Apple has obviously been approached by the larger fashion retail chains to come up with some kind of app that could generate sales for them down the road and Apple has hired new engineers to take on this task. In the first of two applications, Apple introduces us to the Virtual Closet - a unique application that could really only be understood and appreciated by women. The application allows a user to catalog and duplicate their real-world closet into that of a virtual one. It allows a user to check out what a combined outfit would look on them before trying it out. It also allows the user to go Virtual window shopping and try out new clothes before buying. The social aspect of the app comes in when the user invites their friends to check out their Virtual Closet, rate their clothes and even allow friends to make a request to borrow an item. If you're a female who loves to share their clothes with friends or happen to be a retailer who has been searching for new ways to reach a new tech savvy audience, then look no further. Apple is working on an app for that!
Every day people have various articles of clothing, jewelry, purses, and other accessories that they wear and carry. These items could be stored at home in closets, drawers, shelves, or in other storage facilities. However, at times it may be difficult for a person to keep track of their clothing or easily view what items they own. For example, articles of clothing in a closet may be crowded together in a way that makes it difficult to view them, or the clothing may be stored in drawers or otherwise hidden from sight. As another example, a person may lend their clothing or other items to friends, and then forget who has borrowed these belongings. This may make it difficult for a person to organize or keep track of their clothing and other belongings.
Apple's patent focuses on systems and methods for providing a virtual fashion closet. Girls - The Virtual Closet could soon end up being an app on your iPhone or other iOS device or even on a MacBook or other Apple device.
The Virtual Closet could include a catalog or virtual representation of an actual, physical closet of a user. For example, the Virtual Closet may include images, descriptions, or both of "fashion items" owned by the user. As used herein, the term "fashion item" refers to any article of clothing, accessory, or other suitable item that a person may wear or carry.
In some embodiments, outfits could be created by combining two or more fashion items of a Virtual Closet. For example, an owner of a Virtual Closet could create outfits from the fashion items in the Virtual Closet. As another example, outfits could be created that include fashion items that are not in the Virtual Closet. As one illustration, fashion items that are offered for sale by a third party (e.g., a store or vendor) could be used to build outfits, thus allowing a user to "try out" fashion items prior to buying that fashion item. In some embodiments, a vendor can recommend the user buy a fashion items in order to complete a particular outfit.
In some embodiments, the Virtual Closet could recommend outfits to be worn. For example, the Virtual Closet could recommend outfits based on the weather, based on the day or season, based on events that are scheduled in the user's calendar, or based on any other suitable event. In some embodiments, the Virtual Closet could maintain a history of the fashion items that are worn by a user. The Virtual Closet could identify which fashion items are dirty (e.g., in the laundry) and therefore may be unavailable for wearing.
In some embodiments, a social networking Virtual Closet could be provided. The social networking Virtual Closet could allow friends to see each other's Virtual Closets, recommend outfits to one another, recommend fashion items to buy, recommend fashion items to get rid of, recommend outfits to wear at a particular event, share and borrow each other's fashion items, or could otherwise suitably provide a social networking environment through the Virtual Closet.
Aspects of the Virtual Closet
To clarify, the virtual closet is not about a closet in a virtual world. No, this is about a version of a person's real closet that is able to be seen online or on an Apple device virtually.
The Virtual Closet application could be utilized to create, maintain, edit, update, or otherwise suitably interact with your Virtual Closet. A person may use this Virtual Closet, for example, to build a catalogue or virtual representation of an actual, physical closet which that person owns. For example, the Virtual Closet may include images, descriptions, or both of "fashion items" owned by the user.
The Virtual Closet may include a catalogue of fashion items owned by a user. Each fashion item may be associated with metadata that defines the attributes of that fashion item. For example, the metadata may define attributes such as the fashion item's color, type (e.g., skirt, long-sleeved shirt, necklace, or any other suitable type description), material (e.g., silk), brand, style (e.g., formal, casual, or other suitable style), fit (e.g., loose clothing, tight clothing, or any other suitable fit), season (e.g., winter clothing), weather (e.g., appropriate for rainy weather), date of purchase, laundry status (e.g., whether the clothing is in the laundry and thus may be unavailable for being worn), or any other suitable attributes.
At times the depth of this patent goes a little off the deep end discussing things like the "virtual hamper" that includes fashion items that are currently dirty. Say no more.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 shows interface 400 that could provide a social networking Virtual Closet in accordance with an exemplary embodiment. Interface 400 allows the owner to name their Virtual Closet as shown in 402 that could indicate the owner of the social networking Virtual Closet. Fashion items, outfits, or both within the social networking Virtual Closet can be searched for by choosing Search Input 414. In some embodiments, friends could provide ratings of the fashion items in the owner's Virtual Closet. For example, friend ratings 420 could depict the ratings that one or more friends have given to fashion item 404.
Social Networking – Coordinating your Clothes with Friends
In some embodiments, a friend could build outfits with fashion item 404 through Recommend Outfits Input 432. For example, the friend could build an outfit that includes fashions items from the owner's Virtual Closet, fashion items from the friend's Virtual Closet, fashion items accessed through a server (e.g., from a vendor's website), any other suitable fashion item, or any combination of the above. The owner may then view the recommended outfit that was built by the friend. In this manner, friends could share outfits and fashion items with one another, provide feedback on each other's outfits and fashion items, and otherwise share opinions and ideas regarding their Virtual Closets.
In some embodiments, friends may also have access to an owner's calendar. In this case, a friend can provide an outfit or fashion item recommendation based on a particular event. For example, a friend may notice that the owner is going to a concert on a particular date. The friend may then build an outfit and provide a recommendation to the owner to wear that outfit to the concert. This may, for example, provide a convenient way for a group of friends to coordinate their clothing. For example, a group of friends may desire to wear the same team t-shirt to a sports game, and may coordinate this effort through the social networking Virtual Closet. As another example, friends may want to coordinate their outfits such that two friends do not wearing the same outfit to the same event (e.g., so two friends do not wear the same dress to the same party).
In some embodiments, an owner could send out a notice to one or more friends requesting outfit recommendations through the social networking Virtual Closet. For example, an owner may be going to a special event on a particular date, but has not decided what clothing to wear. The owner may then send a notice to their friends requesting outfit recommendations for this special event. Friends may then respond to this notice by building outfits for the owner to view. As another example, an owner may have bought a new fashion item, but does not know what outfits can be built from this fashion item. In this scenario, the owner may send a notice to their friends requesting recommendations for outfits that include the new fashion item.
The social networking Virtual Closet could allow an owner to have control over how friends interact with the owner's Virtual Closet. For example, an owner may have control over who is granted access to the Virtual Closet. In this case, it may be necessary for an owner to "invite" a friend before that friend is granted access to the owner's Virtual Closet. As another example, an owner may be able to grant a friend limited access to the owner's Virtual Closet. In this case, the owner may have the option to restrict the friend's ability to leave ratings, restrict the friend's ability to leave comments, restrict the friend's ability to view certain fashion items, or may otherwise suitably limit the friend's access to the owner's Virtual Closet. As another example, the social networking Virtual Closet may allow an owner to block a particular friend, such that this friend cannot access or locate the owner's Virtual Closet.
The Virtual Closet: Borrowing Clothes
Apple's patent FIG. 6 above illustrates interface 600 that could provide for the borrowing and sharing fashion items of a Virtual Closet. Title 602 could indicate the owner who is allowing their fashion items to be borrowed (e.g., "Henrietta"). The fashion items that the owner is sharing could be depicted in Item Column 604. For example, the Item Column could include images of the fashion items that are available for borrowing.
In Apple's patent FIG. 7A we see the View Calendar Input which could generate a calendar view of fashion items that are available for borrowing. For example, as illustrated by FIG. 7A, calendar 700 could include a listing of each day and what fashion items are available to be borrowed on that day. As another example, the calendar could include a listing of each day and who is scheduled to borrow a particular fashion item on this day.
Apple's patent FIG. 8 shows process 800 for providing a social networking Virtual Closet; FIG. 9 shows process 900 for facilitating the borrowing of a fashion item of a social networking Virtual Closet.
Apple credits Christine Cho, Monica Tran and Stanly Ng as the inventors of patent application 20100191770, originally filed in Q3 2009.
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