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Tommy Hilfiger embraces in-store virtual reality


Retailers who still think virtual reality is just for hard-core gamers should think again.

In another example of how physical retailers are employing state-of-the-art technology to remain engaging — and relevant — in a digital age, specialty apparel powerhouse Tommy Hilfiger on Tuesday became the first major retailer to employ virtual reality in its stores. The technology offers shoppers who otherwise might never attend a runway show a chance to view close-up and personal the fall runway show of the Hilfiger Collection.

Using a Samsung GearVR device, shoppers will have an immersive virtual experience that creates the impression of sitting live in the front row at Manhattan’s Park Avenue Armory at showtime on February 16, 2015, when the fall 2015 Hilfiger Collection was originally presented. In addition to providing a view of the runway (and guests at the show, who appear to be sitting right next to the viewer), the experience also includes an exclusive sneak peek backstage.

The virtual reality installation is housed in a dedicated area of the store that reflects the American football theme of the brand’s fall show. After viewing the show, shoppers can actually shop the collection, which is also housed in the same area.

The technology launches on October 20, 2015, at the Tommy Hilfiger store on 5th Avenue in New York City, followed by additional locations in London, Paris, Milan, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Florence, Zurich, and Moscow. It will also be featured at Selfridges, London.

“We are driven by a vision to exceed consumer expectations, inspire them, and offer retail experiences they never thought possible,” said Daniel Grieder, CEO of Tommy Hilfiger, which is owned by PVH Corp. “Through cutting-edge virtual reality technology, we can invite shoppers to experience the Hilfiger Collection fashion show from a front row seat. We’re using virtual reality to open the doors to a unique part of our world, directly connecting the consumers in our retail space with one of our largest brand events each season.”

The Hilfiger virtual reality concept was created in collaboration with Dutch start-up WeMakeVR, which filmed the Hilfiger show using a 3-D camera fitted with 14 special lenses. The lenses allow the camera to capture video in 360 degrees both vertically and horizontally, with no blind spots, according to the New York Times.

Through virtual reality, we’re now able to bring our one-of-a-kind fashion show to the retail setting,” said Tommy Hilfiger. “From the incredible set and music to exclusive backstage moments, consumers will be able to watch the clothes move and see the collection in the original show environment – it’s a compelling and interesting elevation of the traditional shopping experience.”

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