Six-year-old Emma Rivera models one of the many “activated apparel” items produced by Evy of California that are exclusively in Macy’s as her father, Edwin Rivera, points his iPad at a special marker on the clothes that unlocks the “photo booth” experience. Well, Hello Kitty!
That’s what one local South Florida company, RealityBOOST (www.reality-boost.com), a two-year-old company specializing in Augmented Reality (AR), is saying.
The South Dade company, the brainchild of Desert Storm veteran and former U.S. Marine Edwin Rivera, has built an app for kids apparel powerhouse Evy of California that is designed to let consumers interact with clothing.
The first experience in the app activates “Hello Kitty” apparel that is being sold exclusively at Macy’s for the back-to-school season. Evy plans to launch more experiences for the app, making it part of their ongoing clothing lines with their partner brands.
Working with Evy of California (www.evy.com), a multi-million dollar company out of Los Angeles that designs branded children’s wear and is the U.S. licensee of Hello Kitty, Rivera and the RealityBOOST team have built an app that Evy calls KuKee that “unlocks” an AR experience with Hello Kitty clothing carried exclusively at Macy’s. Recently named a “top innovator” by Apparel magazine — Evy calls the clothing featuring the RealityBOOST-built app “Activated Apparel.”
“This marks the first time in the history of the young AR industry that an entire clothing collection is being activated using augmented reality,” said Edwin Rivera, a veteran of the emerging technology industry. “Up until now, AR has been limited to T-shirts.”
The work for Evy marks just the latest step in RealityBOOST’s growth. The company, which was a spinoff of Rivera’s first tech company, Credelis Media Group, has collaborated on projects for Walmart, Marvel and Disney Consumer Products. All these apps have been innovative in bringing AR to the masses.
Rivera, president of RealityBOOST — which produced the app for Evy — shoots the first of four pictures (Let’s Smile, Let’s Jump, etc.) of Emma in the photo booth. He then takes graphics (crown, hair ribbon, etc.) from the “experiences bar” and places them on his daughter’s pictures. Hello Kitty pops out (“Great Show!”) and urges the user to “check out your photos’ while presenting options that allow the user to email, tweet, and post the interactive pictures to Facebook.
“We’re very excited to be working with such an amazing partner like Evy,” said Rivera, a guest speaker at various industry seminars. “When they first approached us about activating an entire line of clothing, compared to what everyone else is accustomed to doing, it became even more exciting.
“Evy realizes that engaging the consumer and getting them to interact with the clothing line is one of the keys to increasing sales and brand awareness. Image AR as a “digital prize” that comes with clothing like the prize you get in a Cracker Jack box. Now you can have a piece of clothing that is fun to wear and have fun with.”
Using the unique AR experience is a simple process:
• Download the KuKee app (available on Google Play and the App Store).
• Point it at a specially designed “flag tag” on the clothing (a Hello Kitty face).
• A “photo booth” experience is activated, enabling the phone/tablet holder to take pictures of the little girl wearing the Hello Kitty clothing and have her interact with Hello Kitty by moving Hello Kitty’s hair bow, crown, etc. and place it on top of her head.
• You then save the photo and share it via Facebook, email, Twitter, etc.
A button on the screen enables parents to see Evy’s entire Hello Kitty collection. If they want more information on a particular clothing item, they just tap that item and they are automatically taken to the Macy’s website.
“We feel that “activated” apparel — where the consumer interacts and has fun with the clothing — is just one of the uses you will see integrating augmented reality into retail. AR will definitely be the future of retail,” Rivera said. “Because parents and kids are more tech-savvy now, soon one kid will turn to the other and say, ‘what does your shirt do?’”