The Clueless Closet is finally a thing and you HAVE to try it: a review of Amazon's Echo Look
Who didn't long for their own personal version of Cher's closet after watching Clueless??
That thing was just incredible (minus the massive monitor, of course). While several people have attempted to create a similar experience over the years, they've always fallen short. Most came in the form of apps with poor UX that required spending days taking photos of every one of your items before being able to use any of the features. Total bummer.
Then Amazon came along with the latest iteration of their home assistant the Echo and if anyone can make Cher's dream closet a reality, it would be them.
So let's see how they did, shall we?
First things first.
What is it?
The Echo Look is a voice powered hands free camera that is used in conjunction with the Echo Look App, aiming to help the user chronicle their outfits and to "love your look. every day". The role out for this has been a bit strange, as the product was announced in 2017 yet a year later it still isn't available for sale. The product retails for $199.99 but you're only given an option to apply for an invite to purchase and Amazon has given no details as to who is or is not being accepted.
What does it do?
Utilizing Alexa voice technology, the Echo Look takes hands free full body photos and videos of your outfits, which are immediately uploaded to the Echo Look App and stored into Look Books.
The user can then add details about the items they wore and the occasion. The app automatically saves info about the weather for the day the photo was taken.
The photos are automatically saved to a section called "Daily Looks" as well as to folders created by season, but the user has the ability to create more categories called "Collections" to organize their wardrobe by occasion, color, item type, etc.
To me the most intriguing feature is Style Check, which uses machine learning to help the user determine which looks are most flattering. I was skeptical of this at first but was impressed at the Echo look's knowledge of current trends as when I put two equally (in my opinion) flattering outfits against each other the Echo Look consistently picked the look that was most aligned with current style trends. If the user isn't convinced by the Echo Look's choice, there is a community feature which allows you to crowdsource votes as to which look is most stylish.
The app also provides analysis of the colors you wear most, specific to item type, and product recommendations based on perceived gaps in your current wardrobe. There is editorial content from Vogue (for women) and GQ(for men) which makes using the app feel fun and inspirational, instead of tedious.
The Echo Look isn't perfect, but it's definitely worth using.
The main thing that differentiates it from the closet apps that have come before it, is the format. Rather than spend hours photographing every item in your wardrobe, the Echo Look enables you to get dressed normally then take a photo of your outfit. This is a much easier way to catalogue your wardrobe and has become a fun part of my daily routine.
I have a feeling that the Echo Look is something that I will love more as I continue to use it. I think the Daily Looks feature will be very interesting to go through when I have done it consistently for a few months, as I'll be able to watch my style evolve and see which items get the most and least use. I also see this being incredibly helpful when organizing outfits for travel and shoots as even when I try on my outfits in advance, I usually end up forgetting what goes with what by the time I arrive.
That being said, there are three things I see as drawbacks to the Echo Look.
The first is that it's difficult to get a great photo, as it feels pretty awkward to pose by yourself. The photos are good enough for personal use but definitely not anything I'd want to share publicly.
The second major drawback is privacy. I'm pretty much of the "privacy is dead" mindset at this point but even so, its worth noting that this is a camera that I am willfully allowing in my home, which shares even more of my data with a massive corporation and that could be hacked at any time. While there is an option to turn off the camera when not taking outfit pics, I don't trust the security fully and keep it in my living room instead of my bedroom, just in case.
The third drawback is product recommendations. Amazon's recommendation algorithm is already the best in the business, with this level of data it's only going to get even better. To me this is a mixed bag because while I'll get recommendations for products that I'd love, I'm also going to be encouraged to buy even more products I don't need, which is great for Amazon but bad for my wallet. Also means this prediction is likely to come true.
I received the Echo Look from Amazon for review purposes, as always, all opinions expressed i this article are my own.