The AR designs are accessible through Carlings's Instagram page and triggered by the shirt's logo. They can be updated constantly.
After buying a Carlings T-shirt, customers can use an AR filter by pointing an Instagram camera at the brand logo.
- Carlings’s new collection utilises Instagram technology that uses an image, rather than a face, as a trigger for AR filters.
- The technology allows customers to wear new designs even when using the same physical piece of apparel.
- This is the first time that an Instagram filter has been used to modify clothing.
SAN FRANCISCO— Scandinavian retailer Carlings is utilising an Instagram update to bring digital clothing to the platform.
Carlings, which created a sold-out digital clothing collection last year, has now released the €40 “Last Statement” T-shirt that comes with a logo triggering various designs that appear on Instagram through augmented reality filters.
When a customer points their Instagram camera at the T-shirt, a design appears; it shifts and moves along with the camera and the person. This allows the customer to digitally wear and share new designs without buying a new T-shirt, says Morten Grubak, Northern Europe executive creative director for Virtue, an agency that led the project.
The Last Statement T-shirt takes advantage of a new “Targeting Tracking” capability on Instagram, which allows AR effects to be triggered by specific images in the real world. While Facebook has had the capability since April 2018, and Instagram has previously tested it with Starbucks, Adidas and Refinery29 Rooms, this is the first time Instagram’s AR filters have been applied to clothing.
Aside from these tests, AR effects on Instagram have been limited to detecting facial features and mapping filters to a face. This new capability allows marketers to extend AR features to the body and clothes. At a time when Facebook and Instagram have been expanding AR commerce capabilities for beauty and eyewear, this feature introduces more potential shopping and self-expression experiences, according to an Instagram spokesperson. (Facebook doesn’t yet support AR clothing try-on in its checkout experience.)
For Carlings’s first digital collection, customers had to submit images that were then “fitted” in digital clothes before they could be shared. “That was cool, but if we get into social media, it will be accessible for more people,” Grubak says.
“While this is new to Instagram, marker-based AR effects have been around for some time,” says Matthew Drinkwater, head of the Fashion Innovation Agency at London College of Fashion. “It is yet another indication, though, of the potential of augmented reality to lead us to a new type of garment — one that is enhanced by computer graphics. We are entering an era where a ‘wardrobe update‘ takes on an entirely new meaning.”
Innovation in digital clothing has been driven by both gaming and efforts to merge fast fashion and social media with less waste. The T-shirt from Carlings is designed with activist-minded statements, such as “I’m sure dinosaurs thought they had time too” and “Stop denying our planet is dying.” Grubak says that this allows brands and consumers to respond immediately to current events. Carlings donates €10 for every T-shirt sold to Wateraid.
The technology underlying the Carlings t-shirt is Spark AR, a Facebook tool that enables third parties to create AR effects. The technology isn’t advanced enough to detect bodies, which is why Virtue created a logo T-shirt as the trigger for the designs.
Grubak anticipates that, as with facial filters, machine learning will better understand body movements as there is greater adoption of the technology. For now, the technology only works on a phone’s back camera, rather than the front-facing camera.
Carlings’s first foray into digital clothing started as a marketing project to promote the brand’s first online offering. The project later won the Grand Prix — the highest possible award — at Cannes Lions.
“Every big brand should think, ‘If we do something graphical on a tee, how that will live on a digital platform?’ For example, the Gucci logo — what happens when you point Instagram toward it?” Grubak says. “It’s a way to update it without buying new clothing, and it extends the consumer experience with a piece of clothing.”