If you’re anything like the Consumerist staff, Amazon’s new Echo Look device — a voice-activated digital assistant equipped with a camera to help users make tough fashion choices — may have immediately brought to mind a scene from the 1996 Alicia Silverstone flick, Clueless. Sure, her PC’s outfit comparison program may seem dated now, but back then it was the height of fictional fashion technology.
The Verge’s Lauren Goode recently took the Look home for a test run — which is currently only available by invitation — though she stashed it in her living room instead of having the “small, phallic” camera set up in her bedroom.
Here’s a refresher/introduction of Cher’s experience:
So — beyond the obvious technological advantages like a hands-free device — how does the fake computer program from Clueless stack up against the very real Echo Look? Note: We have not tested the Echo Look ourselves, so any judgements we make below are purely observational.
Human Outfit Appraisals
The Look lets strangers judge your outfits through Style Check — supposed professional stylists judge your appearance (with the help of artificial intelligence, because why not). Its “Style Check” comparison feature also takes into account fit, color, styling, and current trends, according to Amazon, and takes a bout a minute to work, notes The Verge’s Goode.
While it’s unclear whether Cher’s program used AI or dedicated stylists to make its recommendations, in the mid-’90s it’s unlikely that she would’ve had an Internet connection capable of accomplishing instant appraisals from someone else.
Real-Time Photos Of Your Outfit
On the one hand, Cher’s program doesn’t require her to go through the work of putting on individual ensembles, taking a photo, and then changing into something else like the Look does — photos of all the pieces in her closet are already in the program, allowing her to simply cycle through options until the computer finds a winner.
One could, however, use the “Lookbook” feature to peruse past outfits that you’ve saved from past sessions.
Both Cher’s program and Amazon Look allow users to peruse the contents of their closets so they know what they’re working with. Again, if you want your wardrobe in the Look app, you’ll have to take photos of yourself in all your various outfits first. If that’s worth the hassle for you, godspeed.
Winner: Cher’s thing (Because I’m lazy)
Sharing With Friends
If Cher could have used her program to send outfits to her best friend Dionne, she surely would have. Alas, there was no social media component available to her, it seems. The Look does let users message their pals with photos and videos for additional judgment.
Cher’s program has no business model — it won’t sell you anything – which is probably why only rich people living in Beverly Hills could afford it. On the other hand, Amazon really wants people to use Look to shop for clothing on its own site and spend even more money than the $200 they shelled out for the device.
But Goode says the shopping element isn’t all that great: It’s tough to find in the app, for one, requiring users to click on a photo in the app, then select Details, then hit Similar Items, and finally, shop on Amazon’s main app.
It also never recommended shoes or accessories, she notes, which are things she’d be more likely to buy on Amazon. Instead, it would suggest shopping for other items in a similar color pattern, or in clothing departments that she hadn’t visited in some time.
FINAL WINNER: This was a joke. Everyone wins.
by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist