Shopping is stressful. While there’s a lot to be said for about finding what you like in a store and returning home with it, there are a number of associated sources of stress from traveling to and from stores, negotiating your way through crowds as you traverse shopping malls, searching out the sales, to standing in long lines as you wait to make your purchases.
In a world of pocket-sized computers, why do we still put up with a process with so many negative aspects? Stylematch is an app that aims to remove many of these stressors while maintaining the interactive experience needed when shopping for clothing that is so often left out of online purchasing.
Stylematch combines shopping from over 5,000 brands from around the world with the ability to ‘try on’ clothing virtually in its augmented reality changing room. It’s a great idea — bring together and aggregate clothing, for men and women, from brands and online stores all over the world and allow shoppers to see how it looks on them before buying.
Does it work that well? Kind of.
The app’s selection of clothing is fantastic. It really does have thousands of items to choose from. There are products from fast fashion brands like ASOS and Forever21 all the way up to premium, high-fashion labels. The sales offered within the app are also well curated with some incredible bargains to be had — this certainly saves you from hunting down discounts yourself. When you want to buy something, Stylematch redirects you to that item's page at the respective online store. You can save items you find for purchasing later, too, by favoriting individual products or by combining items into full outfits.
The personalization doesn’t stop there. With the augmented reality of Stylematch, you can take it up a level. Snap pictures of your favorite closet items and you can mix and match your own clothing with those for sale through Stylematch meaning you can get an idea of how an item would go with your current selection of clothing.
Further, you can overlay products onto your camera’s viewfinder and take a picture of yourself ‘wearing’ the item of clothing before you buy. This is an incredible idea and when it works, it can be really helpful in seeing if something suits you personally.
The app is not as enjoyable to use as it should be. It’s buggy, crashes a lot, has too many menus to navigate through and lacks clear instruction on how to use its augmented reality and outfit-building features — the app’s main selling points. It’s also in need of a redesign and feels a lot like a web app rather than a truly native application. Further, prices are displayed in Australian dollars by default and there was no clear way to change this. Prices did (correctly, for me in the UK) show British £ symbols but not converted amounts — perhaps this was as close to regionalization as it gets.
I also experienced some difficulty in setting up a Stylematch account through the app (I didn’t want to link my Facebook profile) and I eventually had to go to the Stylematch site to achieve this and then sign in with it via the app. Not ideal.
The Good: The idea of Stylematch is a great one — combining online shopping with augmented reality is undoubtedly the future. It brilliantly brings together products from fashion brands all over the world for all price ranges, with some great discounts.
The Bad: The execution of Stylematch’s idea is what lets it down. The app is buggy, is not user friendly enough and feels difficult and dated to use.
The Verdict: In essence, Stylematch feels like a modern idea wrapped a UI from the past. While Stylematch could become the go-to destination for online fashion shoppers the world over with its vast selection of products and brands, its user interface will become a barrier to entry for many.
You can check out Stylematch for yourself — download it for free for iPhone on the App Store.