Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.
We’ve covered a number of fashion-based startups before, including Russia-based Looksima, which recently landed 15 million rubles ($484,000) in funding from Vesna Investment.
Now, another fledgling startup going by the name of StileEye is officially launching its so-called ‘visual engine for fashion’, after a few months in quiet, public beta.
Indeed, StileEye launched its iOS app way back in October last year, followed by its website a few weeks later, and then Android in early November. “We made the apps available publicly for frictionless beta testing with friends and engagement groups,” explains Sudhir Kumar Singh, co-founder, and VP of Technology at StileEye.
“We didn’t do any PR or drive any attention to the apps,” he explains. “We made the app available so we could invite select individuals to play with it and provide feedback. That helped us in doing a few iterations of front-end and back-end during this testing time, and we are now ready to announce it to everyone.”
StileEye, in a nutshell, allows users to take photos of images from magazines, fashion shows, or everyday life. It then returns dresses and handbags that match the image they snapped, based on color, pattern and so on.
As you may have guessed by now, this is currently aimed squarely at the female fraternity, and the next iteration will also include tops, skirts, and shoes. But men won’t have to wait long, and the scope of the apps should be extended to guys in six months or so.
The company’s two founders believe that StileEye is a “tipping point experience”, one that no other fashion app or website offers.
A typical use-case could be this. Say you’re walking down a main shopping thoroughfare, or perusing the pages of Vogue, and you spy an item you like. You snap it with your phone and funnel it into StileEye, where you’ll gain access to similar-looking items from retailers around the world. Or you could see something you like online, and by uploading the image, you can match it with other trendsetting outfits from celebrities, or even your social networks.
“The fashion industry presents an interesting challenge – how to make computers see fashion on the Web exactly as consumers see it online and in everyday life?” says Singh.
“To do this, one has to isolate and identify clothing and accessories within visually complex images like personal photos and magazine spreads,” he continues. “Traditional fashion apps rely on text descriptions and other forms of human intervention, which limits their scope. But we wanted to understand millions of fashion items on the Web. This required a powerful and fundamentally different set of computer vision algorithms.”
StileEye’s other co-founder, Vwani Roychowdhury, says that StileEye’s technology is built on a “new kind of science that demonstrates how we can learn visually from web-scale data.”
“We’re bringing a new level of ease to the consumer’s experience of visually discovering and evaluating fashion online,” he says. “Paralleling the revolution ushered in by the text-based search engines, StileEye has the potential to bring the industry to a tipping point.”
The company has good backing too. Microsoft India’s R&D is the startup’s main investor, and Srini Koppolu, Corporate VP and Managing Director of Microsoft India R&D, reckons the app visually connects the world of fashion, encapsulating trendsetters, consumers and merchants. “StileEye’s continuous, automated, self-learning engine can understand and match an unprecedented combination of styles, shapes, colors and patterns, marking a generational shift in the online shopping and social media experience,” he says.
The apps are available to download for free now. Meanwhile, check out the official two minute StileEye tutorial for yourself below.
➤ StileEye: Web | iOS | Android
Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock
Get the TNW newsletter
Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.