Bryan Rhoads

Fashion Forward

I’d like to consider myself a “fashion-conscious” kind of guy, “fashion-forward” is probably a stretch (and no… comments are not welcome on that point). I do however appreciate innovation in any form. Last week I had my first opportunity to get a glimpse of how the fashion and retail industries are innovating. Specifically around in-store experiences and shopper assistance, the likes of which were on display at Portland Fashion Week in Portland, Oregon, USA.

Project Runway alums Bryce Black and Michael Costello  hobnobbed with the city’s best dressed while the fashion industry demonstrated flair on a bedrock of modern technology ( Tech bedrock you say? Even the event’s Executive Producer, Tito Chowbury, is an Intel engineer by day, fashionista by night).

 We brought along our “Retail Interactive Fashion Experience” to demonstrate how functional design, technology and the industry are evolving. Our exhibit featured a giant 85-inch multi-touch screen running the latest technology designed around you, the shopper. Think big tablet display as your next department store dressing room mirror, yet one that is actually helpful, useful and interactive.

Our engineers designed an in-store shopping experience that enables shoppers to access thousands of items, combine them into outfits, share them with friends, purchase or even call for assistance… “HELLO?!? Can I get this in black?”

or as I'd like to say... "The mirror"(Dear engineering team: While it’s true that this wasn’t designed to be a “mirror” per se, one can envision dressing room mirrors having similar capabilities in the very near future… should we just call it something more along the lines of, say… a “mirror” instead of the “Intel Retail Interactive Fashion Experience”? Might mirrors be in our future? Just a thought… Now back to the show…)

Through your finger tips you can filter by color, price, style, material, type, size, gender, etc. Once you find something that meets your fancy, you can save items in your “favorites” section and then create your ensemble and outfits over a digital mannequin. Need advice? Does this go with that? Completed outfits can be shared w/ your (close) friends.

“It’s about the experience” says Intel retail marketing expert Cyndi Brigham. “It’s easy to shop, interact, swap this in or swap that out… It extends the runway and the designers into the shopping experience, the store floor or your dressing room.”

The potential uses and convenience are easy to imagine: Show me the latest Fall lineup. Are any of these items in stock? At another store? On the next plane from Milan? Hmm… maybe I should put some of these items on hold or pre-order them from that next shipment?

Can we expect to see these in Macy’s anytime soon? “Maybe” says Intel’s Andrea Wightman, “Consumers should expect their local retailers and department stores to offer something similar in the near future.” Andrea has been leading our charge in this area, showing off the experience at various venues.

A big version of your mom’s  iPad this is not. These larger, full-body experience displays require additional technologies like infra-red cameras in the corners for better accuracy and responsiveness to a shopper’s intent. It’s using a number of different technologies (including just a single 2nd Gen Intel Core i7).

So here’s my ensemble. Not bad right?


Bryan Rhoads

About Bryan Rhoads

Founding member of the Intel Social Media Center of Excellence. Global social media manager for our consumer audiences and brands. I helped pioneer social media techniques that laid the foundations for Intel to leverage Web 2.0. I designed and built this external blog at, establishing the infrastructure, legal, security and publishing guidelines that integrated social media into Intel's marketing mix. I led a 4-year research project with MIT that researched online trust and digital marketing strategies. My Intel and MIT researchers designed innovative approaches to increase user confidence and trust in online media experiences. I'm also the designer of the Intel Download Center and many highly-trafficked sections of Intel's web systems. Lecturer on digital innovation and social media at the Yale Center for Customer Insights, MIT Center for Digital Business, Innotech, SxSW Interactive, the Marketing Sciences Institute, the Experiential Marketing Summit, to name a few. Adjunct faculty at Portland State University, I also sit on the Executive Board of the Internet Strategy Forum, the Center for Consumer Research at St. Joseph's University, the Marketing Advisory Track at Northeastern University and a member of the City Club of Portland.

5 Responses to Fashion Forward

  1. Pingback: Fashion Forward | Todaystyleshow

  2. Meathead says:

    This may look cool and all but you will still not be able to tell if it looks good on you due to the fact people are all different shapes and sizes, so how would this work with differentiability of people.

  3. Bryan Rhoads says:

    I actually think you could program in more subjective recommendations… is something is too tight, or too loose, color clash, etc. The system already has infra-red cameras to assist w/ the touch screen, one can imagine other sentient capabilities w/ sesnors and additional input devices.

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