Fancy a dress? Have apps find it
FASHIONISTAS envious of clothing, shoes and accessories worn by strangers or seen on websites can turn to new apps for hassle-free shopping to find, and buy or rent, similar items.
Like the music app Shazam, which identifies songs based on sound clips, the fashion apps use photos and image-recognition technology to find similar clothing.
"People see items they like on the street but can't really go up to the person wearing them and ask where they got them,"said Ms Daniela Cecilio, the chief executive of London-based start-up Asap54.
"Or they might see items they like on Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook or Twitter, but can't really click through to buy them," she added.
With the Asap54 app for iPhone, which was launched last month, users take a photograph of an item, or upload an existing one, and describe what it is to help the app identify it.
The app recommends something similar from more than 150 retail partners across the United States, Europe and other countries.
The Style Eyes app for iPhone and Android also uses a photo to find the desired or a similar item, which can be purchased from its catalogue of 600 retailers in Britain and 300 in the US.
Mr Mark Elfenbein, chief digital officer of Toronto-based start-up company Slyce, said its image-recognition technology integrates with retail brands so that shoppers can find things by taking a photograph with their iPhone or scanning an image from their desktop.
"The way brands are trying to communicate with customers is changing. Historically, they would lure customers to their stores or websites, but now we're seeing that brands want to create transactions in other places too," Mr Elfenbein said.
The technology recognises information such as how far apart buttons are, and fabric and stitching to help power visual searches.