search into vir­tual fit­ting. In ad­di­tion to serv­ing up Vogue and GQ con­tent, the com­pany part­nered with Pra­bal Gu­rung at New

York Fash­ion Week in Fe­bru­ary. The cam­era cap­tured the back­stage ac­tion and cre­ated a look book based on the de­signer's fall col­lec­tion. Ama­zon also worked with de­signer and stylist Rachel Zoe. In one episode of “Real Life With Rachel Zoe,” she used the Alexa gad­get along­side in­flu­encers Sheryl Luke, Natalie Lim Suarez and Brit­tany Xavier.

“Alexa is my new styling as­sis­tant. I wish I had Echo Look early on in my ca­reer as a stylist,” said Zoe. “For any­one who needs a lit­tle help de­cid­ing what to wear, Style Check is a to­tal game-changer.”

Now the com­pany is banking that

Look's new fea­tures and wider avail­abil­ity won't just change the fash­ion game, but ul­ti­mately help the gi­ant win it.

Echo Look, avail­able start­ing Wed­nes­day from Ama­zon for $200, now offers pair­ing sugges­tions.

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