Every week, The Interline rounds up the most vital talking points from across the landscape of fashion technology news. This roundup is also delivered to Interline Insiders by email.
As we approach the 2020 holidays, the final few of these roundups will be shorter than usual, capturing a blend of our own content from the week and a reduced number of select news items from elsewhere. Detailed roundups will resume in 2021.
Amazon’s ambition to dominate fashion crystallises even further.
It’s fitting that one of the first articles The Interline published shone a cautionary spotlight on Amazon’s ambition to rule both physical and online retail. Of course, that feature was written at a time pre-COVID, when physical retail stores were still open, and the sheer scale of the transition to eCommerce was totally unexpected.
Earlier this year we also covered the upcoming launch of Amazon’s “Halo” fitness service, which, frankly, looked like a way for the company to road-test the body measuring technology it had acquired as a precursor to launching its own range of custom-fit apparel, at the same time as testing the waters in the health and wellbeing space. And while nobody likes to say “I told you so,” this week’s announcement that Amazon’s new Made For You service had launched in the US, offering precisely that, did not come as much of a surprise.
At the moment, there’s no direct, published link between Halo and Made For You, but realistically the two are all but guaranteed to rely on the same body-scanning technology. Interestingly, though, that technology does not seem to be anywhere near as advanced as alternatives offered by companies like 3DLOOK – a collaborator of ours from earlier in the year. For the time being at least, Made For You supplements the process of translating two photos – front and profile – into a 3D model by asking the user to also input measurements of their own. And to back that up, early impressions of Halo’s success at measuring body fat have been less than stellar.
Just as we suggested back in August, technology writers are latching on to the grey areas that exist around Amazon’s use of the body data it collects, and it seems all but certain that Amazon will ringfence this technology for its own private label use before offering it as a service to third parties that sell through its marketplace.
Amazon is a big tech company, of course, so it adopts the “move fast and break things” philosophy, and in that headlong rush for innovation, a lot of things get trialled and subsequently discarded. This, though, does not feel like one of those things, and as we wrote back in August, body data could be about to become fashion’s next big battleground. But luckily for brands and retailers competing against Amazon, this is one area that the American giant could be coming late to the party, and with a potentially worse homegrown solution than the alternatives available on the open market.
Just don’t expect it to stay static. If 2020 has demonstrated anything, it’s that Amazon is not going to rest on its laurels.
Happy holidays from all at The Interline.
When The Interline launched, in March of this year, we had high hopes. Then, like a lot of people, those hopes were almost immediately dialled back as the pandemic hit the Western hemisphere. But as the year wore on, it became clearer and clearer that not only was The Interline going to meet our targets for 2020 – it was going to surpass them by a wide margin. And the people who made that happen are the ones who subscribe to this mailing list, the ones who engage with our content through our website and across social media, and the ones whose comments and encouragement have kept us going in a year that has had more than its share of dark moments for everyone.
So on the one hand, we hope we never see a year like 2020 again in our lifetimes. But on the other, the last ten months have been better than anyone here even dared to anticipate when we sat down together to launch something new.
The Interline writes these roundups – and a lot of our content – as a collective, but there are real people behind the keyboard. And those people are grateful for everyone who joined us and stayed with us this year. Your continued engagement means a lot, and we have much, much more planned for you (and for the continued growth of The Interline) in 2021.
Whatever you celebrate, and wherever you celebrate it, we wish you all the best for the holidays.
And the best from The Interline this week.
This week, our editorial focus on eCommerce included the following:
- The first collaboration between The Interline and SO REAL, which looks at how fashion can extend its digitisation ambitions so that they run backwards – into archival styles and tribal knowledge – as well as forwards.
This is the final week that The Interline will be posting new content in 2020, and also the final news roundup of this year. We will return in early January 2021 with a brand-new editorial calendar that will cover 12 major fashion technology topics, as well as our ongoing series of interviews, new workshops, and much more.