Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.
An Oxford University tech spinout has invented a ‘ground breaking’ AI tool that scans users’ bodies to provide accurate clothing measurements, with the intention of streamlining the online shopping experience and saving UK retailers billions in returns.
Initially founded in 2019 by Duncan McKay, INSEAD MBA and Phil Torr, Professor of Computer Vision and Deep Learning at the University of Oxford, the tech firm went on to be awarded two Innovate UK Grants, and one Future Fashion Factory Grant in partnership with the University of Leeds with funding totalling approximately £1.2 million.
McKay said: “I have worked for L’Oreal, Unilever and PepsiCo coming up with new product ideas and consumer solutions – I built an £18m net revenue business in a year whilst at PepsiCo. I got into this because I love innovating – I get a kick out of innovation, building and scaling businesses. I founded Aistetic with Phil Torr as I experienced the problem of poor-fitting clothes personally and we both felt that we could solve this with a technology solution. With the development of our patent-pending solution, we quickly realised that our purpose is bigger than that – we want to make next-gen 3D body modelling available to anyone with a mobile device.”
McKay said: “Using our tool, consumers can record themselves using their phone, tablet or computer to receive their measurements with 98% accuracy. They just need to stand back in front of the camera and turn for 10 seconds. We want to empower people with their body data to make more informed decisions that are right for them and using this tool can reduce rates of return by up to 30%. Our next step is to develop a no code solution for Shopify customers – this will make our grey labelled solution entirely no code and available on Shopify’s app marketplace platform.”
High rates of returns are not only a significant profit drag to retailers growing online businesses, they’re also a huge environmental drain of the polluting fashion sector – which the UN estimates as contributing 10% of global carbon emissions.
McKay said: “The carbon footprint of a return can be as high as 4.2 kg of carbon if the garment is taken back into the store. This is something that we often don’t think about. This technology is easily accessible – it’s a low-code solution that can be pasted into any site – and will help to promote a more responsible approach to clothing.”
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