Is the Amazon Echo Look Style Assistant Worth a Try?

While its "Invite Only" launch garnered a lot of privacy questions, the Amazon Echo Look became available for purchase to the general public this summer. I never posted about it, but back in January, I had picked one up and took it for a test spin. Here's what happened...

leanne luce using the amazon echo look with alexa for the fashion robot

Cataloging Outfits Daily

Being able to log my outfits daily was really helpful for me. In terms of understanding my own personal style, it helped me to see what was working and what wasn't by allowing me to flip through outfits seeing them side by side, even without the Artificial Intelligence features.

Out With the Old...

In fact, it even proved valuable in my recent move across the country to New York. I was able to decide which garments I needed to keep and which were simply not going to make the cut.

In With the New...

The app is loaded with an apparel recommendation engine that drives traffic directly to Amazon. However, it often gave recommendations for garments similar to the ones in the outfit I was wearing. This was of limited usefulness since I usually wasn't interested in buying more of what I already had.  On the flip side, some of the recommendations {like the one below} were more varied and the brands it was recommending were ones that resonated with me. 

the amazon echo look recommendation engine

It Gave Me a Makeover

The Echo Look gave me a make over, but it was not the makeover Amazon was advertising. In fact, at the time, I was pretty upset about what it did to my face. When it processed photos, the Echo Look applied smoothing to the face and darkening around the eyes giving the look of wearing eyeliner. It called into question a lot of ethical questions about photo-retouching done by intelligent agents without the user's consent.

The Ethics of Retouching

The ethics of retouching photos has been a sensitive topic in the photography community.  There is an industry retouching celebrities for the covers of magazines.  It's obvious that the images we consume have an effect on the way we perceive beauty ideals.  These images in turn affect our body image and our self-confidence.  What about the photos that are not taken by photographers or retouched by professionals, but instead intelligent agents?  Are they bound to the same conversation about ethics?

Style Comparisons

Probably the most talked about feature on this device is the Style Comparisons feature which is how it gives advice about what you should wear. While some times it was obvious that it had a preference for dresses and snugger-fitting garments, other times it was not obvious what made it choose one outfit over another.

the Amazon Echo Look Outfit Comparisons Feature

I was expecting the explanations to feel as personal and tailored as the style check did, but usually they didn't.

The Hardware

The hardware on the Amazon Echo Look is sort of decked out, including an Intel RealSense infrared sensor which gives it depth perception abilities often used in autonomous drones, robots, and AR/VR applications. You can take a look at everything in the Echo Look by watching the Teardown below.

All-in-all... what do you think?

It's a powerful little device and a handy way of collecting photos of outfits in your closet, but if privacy is an issue for you, I can't say I would recommend any of the Amazon Echo devices.  Otherwise, I genuinely had fun having it around!

Will the Echo Look be your new Style Assistant?
Will the Echo Look be your new Style Assistant?


Want to give it a spin?

The Amazon Echo Look

Available only on Amazon... I know, Bezos gets too much of my money too...