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Tech Meets Fashion with Virtual Dressing Room

Imagine trying on an outfit for work or a wedding, complete with accessories, without ever stepping into a dressing room. Meet FaceCake’s Swivel.

Who doesn’t have a fitting room horror story—from the lighting, to privacy, or even the annoyance of getting undressed and dressed over-and-over.

Linda Smith has stepped in with a high tech solution. Her company, FaceCake, has unveiled Swivel. It’s been featured in Bloomingdale’s at Stanford Shopping Center.

Swivel is a real-time, virtual dressing room built on the Kinect platform, with proprietary modifications and refinements to represent your figure. It gives you the chance to quickly see how you’ll look in different fall fashions. Want to try on the yellow sheath? Check. Pair it with a chunky silver necklace? Add it on. You need a purse—how about the black bag? Nah, screams luggage louder than Samsonite.

Impressive, but it gets better. Swivel can make recommendations. Its powerful analytics quickly pick up on your preferences and can recommend entire outfits or accessories.

You want more? Select “Runway Looks” and you’ll be dressed in top runway picks straight out of Fashion Week. You’ll know how you look in everything from edgy leather to elegant gowns. When you find the perfect outfit, use social media to ask your friends if it’s right for an upcoming occasion.

Angela Dang and her mother Diane Abbott were shopping at Bloomingdale’s Friday when they gave Swivel a go. Dang, who’s played games using Kinect, was a natural. “I think it’s pretty cool trying on things without having to handle them,” she said. “I like that it moves with you.” She also considers it a natural for busy women. “It’s easier and faster.”

And who is the woman who came up with this amazing idea? Smith has a background in both fashion and technology. Her first thought was to improve online shopping. “I thought there had to be a better way to interact online,” she said, “to personalize the experience.” When Kinect was introduced, Smith saw her ideal platform. “This is what my dream was.” Smith praises Microsoft, maker of Kinect, calling the company a great partner.

Her first goal was to create a product that women would love. But being a businesswoman, Smith knew that there had to be something in it for retailers. She hit the sweet spot. “Retailers love Swivel because they’re getting useful metrics—what’s most popular regionally, and by individual store.” FaceCake struck an exclusive deal with Bloomingdale’s, which installed Swivels in 20 stores around the country in conjunction with New York’s Fashion Week. The final day for Swivel at Stanford Shopping Center was Sunday.

Bloomingdale’s has moved past Fashion Week and is now gearing up for Pink Month, promoting breast cancer awareness and research.

FaceCake Marketing Technologies, Inc. is based in Calabasas, in southern California. Linda Smith is the company’s founder and CEO.

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