When Charles Nouboue was in business school, he found he had little time to shop during regular store hours. But shopping online proved to be hard.
“It’s difficult to find exactly what you want to buy,” Nouboue said. “It’s very complicated to find the right size.”
That’s why he and his partner, Gaetan Rougevin-Baville, recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund Fitle, a virtual fitting room that allows you to try clothes on a customized 3D avatar of yourself. The pair’s goal is to raise $50,000 by this Saturday, and as of Monday, they had already passed the $40,000 mark.
To use Fitle, you enter your height and take four iPhone pictures of yourself at different angles. In 30 seconds, Fitle creates a customized 3D avatar that its founders say is accurate 99 percent of the time.
Nouboue and Rougevin-Baville are currently developing technology that will allow them to render the merchandise from partner brands in 3D based on dimensions and size. Most of their initial partners are in France, where the company is based, but they include brands like Levi’s, Ralph Lauren jeans and H&M. The Kickstarter funding will allow Fitle to industrialize this process.
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As its name implies, Fitle is about both fit and style. The website will also help you find styles based on past preferences and your size.
“Right now, the world of online shopping looks like the Internet without Google,” Nouboue said. “That’s where Fitle comes in.”
Fitle also will let you save clothes in your “virtual closet” and then try them on your avatar when looking for a new piece. Basically if you buy a shirt from H&M, you can try it on with a pair of Levi’s next month.
But Fitle isn’t the first company that has allowed you to create a 3D avatar to try on clothes. In the past, making a customized avatar has not been as accurate or fast, requiring users to measure themselves and enter in the dimensions. Other options like Bodymetrics, which TechCrunch covered two years ago, required shoppers to go to the store and get their body scanned. With Fitle, you can do all of that directly from your iPhone.
In today’s world of one-day shipping and free returns, does a virtual fitting room even make a difference for shoppers? The big advantage of Fitle is saving on shipping costs for both shoppers and retailers.
Fitle also could be a major timesaver for shoppers. Imagine how much easier shopping could be if you could try on an outfit with a click rather than waiting in line for a fitting room or if you never had to make a trip to the store to return something because it didn’t fit.
I’m cautiously excited about Fitle. As a college student in the suburbs of Chicago without a car, it’s often difficult for me to find time to take a bus to the mall while juggling school, work and extra-curriculars. Online shopping should be a given for me. But even though I’ve ordered everything from mouthwash to granola bars from online retailers with free shipping deals like Target and Amazon Prime, I’m more hesitant when it comes to clothes. I’m tall, have wide hips and find I’m never quite the same size in different styles, even at the same store. With my limited budget for shopping, I tend to wait until I can make it to the store and try things on. If Fitle’s avatar is as accurate as its founders say, it really could change the way I shop.
Right now the company is able to digitize human avatars, and it is working on finalizing the process for clothes. Nouboue and Rougevin-Baville expect shoppers will be able to use Fitle by February 2015.