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Sat, Aug 25, 2007 - Page 10 News List

S Korean department store offers virtual clothes fitting

AFP , SEOUL

A South Korean department store yesterday opened what it calls the world's first virtual reality i-fashion store, which lets consumers pick clothes without actually coming in to try them on.

Shinsegae, the nation's second-largest department store chain, is offering sales of golfwear and accessories using a system developed by a Konkuk University research center and others.

"We have commercialized a three-dimensional fitting system for the first time in the world," said Lee Jae-jin, Shinsegae's retail technology department manager.

"The system, developed as part of a government-financed pilot project to combine our advanced information technology and infrastructure with off-line retailing, will enhance customer choices and boost clothing sales," he said.

The system allows a shopper to create a personalized avatar by inputting precise body measurements such as height and length of legs and arms onto a smart card.

An avatar is an Internet user's representation of himself or herself in the form of a three-dimensional model used in computer games, or a two-dimensional icon used for online forums.

The shopper can select clothes which he or she wants to try on in a virtual reality environment.

Anyone with a smart card will be able to try on and buy clothes using mobile phones and computers, Lee said.

People with access to the measurements of friends and relatives could buy gifts without fear they may not fit, he said.

"If this project is successful, we can use the system in other fields, resulting in an innovation in both online and offline retail markets," Lee said.

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