Move over, humans. Siri’s arch nemesis, Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ not only wants to be your personal assistant, but she’s gunning for that BFF spot and dishing out some real live style advice to earn it.
This week, Amazon announced the Echo Look, a hands-free styling assistant that captures live photo/video of your outfits and makes a personal recommendation on what you should wear. According to Amazon, this is how it functions:
“The built-in LED lighting and depth-sensing camera let you blur the background to make your outfits pop, giving you clean, shareable photos. Get a live view in the Echo Look app or ask Alexa to take a short video so you can see yourself from every angle. View recommendations based on your daily look and use Style Check for a second opinion on what looks best.”
If you’ve been reading my posts on 2BD thus far, you know I am a self-proclaimed style expert so obviously I’ve gotta go Two Buttons Deep on this and compile my thoughts. My first instinct is to hate it, but mostly because any new technology is unfamiliar and scary and the fashion industry is like my baby I try to protect from this terrible world. But when I think about Echo Look and its various applications, here’s what I’m feeling…
Gut reaction: Is it really necessary?
At first glance, it seems like just another piece of technology that has a lot of hype up front, but no true “need” for it after a few tries of testing it out. I’m not sold on the thought that someone will enjoy long-term strutting around their bedroom to receive compliments from a computer.
After some thought: Well, maybe.
Since it’s supposed to help people make better style decisions, I’m behind it. If you live with your significant other and rely on him/her for fashion advice, you know that source is an absolute lost cause. So if the lack of having a human present to offer an opinion on your outfit each morning is what’s hampering your style game, this could be a worthwhile investment.
Gut reaction: This thing retails at $199? Woof.
The amount of trendy tech products I’ve bought within this price range and then either ditch it or break it three months later is pretty depressing. I wouldn’t be thrilled if this fell off my dresser while doing a 360-degree spin for Alexa.
After some thought: Can a great outfit be priceless? Yes.
I’m all about value and quality. When it comes to buying clothes, it’s better to go with the quality vs. quantity mentality and splurge on fewer items you know will last you longer. So, if Echo Look proves its concept and value in the marketplace, it’ll fly off the shelves (or get delivered via drone quicker or whatever you weirdo online shoppers do).
Gut reaction: So, Alexa can totally see me naked.
This is like One Tree Hill’s Peyton Sawyer webcam dilemma all over again but in an era where privacy and security concerns are at an all-time high. Our phones, speaker systems, apps and devices are all listening to us and capturing data 24/7, so it is slightly concerning to think I’d be changing clothes in front of a live recording camera hooked up to the internet.
After some thought: Yup, she probably can.
This one is going to require a little bit more research. Other than the simple answer to not get changed in front of the Echo Look camera, we’ll have to see how this device will capture data and whether it’s secure and how data will be shared. I could see this as a retail advertiser’s heaven, knowing you could gather info (not just info, but photo, video and audio) about someone’s personal style and what’s in their current wardrobe. Then, they’d serve up super targeted ads suggesting what items go with an outfit or what should be purchased to complete or elevate a look. It’s genius but again can be seen as an invasion of privacy to some folks at home in their skivvies trying on maxi dresses.
So am I going to run out and buy this thing tomorrow? No, probably not. Being as fashion-obsessed as I am, it makes me the exception to the rule (aka most people could probably benefit from this way more than I ever could). But I’m surprised to say I’m not totally against it, either. The retail fashion industry is changing and brands and powerhouses like Amazon are becoming even smarter about how consumers shop. I’ll never stop loving clothes and fashion, so I’ve got to embrace technology’s role in shaping its future.
Two Buttons Deep is a news & entertainment website based in upstate New York.
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