In São Paulo, Brazil, a fashion retailer called C&A unveiled a new clothing display that has customers signing on to Facebook. Garments in the store are displayed on hangers with digital read-outs that show how many “likes” the item has received on the clothing company’s Facebook page. These totals are updated in real-time, keeping shoppers informed of the styles that are most popular with Internet users. ”When they go clothes shopping, women always feel insecure and want a second opinion,” says a promotional video for digital service. “So give ‘likes’ to the clothes you like more and help thousands of women in their difficult mission of choosing the ideal outfit.”
While the video arguably paints a slightly offensive portrait of the stereotypical woman, it also assumes that shoppers desire more online-connectivity in their daily lives. From a retailer’s perspective, this is an incredibly intuitive means of engaging buyers on a whole new level. But for many of us, the last thing we need are inanimate objects brandishing that iconic blue and white thumbs up icon that is already so pervasive in our digital lives. As one step closer to the Internet of Things — a projected future in which all inanimate objects have an online presence — C&A might be crossing a boundary that’s more uncomfortable gimmick than revolutionary business strategy. But ultimately, will the clicks of hundreds of strangers affect your opinion toward a garment? If this experiment proves successful, expect the world to be filled with an army of Facebook-connected hangers, the new harbingers of what’s new and trendy in fashion.
Chappell Ellison is a designer, writer and design writer. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York where she serves as a contributor for The Etsy Blog and design columnist for GOOD.