UK online fashion retailer ASOS is ramping up its use of augmented reality (AR) technology to simulate real-life model photography in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Using technology developed by Israeli AR and AI firm Zeekit and trialled at the start of the year in ‘See My Fit’, Asos will be offering customers a simulated view of up to 500 products each week on six real-life models.

By digitally mapping each product onto the model, taking account of the size, cut and fit of each garment, the technology ensures product presentation remains as realistic and engaging as possible while supporting social distancing by removing the need for models to enter the Asos Studios.

“We’re fortunate enough to have been experimenting with Zeekit’s AR technology for a while, which has meant that we could scale this tech up at short notice,” says Tim Carey, senior content manager at Asos Studios. “It’s a great tool for us to have at our disposal, helping us drop new items on-site each week and provide customers with realistic product images in a studio setting, while protecting the wellbeing of our models and staff.”

The introduction of the new tech follows a range of Asos initiatives designed to protect model and staff wellbeing, including asking models and ‘Asos Insiders’ to shoot products from home, and using more ‘flat shot’ images where items are photographed on a hanger rather than on a model.

Last month, the retailer posted record first-half revenues and profits for the six months to 29 February but was prompted to conduct a share sale to shore up its finances on the back of a 20-25% sales fall in the most recent three weeks of trading since containment measures were introduced.

Despite the dip, Sofie Willmott, lead retail analyst at GlobalData, noted Asos’ broad product offer across casualwear, loungewear and athleisure puts it in a “better position” than some of its competitors that rely heavily on occasion and partywear ranges, such as Boohoo and Quiz.