Forma Closet

Forma sits at the intersection of fashion and computer vision, allowing users to virtually try on clothing - kind of like a modern version of Cher's closet from the cult classic, Clueless.

When I joined in August of 2020, Forma’s b2b product had found its footing in e-commerce, increasing conversion by allowing shoppers to try on clothing before they checked out. While that product was humming along, the team had set their sights on a potential consumer application of the Try On technology.

Team

Bradley Yin (Eng), Zach Thomas (Eng), Weilun Sun (CV Eng), Kewei Sui (CV Eng), Ryan Koziel (CD), Qianyi Zhou (CTO), Benjamin Chiang (CEO)

Role

Interaction, visual, and motion design, prototyping, ads, user research, product strategy

How it started

The consumer play began as an entertainment app. The fashion inclined would come to explore outfits from their favorite brands, using our Try On technology to see how they looked in them. My first project was to figure out how to encourage users to take an outfit they found and make it their own by adding to it from their saved items or Forma's extensive library.

How might we encourage users to style their own looks?

Mix & Match designs

Why won't they come back?

The biggest problem we had was retention. Users would sign up, add a photo of themselves to try on outfits, and spend the next 30 min to an hour exploring the app, never to be seen again. Opportunities to talk to our users were few and far between being a small app with low retention and even lower response rates. Using the few conversations we were able to have and our best judgement, we spent the next 6 months shipping a slew of features we hoped would help move the needle in the right direction.

Redesign homepage to include multiple new content categories with daily updates to keep the feed fresh and interesting

Add a robust search and discover experience to enable users to quickly find exactly what they're looking for and get inspiration

Host livestreams with our stylists where users can learn styling tips, celebrity fashion, and more

Redesign lookbooks to include sorting/filtering and similar lookbooks to increase engagement

Enable users to easily create lookbooks to organize looks and items they like

Allow users to engage with content and each other with comments

Retention

Session time

Lookbooks created

Sadly, we saw little change with these features. Our users just weren’t coming back. It was a tough reailty for us to accept and we began to question a lot of what we were doing. Were our ads targeting the wrong type of users? Was our Try On technology producing undesirable results? Maybe we just simply weren't building a product that resonated with anyone.

...I had been toying with an idea that envisoned Forma as a digital closet.

Pivot

For awhile, I had been toying with an idea that envisioned Forma as a digital closet. It would enable users to upload all their pieces, create outfits, and try them on conveniently from their phone, solving a utility use case instead of our original entertainment one.

I pitched this to the team and it was received enthusiastically. Everyone agreed that this new direction might have potential, but having just spent almost a year investing in a strategy that wasn't panning out, they were a little hesitant to switch gears so quickly. I went ahead and conducted a research study to validate some assumptions and help everyone feel a little more confident. After 6, hour long, sessions we ended up with some really great learnings, the most salient being...

With everyone now on board, I got to work designing. Almost a year after joining, I had come back to the same problem — "How might we encourage users to style their own outfits?" — only this time, it had taken on a completely new light.

Before, we were asking users to create outfits they may never have the opportunity to wear. We had hoped that allowing them to shop the outfits, get feedback from other users, etc. would be enough to close the loop and keep them coming back for more, but that clearly wasn't the case.

With this new direction, all the pieces were finally falling into place. The outfits they'd style would be ones they could actually put on and enjoy in the real world. They could take an item they found online and see how it worked with the pieces they already owned. We could integrate with calendar and weather services to help users plan better, use data to encourage them utilize more of what they owned, and allow friends to create outfits together using each other's closets. And best of all, the people we talked to were excited about it! It really felt like we were onto something.

Video I created for our revamped App Store page

User's entire closet organized nicely in one place

Add items

Create an outfit and visualize it on a photo of yourself

Outfit details

Add items from web

Retention

Items added

Looks created

Of course, we didn't expect to hit the nail on the head right away. We had assumed that because this experience was centered around users adding items to their digital closet, we'd see a sizeable increase in that behavior. And while we did see a nominal increase in items added per user, what we realized we needed was for them to add more items of different categories (tops, bottoms, outerwear, etc) so they could experience that "aha" moment of putting together a full outfit. How could we encourage users to add more items to their closet?

Any given closet consists of a variety of clothing. Your favorite jacket, a new dress, the sweater your grandmother knitted you for the holidays that you never wear. Among all of those items are basic, foundational items - black jeans, a white t-shirt, etc. If we could help users add these basic items to get started, we hypothesized that they'd have what they needed to start creating more outfits.

How could we encourage users to add more items to their closet?

Onboard users by encouraging them to add basic items to their closet

They can also view more specific basic items

Once added, the items will appear in their closet

Retention

Items added

Looks created

Acquisition

In June of 2021, this project came to a sudden and bittersweet end. Forma was acquired (yay!) and this project was shelved (boo) to focus on integrating our Try On experience into our new ecosystem. There were a lot of really exciting projects in the pipline from helping users take a great try on photo to recommendations and collaborative outfits. While these projects likely won't see the light of day, our learnings have been an integral part of both the product strategy and design of the newest application of our Try On technology.