Living with credit, New products, Shopping

Mirror, mirror, will you order this dress in black, and charge it to my card?

Jay MacDonald

The dressing room of the future is here, and it has smart mirrors designed to make it easier to slip into haute couture mode without those time-consuming side trips to the accessories wall – or the checkout counter.

From Sept. 23 to Oct. 12, Marie Claire, home to fashion director and “Project Runway” judge Nina Garcia (although not for long), is lighting up New York’s SoHo district with its first-ever Next Big Thing Pop-Up Concept Shop, a bold, hands-on preview of the interactive shopping tools of the future.

How, you ask, is clothes shopping adapting to the mobile payments, internet-of-things era?

Try this on: As you enter the dressing room with your armload of maybes, you’re greeted by two smart mirrors designed to break down the walls between online and offline shopping. Climb into that LBD and the full-length smart mirror by New York-based Oak Labs explodes with popups of suggested accessories, as well as tech gadgets by San Francisco-based b8ta. Turn and look closer into the virtual mirror by Clarins and receive similar skincare ideas.

Found something you like? Download the Next Big Thing Concept Shop mobile app and purchase what you’re wearing, as well as any pop-ups that may appeal, before you even attempt to climb out of that black squeezer.

In the press release announcing this initiative, Marie Claire and Mastercard explained that you will be able to use the app, as well as smart windows throughout the shop, to change styles and sizes, search for additional products not on display, book appointments with Neiman Marcus stylists and sign up for other in-store events.

Cash, charge or accessory?
Mastercard’s role in this runway revolution is comfortably traditional, given that near-field communication (NFC) payments have been around as long as “Project Runway.” Fitness bands, smartwatches, bracelets and jackets are among the payment-ready wearable accessories now available in the market. This smart-mirror revolution is largely on the consumer’s end.

“Today’s consumer is seeking a seamlessly integrated experience across both the digital and physical environment,” says Mastercard’s executive vice president of digital partnerships Sherri Haymond.

“At the Next Big Thing Concept Shop, we will showcase how retailers can do that by blending internet-of-things devices, such as smart mirrors and windows, with Mastercard’s industry-leading security and analytics solutions, and Masterpass digital payment service to allow every consumer interaction to be unique.”

High-tech and haute couture frequently combine forces these days to move fashion forward. Mastercard partnered with smart jewelry maker Ringly to offer mobile payments through its bracelets and rings, and with pop star Rihanna’s clothing designer Adam Selman to do the same with his line of dresses, gloves and purses.

Fitbit recently unveiled its Ionic smartwatch which offers contactless American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Starbucks payments. And fashionable Australian concertgoers are already paying with the swipe of their Visa WaveShades.

It’s hardly a stretch to imagine how social media may pounce on the NBTC dressing room like a Michael Kors closeout, effectively turning every clothes-shopping adventure into a virtual strut down the runway, courtesy of Facebook, Instagram et al. How will we possibly buy clothing when the quiet contemplation of today’s dressing rooms gives way to the cacophony of a virtual “Project Runway” group vote?

Does this credit card make me look fat?
For me, however, a more practical question arises: Which credit card will give me the most cash back or rewards when I pay through a smart device, dressing-room mirrors included?

See related: Gotta run! My pants have discovered eBayNo card, no problem: Pay with your ring, watch, bracelet, With chip-enabled sunglasses, it’s paid with the shades

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