Zara Is Replacing Its Mannequins With Virtual Models

Zara Is Replacing Its Mannequins With Virtual Models

If you’ve walked past your local Zara this week and noticed all the shop windows are empty, there’s a very futuristic reason why…. The high street giant is rolling out its new Augmented Reality (AR) software at 120 stores across the globe, allowing customers to see clothes ‘come to life’ on their smartphones.

To experience it for yourself, simply download the Zara AR app, point your camera towards one of the in-store AR points, and watch as models Léa Julian and Fran Summers appear on your screen – talking and moving around, modelling the latest Studio collection. You can also use the app on Zara delivery boxes (cue, a cute tiny model twirling around on your online order packaging) and on certain images on the Zara website.

If you like what you see on screen, a one-click purchase option lets you shop the look featured, and you can browse the rest of the range in an easy-scroll format. The app also features a tool for sharing the experience on social media, encouraging users to take and submit photos of the remarkably real holograms (it took 68 cameras to capture 12 sequences on a set of 170 square metres, one of the largest of its kind in the world).

Zara’s first foray into virtual reality will only be available for the next two weeks – but the retailer says it has plans to use the technology in all of its stores should this trial be a success. And it’s likely it will be – recent eCommerce stats revealed 80% of shoppers already use their mobile phones inside physical stores, either to search for product reviews, compare prices or find alternative store locations.

Most interestingly though, is that this could spell the death of the mannequin. Showing clothes from all angles – on moving human bodies – is a concept that’s clearly working for the likes of ASOS. And just as the online giant has used short video clips to reduce its volume of order returns, high street brands could save shoppers countless extra trips to the changing rooms.

To find your nearest AR Zara, visit

And in the meantime, shop our top picks from the Spring/Summer Studio collection below…

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