Behind the brand using virtual avatars to diminish “wardrobing” and returns, redefining how to shop online.
The future of e-commerce is here and the groundbreaking fashion tech start-up THREEDEEMEE (TDM) is at the center of this exciting change, who are reimagining how we experience online shopping. TDM began as an animation studio and has turned into a creative powerhouse, utilising artificial intelligence and virtual reality to reimagine e-commerce. As a new force in the industry, TDM sets the tone for the future. In this vision fashion fits and is underpinned by TDM’s mission to empower customers to shop with confidence and convenience in a new era of experiential shopping.
TDM noticed how messaging surrounding sustainability tends to focus on plastic overuse or the environmental implications of garment materials. While these are all critical issues with the production, distribution, and materials of clothing, TDM wanted to expand the conversation and bring attention to the true cost of online returns. The return of online retail purchases contributes to carbon dioxide emissions, as returns create five times more CO2 than the initial purchase due to the intricate reverse logistics involved. In a report from the Institute of Positive Fashion (IPF) and British Fashion Council (BFC), it has been revealed that the UK generated 750,000 tonnes of CO₂ emissions in 2022 and saw 23 million garments sent to landfill or incinerated once they had been returned.
In response to the crisis of returns, the brand has developed TDM Avatars. The Avatars are generated by cutting-edge technology, which creates digital twins that match the consumer’s physical likeness and measurements. By simply taking a 360-degree video of yourself, TDM’s scanning measurement system aims to create your exact avatar with a 1-2% accuracy rate. Buyers are then empowered to bring their personal style into the avatar, allowing them to try on the virtual garment and see if they think the style and color fit their exact body shape, size, hair, and skin tone. This provides a personalized and precise representation of the buyer, which is authentic and inclusive.
TDM’s virtual try-on and measurement system can successfully be integrated into Web 2 and Web 3 marketplaces, where consumers can see their personal avatars in a 3D fitting room wearing 3D garments. TDM is the first place to offer a fashion-conscious virtual dressing room, enabling the UK to become a leader in accelerating fashion industry digitalisation.
“TDM Avatars aims to address this challenge by offering an innovative solution. Beyond providing enhanced size recommendations, our platform allows users to visualise precisely how a garment will appear on their digital twin. By offering this immersive experience, we aim to diminish the practice of “wardrobing,” where individuals buy multiple sizes with the intention of returning items. Through reducing this behaviour, we aim to significantly decrease the CO2 emissions generated by reverse logistics and the broader returns issue.”
On a personal level, this digital twin allows buyers to see the fit of clothes online, avoiding the guessing game usually involved in online shopping. “We’re passionate about genuine representation in every pixel, not only in the realm of online shopping but also within virtual experiences. We believe in creating an exact digital replica—a digital twin—of oneself, blurring the boundaries between the real and virtual worlds, ensuring an authentic presence in all virtual interactions.” TDM’s Avatars are a truly genius concept because nobody wants to experience the dreaded “expectation vs reality” moment when the clothes arrive and do not resemble the images online.
The founders of TDM previously owned a prêt-à-porter boutique in America and saw there was a gap in the market for an immersive virtual try-on experience in e-commerce. In 2017 they began to experiment with their animation and avatar-creation skills, but were too ahead of the industry, which didn’t have enough digital garments and technical files. TDM noticed how, “During the pandemic, there was a notable shift towards virtual experiences and avatars within the fashion industry. This shift highlighted the opportune moment for a Virtual Try-On (VTO) solution like TDM Avatars, especially with the advancement in digital and 3D garment representations.” This realization acted as a pivotal moment for TDM, and the brand started developing alongside the changes in the industry.
As the digital revolution is now fully underway, the momentum of digital product creation (DPC) and 3D dressing has rapidly grown, and TDM is at the center of this change, acting as a pioneer of virtual reality fashion experiences. The founder’s background in retail highlights their commitment to understanding consumer needs with their love for virtual try-ons being derivative of the desire for consumers to have the best retail experience every time they purchase online.
“This transition has created an opportune moment for solutions like TDM Avatars, coinciding with brands’ recognition of evolving consumer behaviours and the amplified demand for a more personalised, immersive, and enriched online shopping experience.” TDM’s brand development is a testament to its founder’s resilience and preservation in the creation and launch process, showcasing clear pragmatism and awareness of the industry surrounding them.
While TDM Avatars primarily cater to Virtual Try-On (VTO), they are working on expanding technical solutions beyond this realm by addressing various needs across the value chain. Including TDM Avatars in the form of SDK and API to integrate TDM Avatars into any 3D environment such as Unity and Unreal engine. Therefore, allowing the ability to export Avatars in a person’s own image and chosen garments for use in any developer’s VR space. Furthermore, TDM Avatars offer brands an opportunity to gain deeper insights into their consumers. By better understanding size ranges and patterns, brands can improve the fit of their products, thereby reducing return rates. This benefits the brand economically and contributes positively to environmental sustainability by curbing the volume of returns, thus aligning economic and environmental interests for brands.
TDM’s measuring and scanning system is available on their website, and their partial VTO technology launch will be dropping soon, keep an eye out on their website. It is refreshing and exciting to see the brand paving the way for a new type of e-commerce system that beautifully marries sustainability and consumer interest together. At GLITCH we are fascinated by TDM’s reimagining of online shopping and look forward to seeing how the brand continues to act as a trailblazing force of change in the e-commerce landscape and beyond.
Written by Amber Weir from GLITCH Magazine
Words by ThreeDeeMee Team