Feb 20, 2014

The Golf Fashion Fitting Room of the Future, Coming to a Device Near You

Fitting Room of the Future                          ©PhiSix Fashion Labs
There was a time... not so long ago... when shopping for golf apparel was a no-brainer.

In the waning decades of the 20th century, golf fashion was focused on utilitarian styles that put a premium on roominess; boxy polos and baggy shorts ruled the fairways, for both men and women, and tops came in a few basic primary colors.  Sometimes, a limited palette of Easter egg pastels was added for the softer sex, but shapeless khaki covered the vast majority of bottoms. And that was about it.

Back then, most golf apparel was purchased at the country club pro shop or selected from a limited department store line, and once you knew your basic size there'd hardy be a need to enter a fitting room or even glance in a mirror, because, let's face it, you pretty much knew how you'd look in your ultra-ample golf outfit; the matronly, mid-century silhouette was ubiquitous and the limited number of designs left little room for creativity or personal style.  You could always add a bucket hat if you wanted to get real crazy.

Over the past decade however, the golf apparel landscape has evolved quite amazingly. Empowered by the advent and acceptance of online shopping, independent golf apparel manufacturers emerged, focused on a younger more stylish player and willing to push the sartorial envelope beyond the strict edicts of country club dress codes. Major sportswear firms followed suit and introduced high tech fabrics with moisture wicking UV protection and more stretch than a swimsuit. Women's golf apparel no longer looks like a shrink it and pink it version of what men are wearing but stands on its own, often inspired by the latest runway trends. Not surprisingly, just about everything... for both men and women... is worn a lot closer to the body than it was in the baggy/boxy days.




Imagine a virtual golf fashion fitting room. Yes please.
This plethora of choice is probably a welcome trend for just about everyone who sets foot on a fairway or green but this brave new world of golf fashion comes with a couple of challenges:  While many pro shops and big box golf retailers carry a solid selection of the major golf and sportswear lines they'll always be limited by the constraints of square footage and shelf space allocation, thus many of the most fashion forward and sought after golf styles must be purchased online.  While online shops exist on most golf apparel sites, and a number of specialized online-only golf shops offer vast well-curated collections from a myriad of manufacturers, the sheer variety... in style, size, color and cut... makes it difficult for consumers to envision themselves in outfits they may love on a model or a static computer screen. Yes, return policies are often excellent but the uncertainty is still a barrier for many.

That's where the fitting room of the future comes in... and the recent aquisition of computer graphics company @PhiSix Fashion Labs by online marketplace eBay may well be a solid step towards that end... and towards a much improved golf apparel shopping experience.  Imagine firing up your computer surfing onto your favorite golf apparel shopping site and watching a virtual you try on golf outfits... and maybe even swing a golf club or sink a putt. Meanwhile the real you could still be in pajamas.

That's clearly the kind of thinking that led to this acquisition, with the goal of an improved online shopping experience and increased sales for eBay.  If it works, there's every reason to think that similar technology solutions will be adopted by all kinds of online retailers in the not too distant future and that before long your golf fashion fitting room my be right in your living room... or in your office... or even right in your pocket.

1 comment:

  1. The challenge will be to get companies to create "virtual models" with physiques that resemble those of the average guy/gal. It's hard to imagine that they'll be motivated to do so but for those of us who look more like one of the Stadlers than Adam Scott that's what its got to be. :/

    ReplyDelete

Lets us know what you think...