News

IPG Media Lab Visits Styku at CES 2013

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Engadget Visits Styku at CES 2013

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Tech Pundit Robert Scoble Interviews Raj Sareen about Styku

“The future is here. You can use a Microsoft Kinect scanner and Styku to scan your body and get your size. It’s very accurate and it will be showing up in some stores soon. This company is part of the Techstars’ Kinect incubator in Seattle, which I recently visited to see the latest companies coming out.”

 

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Virtual fitting rooms changing the clothes shopping experience

High-tech sizing machines scan customers and offer a list of recommended clothing, eliminating returns and providing manufacturers with real-world data.

Los Angeles Times, July 13, 2010

 

Clothing makers, armed with body data collected from real shoppers, could sew better-fitting garments and more accurately forecast what sizes to stock. Retailers would save on labor needed to fold and rehang rejected garments. Some are already seeing its potential as a marketing tool.

 

Denim purchases at Bloomingdale’s Century City store shot up in March during the test of a body scanner aimed at helping shoppers find the right pair of jeans, company spokeswoman Marissa Vitagliano said.

 

Sizing machines are “a great example of using technology to drive sales,” she said. “It’s certainly the wave of the future and we want to be part of that.”

 

The technology could also help eliminate one of the biggest drawbacks to Internet shopping: returns. More than 20% of apparel ordered online gets sent back. Sizing software being developed for home motion-sensing devices like the popular Microsoft Kinect will soon allow consumers to scan themselves in their living rooms before clicking “purchase” on their computer screens.

 

“It’s disruptive technology that could break open the whole e-commerce apparel space,” said Raj Sareen, chief executive and founder of Styku. The Los Angeles startup has developed a program that measures users’ dimensions and creates personalized on-screen avatars to digitally “try on” clothes. Using specifications provided by clothing manufacturers, the program can figure out whether that dress will fit like a tent or a tourniquet before a shopper ever takes it off the rack.

 

Sareen said the company plans to sell the tool directly to consumers for home use by the end of the year, but has not yet set a price. It is also in talks with major retailers to install the software inside store fitting rooms.

 

Technology companies say virtual fitting rooms and sizing machines turn the shopping experience into a science. In a typical setup, shoppers step fully clothed into a sizing machine and stand still with their arms outstretched. Thousands of points on the body are then measured and mapped — usually by a motion-sensing device or by a vertical wand containing small antennas — and used to determine a person’s unique shape. A shopper is then matched with specific styles of clothing brands to fit his or her body type based on sizing information gathered from retailers’ actual inventory.

 

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Styku shines at Microsoft Accelerator Demo Day

Styku, one of 11 startups in the Microsoft Kinect Accelerator, Powered by Techstars, showcases technology at Demo Day  
July 2, 2012

Styku, the Los Angeles based Smart Fitting Room, concluded its participation in Microsoft’s Kinect Accelerator program with a demonstration presented to tech industry leaders, investors, and members of the press at the program’s demo day. Styku’s presentation, which showcased the company’s Kinect-based body scanning system and online virtual try-on, turned heads, as evidenced by the numerous write ups that appeared across the web and in print.

 

 

From CNet- Anyone who’s ever tried on a pair of pants, a blouse, or a skirt can testify to the challenge of finding the right size. Medium doesn’t always mean the same thing to every company.

 

“The industry is designing for an ideal body shape that is not us,” says Raj Sareen, chief executive and founder of Styku, a Los Angeles-based company that’s using Microsoft’s Kinect motion-sensing video game controller to solve the problem.

 

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From Geekwire- Walking the floor at Microsoft’s conference center in Redmond yesterday for the conclusion of the three-month Kinect Accelerator startup program, it was remarkable to see not just tech demos but full-fledged companies being built on the company’s Kinect sensor.

 

See the Styku Demo Day Video and Read the Full Story

 

 

From Seattle Post Intelligencer- Raj Sareen, founder and CEO of Styku, demonstrates his company’s virtual fitting room technology at the Microsoft Accelerator for Kinect exhibition in Redmond on Thursday, June 28, 2012. “People don’t know what size to order,” said Elizabeth Thomas, the company’s vice president for marketing. “It’s one of the biggest barriers to online apparel sales.” The company plans to sell the system to retailers that have stores and online sales, and provide it free to consumers. A well-known retailer that the company cannot yet name plans to start a trial Aug. 6 in four fitting rooms in two stores.

 

See a Slideshow of All the Demos and Read the Full Story

 

Press Release: IM-Label Reinvents The Tailoring Experience Using Body Scanning Technology

June 7, 2012Styku Teams with IM-Label

Styku announced today the first implementation of the new body scanning technology that will replace the traditional process of taking hand-measurements with a measuring tape. Toronto’s IM-Label has installed the new StykuScan body scanning system that will enable quick and accurate body measurement and body shape analysis. IM-Label is the first custom tailor in the world to install and use the system.

“IM-Label is very excited to utilize the Styku system to individually refine the fit for each and every customer,” said Harry Park, Director at IM-Label. “We believe that this new technology increases accessibility to custom clothing by eliminating a step that normally requires a lot of skill and is prone to human error. Never before has such a technology been as economical to acquire and easy to use. It will allow us to measure accurately in seconds versus minutes and much less intrusively. This gives us one giant leap forward in providing affordable custom tailored clothing to the masses.”

For IM-Label, Styku’s body scanning technology has made one-click body measuring a reality. Inside of the 30 square foot measurement zone, a customer stands with his arms slightly raised, and in a mere 3 seconds, the body is scanned to extract accurate measurements within a quarter of an inch. This eliminates human error from the measuring processes, ensuring consistent measurements and better fitting garments.

“Styku is thrilled that IM-Label has embraced the future of getting a superior fit – and we fully expect our innovative body scanning technology to help them realize their goals. Canada has been an important market for us and having our first unit sent to such a progressive client makes us realize that the appetite for game changing technology north of the border is boundless,” said Raj Sareen, CEO/Founder at Styku.

“Body measurements are just the beginning,” said Park. “Combining data acquired from the body scanner with fabric virtualization technologies, IM-Label will be able to show customers what their garments will look like on a person before it is even constructed, thereby enhancing customer experience and satisfaction.”

About IM-Label

IM-Label is one of Toronto’s leading providers of custom tailored menswear. With three locations across the Greater Toronto Area and many private label brands, IM-Label focuses on providing its customers with individualized and well-fitted tailored garments through a customer-centric service approach and highly accessible prices. Today, IM-Label products are worn by customers who want to look their very best each day giving them the confidence they need to succeed. Founded in 2009 by engineers with an appetite for men’s fashion, IM-Label operates on the key elements of quality, individuality, and customer service. For more information, visit IM-Label.com.

About Styku

Styku has created the ultimate platform for apparel retailers looking to solve the fit and sizing dilemma of selling clothing online. Using propriety apparel CAD 3D software (used by apparel brands, retailers and manufacturers) and the revolutionary Microsoft Kinect, Styku developed an ultra-low-cost body scanner that scans a body in three seconds, and then extracts hundreds of core body measurements that can be used to select the right size in a particular brand – or create made-to-order apparel. Consumers will soon use the Xbox live platform, or their PC, to scan themselves at home and instantly “try-on” thousands of recommended apparel items and see how they will fit. Visit www.styku.com to learn more.

Engadget Profiles Kinect Accelerator Companies

May 23, 2012

Raj Sareen is the CEO of the startup Styku, that would revolutionize how consumers would shop online when it comes to clothes. The ‘smart fitting room’ requires the shopper to be connected in front of  Microsoft Kinect, where the motion sensor is able to scan the user’s body and automatically input measurements online. The technology is then able to let the user virtually try on the clothes and see if the item fits well, or which areas might be too loose or too tight.

 

In retail guise, the virtual fitting room works using a couple of Kinects to scan your body in about three seconds to glean your measurements and create your digital doppelgänger. (Those at home with only one Kinect can do the same by doing a slow twirl in front of the sensor bar.) Measurements in hand, the system can then find clothes in your size from a retailer — or facilitate the creation of custom threads, depending on the use case — and virtually try them on via the avatar. Now, the big difference between Styku and other, similar Kinet-based clothing solutions, is the fact that it provides more accurate fitting by using Tukatech’s 3D cloth physics simulation software. That technology not only lets you see how the clothes will look on your body, but also provides a tension heat map to see precisely where an item fits too loosely or too tightly. The best part is, once you’ve made your avatar, its measurements are a part of your Styku account that’s accessible on the web and at participating online and brick and mortar merchants.

 

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PSFK Article: Kinect Could Help Online Shoppers Find Clothes that Fit Better

May 11, 2012

Raj Sareen is the CEO of the startup Styku, that would revolutionize how consumers would shop online when it comes to clothes. The ‘smart fitting room’ requires the shopper to be connected in front of  Microsoft Kinect, where the motion sensor is able to scan the user’s body and automatically input measurements online. The technology is then able to let the user virtually try on the clothes and see if the item fits well, or which areas might be too loose or too tight.

 

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Forbes Magazine Review: New York’s Fashion World Discusses Technology Disruption

The #1 business issue: a perfect fit = a perfect sale
May 10, 2012Styku's personalized fit avatars

Providing consumers with correctly-fitting clothes is one of the top business issues in the industry, and a key opportunity for technology disruption using better data.

Common sense dictates that good fit is key to fashion purchases, but it’s also backed up by the hard data. Customers who try on clothes in fitting rooms have a conversion rate of 67%, compared to just 10% for those that don’t. Concerns about fit is the number one reason consumers report being reluctant to purchase clothes online. Returned items is one of the biggest costs for online retailers, with return rates of 15-50% depending on the type of item, and 60% of the time that goods are returned, poor fit is cited as the reason.

Conference attendees said it’s not only about transparency and efficiency. Sizing is a delicate subject, and the way products are sized is part of a brand’s image.

Customers prefer to buy clothes with smaller sizes on the label, and this has lead to rampant size inflation over the years. A woman’s size 10 is now 4″ wider than in 1975 – and even men’s sizes, ostensibly marked in inches, have grown larger.

The general consensus was that the future will see retailers moving away from defined “sizes” to a more general notion of “fit.” To achieve this, the industry will need better tools to gather and store the real measurements of clothes and customers.

Various companies at the event discussed their approaches to fixing the problem, and gathering “point of fit” data (who didn’t buy, why, and what garment didn’t fit, etc.)

Styku proposes perhaps the most interesting idea from a technology perspective. The company enables consumers to scan themselves using the Microsoft Kinect image-recognition device originally designed for the XBox games platform.

Styku CEO Raj Sareen says that “through the XBox, Microsoft is the largest body scanning company in the world” because 1% of the XBox user base (around 350,000 people) have used the device for this purpose. Once they have been scanned, consumers can visualize how clothes would look on a virtual model that matches their own dimensions.

Styku was recently chosen by Microsoft as one of the most innovative uses of the Kinect platform.

 

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Fast Company Interviews Raj Sareen: How Microsoft’s Kinect Could Replace Your Tailor (No Pins Required)

Raj Sareen’s startup, Styku, was selected as a member of Microsoft’s Kinect Accelerator. He wants your game console to help make your clothes fit better–even if “no two boobs are alike.”
May 04, 2012

What are your grandest hopes for where Styku might be in a few years?

I think Styku’s going to be the platform for size recommendations and visualizations of how a garment looks on a body. It’s going to end up being a very disruptive technology that changes the apparel industry, making it smarter and more efficient. It will enable new business models, and open up the online market for consumers previously hesitant to risk buying online.

 

Read the full interview

 

Press Release- Los Angeles Based Styku Selected as Finalist for Microsoft® Accelerator for Kinect™ Program

Revolutionizing the shopping experience, Styku’s “smart fitting room” is awarded this prestigious honor
April 18, 2012

 

LOS ANGELES  – From a pool of nearly 500 applicants, Styku was chosen to participate, along with ten other finalists, in the Microsoft Accelerator for Kinect powered by Techstars. Techstars, a famous technology incubator, was handpicked to mentor and accelerate companies in developing revolutionary products using Kinect. Styku’s smart fitting room was the only fashion-focused application selected.

 

Styku uses Kinect technology to scan a body for measurements. Then, using advanced 3D apparel technology, Styku allows customers to create personalized avatars to digitally try on clothes, showing them how a garment would look on their exact body shape and providing size recommendations based on fit.

 

The Styku system can be installed in an existing dressing room, or customers can scan themselves using Microsoft Kinect for Windows at home. Body measurements are then extracted and used to create a custom 3D mannequin and an online profile accessible via the Internet or mobile device.

 

Styku’s smart fitting room benefits both consumers and online retailers, as customers can buy with confidence when purchasing apparel online and retailers can expect fewer returns. At a retail location, there is no need for shoppers to try on multiple sizes, as a quick scan provides a list of sizes and inventory of clothing in the store that would best fit their body. Additionally, the technology has the capability for consumers to design clothes to their preference at home and have them ready to ship in less than four hours.

 

“Utilizing the technology available on Microsoft Kinect for Windows, we were able to build a multi-channel, multi-platform digital fitting room that can truly change the way consumers shop and benefit the retailer by reducing online returns,” explains Raj Sareen, CEO of Styku. “We are grateful for Microsoft’s dedication to innovation and are honored to be selected to receive guidance from the industry’s best as we refine our technology and make it widely available to consumers and retailers.”

 

The Microsoft accelerator for Kinect is a program that supports companies interested in leveraging Kinect technology. The eleven applicants chosen to participate relocated to Seattle from April to June, where they are provided office space, $20,000 in funding, plus access to Microsoft technical resources and executive mentors. The three-month program will culminate with a demo day in which participants show off their wares to Microsoft executives, investors and media.

 

About Styku
To learn more about Styku, please visit Styku.com or schedule a private demonstration by writing to info@styku.com. You can also watch a video demonstration on Styku’s website.

 

Article from California Apparel News: Styku Demonstrates Body Scanning, On-Demand Manufacturing

AM4U Unveils Demand-Activated Manufacturing Technology
April 10, 2012

 

By Deidre Crawford, Technology EditorCalifornia Apparel News
When I was invited to view a demonstration of a new apparel technology at California Polytechnic State University in Pomona, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I assumed it would be a clunky piece of machinery accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation and possibly a few sample products of what the machine could produce. What I didn’t expect was a full bodyscan and custom-made garment designed from scratch and shipped to my office in less than four hours.

 

Bill Grier, the founder and chief technology officer of Critical Mass Manufacturing, teamed up with Styku virtual body-scanning, Tukatech Apparel Technology, AIMS apparel management system and Eton Systems to launch a project aimed at directly connecting consumers to manufacturing, or “demand manufacturing.”

 

The project is titled AM4U, which stands for “apparel manufacturing made for you.”

 

The companies came together with Cal Poly Pomona’s Apparel Merchandizing and Management program to work on the project, hoping to find a solution in the apparel industry.
Bud Robinson, a Cal Poly Apparel Merchandising and Management Advisory Board member who formerly served as president of Levi Strauss International and executive vice president of Gap, Inc., had invited me to see the debut of their latest innovations.

 

“You’re the star of the show today,” Grier said, ushering me to my place in front of a scanner amidst a host of film crews capturing the process.
I took my spot in front of the depth scanner, a slim, black, Microsoft Kinect box that was mounted to a pole to capture my full-body image. I held still, and it scanned my body, within minutes creating a 3D avatar based on my proportions and displayed on a computer screen.

 

I was told to pick out the color and style of the shirt that was going to be created for me, while an assistant modeled my virtual shirt selections on my avatar. I wanted to see what the technology was capable of, so I chose a combination of a turquoise body with blue camouflage sleeves and a gold university seal on the front.

 

“Remember, what you choose on the screen is what it’s going to look like in person,” I heard someone yell from the back, likely questioning my fashion choices.

 

The assistant recorded my selection online and then sent it off to Critical Mass, located 25 minutes away in Rancho Cucamonga, to be manufactured. Once the fabrics were dyed, the material would be driven to the school and cut and sewn together to make the garment. (When the project launches, the fabric dyeing and manufacturing will all be done in one location.)

 

“We’re at one hour and 17 minutes!” Grier yelled from across the room after receiving a phone call from his factory updating him on the progress.
The excitement from the team was palpable as they anxiously waited to see their labor come to fruiting in the form of their first customer-ordered, custom-made and custom-designed shirt.Styku's user friendly body-scanning system

 

The material arrived in less than three hours –breaking earlier records- and the team began cutting and sewing, keeping an eye on the clock. Shortly afterwards, the garment was completed and shipped to my office, totaling the fewer than four hours from the time my body was scanned until the garment was designed, ordered, manufactured and shipped.

 

Speeding to Market
Critical Mass’ Grier said the AM4U concept represents a huge shift for the apparel industry.

 

“It’s switching supply and demand to demand and supply,” Grier said.

 

Grier has developed a new process for dyeing fabric that operates with digital printing, does not require any liquids, and enables him to dye, print and imprint only the amount of fabric needed, all on one machine, with a quick turnaround. This process eliminates overestimated production runs and excess inventory, he explained.

 

“There are no minimum [orders], so you can change on the fly and produce every garment separately and at manufacturing speeds,” Robinson added.

 

By producing only the amount of apparel that’s sold, retailers can avoid losing money on excess production and no longer have to depend on cutting labor to reduce costs, which could help bring textile jobs back to the United States, Grier explained.

 

“High-profit production apparel creates a high enough margin to return the jobs and industry back to the U.S.,” he said.

 

In addition to speeding up manufacturing and reducing excess production, companies also save time by not having to stop manufacturing to clean the dye presses, he explained.
“We can provide high-speed, manufacturing and manufacture 6,000 tops a day and we don’t have to stop to clean the machines.”

 

Digital printing also allows customized orders to be manufactured without inventory, a “zero-inventory production system.” The entire inventory of a 10,000 square-foot warehouse can fit on one CD in the form of virtual merchandise, Grier said.

 

Currently, the apparel industry uses less than 2 percent digital printing, according to Lee Newsom, A Cal Poly Apparel Merchandising and Management Advisory Board member who is involved with the project.

 

With made-to-order manufacturing, customers who possess technology can design and buy custom-made apparel online from home and have their merchandise delivered to their doorstep.

 

The group’s goal is to have a garment made in four hours or less from the time the order is placed and have it delivered within three days.

 

AM4U expects to offer roughly 20 different styles and color options that can be customized by customers or retailers and ordered online and manufactured one at a time, Robinson said. Currently, the print and dye technology only work with man-made polymers, such as nylon and polyester. The system is 12 to 18 months out from launching to the public for orders.

 

Cal Poly Pomona brought in a scanning technologist from Kansas State University five years ago, which is also when they met Grier and became aware of his work in demand-activated manufacturing.

 

The school is building a model plant with the complete supply chain, including a new conveyor system developed by Eton Systems to accommodate mass customization.
“A quicker unit production system reduces production time from days to hours and hours to minutes. I t can do one unit at a time, and each unit can be tracked as an individual item,” explained Per Bringle, president of Eton’s U.S. support operations.

 

Peter Kilduff, the chair of Cal Poly Pomona’s Apparel Merchandising and Management Department, said the project is part of his larger vision for the university.
“We wanted to build the technology here,” he explained. “Scanning and mass customization in apparel manufacturing is part of the future, so we need to be a part of that.”

 

 

Microsoft and TechStars Choose Styku for Prestigious Accelerator

Styku only fashion technology company chosen from 500+ applicants
April 2, 2012

Styku is proud to have been selected from more than 500 companies to be one of only ten early-stage enterprises incubated through the Kinect Accelerator. Microsoft is supporting entrepreneurs, engineers and innovators to bring to life a wide range of business ideas that integrate the Kinect system. A highly competitive screening process culminated in Styku being chosen for this unique three-month incubation program.

 

From April 1 through June 28, the Styku team will co-locate in space provided by Microsoft in Seattle. Every company participating in the Kinect Accelerator receives an investment of $20,000, an Xbox development kit, the Windows Kinect SDK, all the resources of BizSpark, technical training and full support. More importantly, Styku will have mentorship from entrepreneurs, investors and Microsoft executives intensely focused on making our business a success. At the end of the program, Styku will present our Smart Fitting Room technology and business concept at an Investor Demo Day to angel investors, venture capitalists, Microsoft executives, media and industry influentials.

 

The Kinect Accelerator is powered by TechStars, one of the most respected technology accelerator programs in the world. Microsoft is working with TechStars to leverage the absolute best startup accelerator methodologies, mentors, and visibility. Mentors for the Kinect Accelerator include a broad base of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in the industry as well as executives from Microsoft Studios, Xbox, Kinect for Windows, Microsoft Research and other Microsoft organizations.

 

Read the announcement story

Custom Apparel On Demand

Styku and Tukatech demonstrate revolutionary mass customization tool
April 2, 2012

Styku and Tukatech partnered with Critical Mass Manufacturing and AIMS to launch a project that directly connects customers to design and manufacturing, allowing for a garment to be cut, sewn, and delivered – directly to the customer – based on their exact body size and personal design preferences.

 

Cal Poly Pomona’s distinguished Apparel Merchandising and Management program hosted and coordinated the two days of demonstration in conjunction with an open house event showcasing the school’s program.

 

The demonstration successfully delivered a custom shirt, from body scan to final product, in about 4 hours. The concept is referred to as “demand manufacturing.”

 

Volunteer “customers” were able to scan their bodies then fully customize both the fit and the appearance of several tops. The garments were then cut, printed, dyed, sewn, and then delivered to the customers in under four hours, setting a new world record in apparel design, manufacturing, and retail delivery.

 

Styku’s “Smart Fitting Room” technology integrated with Tukatech to automatically alter a pattern in TUKACAD using the customer’s body measurements. The participant then designed a garment in 3D using sophisticated TUKA3D software. The final design was then sent to Critical Mass, where it was printed and dyed using innovative waterless and chemical free technology. The garments were then sewn using traditional automatic sewing machines, pressed, and delivered to the customer in a final presentation. All participants purchased their customized garments via a shopping cart technology provided by AIMS. Eton and Focal Technology also collaborated on the project.

 

Observers applauded the concept and recognized Styku’s power to enhance the apparel shopping experience beyond ready-to-wear clothing. With Styku’s new patent pending customization tool, consumers can now design their own garment in 3D while viewing their design on their own custom avatar. By integrating with back-end supply chain manufacturing solutions, Styku can capture a unique design and transform it into production data that apparel retailers and manufactures can use to create custom and personalized goods, shipping directly to the customer.


Virtual Fitting: Another Piece Of The Future Of Online Shopping

FashionablyMarketing.me
August 5, 2011

With a growing buzz surrounding online gaming, mobile technology and augmented reality, we know that the future of e-commerce is bound to be more fun and realistic than ever.


Tukatech Revolutionizes Online Shopping with New Venture Styku and its Online Fitting Room

Internet Retailer
May 26, 2011

Tukatech Inc., Los Angeles-based provider of 2D/3D apparel software solutions, is pleased to announce its most recent venture Styku, headed by CEO Raj Sareen.


Tukatech Introduces Styku™ Online Fitting Room

Textile World

May 17, 2011

Tukatech Inc. … has introduced Styku™, a true-to-life online fitting room that enables consumers to virtually try on a garment via an avatar.


The Avatar’s New Clothes

David Zax, Fast Company Magazine

April 27, 2011

Los Angeles-based startup Styku is chasing the Holy Grail of the online apparel business: making a virtual fitting room that actually works…


Getting Fit

Mike Albo, Hemispheres Magazine
February 1, 2011

Virtual dressing rooms give you the full shopping experience, minus the unflattering lighting. Shopping for clothes online is an exercise in guesswork…