Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but if Tommy Hilfiger is still the trend-setting brand it used to be, beauty could soon be in the eye of virtual reality headsets.
The fashion standby announced Tuesday (Oct. 20) that it was rolling out a program to introduce virtual reality headsets in its New York City location, followed by launches in London, Paris, Milan, Amsterdam and beyond. The VR program will feature Samsung GearVR devices to give shoppers the sensation of sitting front-row at one of the fashion industry’s premier shows. Tommy Hilfiger himself said in a statement that the new technology will allow consumers a more natural clothes-shopping experience that they can’t find online.
"Through virtual reality, we’re now able to bring our one-of-a-kind fashion show to the retail setting,” Hilfiger said. “From the incredible set and music to exclusive backstage moments, consumers will be able to watch the clothes move and see the collection in the original show environment – it’s a compelling and interesting elevation of the traditional shopping experience."
Daniel Grieder, CEO at Tommy Hilfiger, told The New York Times that the push toward in-store virtual reality is an ongoing project to re-envision the physical retail space as one that values entertainment and engagement over the sheer size of its selling space. Rejecting the old notion that physical retailers have to justify large stores with equally large sales, Grieder instead said that “it’s about surprise by square foot, or newness.”
The move makes Tommy Hilfiger the first major retail chain to incorporate virtual reality into its stores as a permanent feature. However, whether customers bite on the technology and its unique value proposition or see it as just yet another gimmick retailers use to draw them in is yet to be determined.