As Disney introduces the plus-size ballerina, this app points to fashion tech as a path to body confidence

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The fashion app, 28, believes technology could help end some of the body confidence issues portrayed in a new Disney+ movie. The short film, titled Reflect, tells the story of Bianca, a plus-size ballerina who struggles with the reflection in the mirror. Part of what makes it so vital is the current cultural landscape that promotes body dysmorphia and distinction of weight.

“For all children, representation matters. Reflect is a beautiful way for little girls to see themselves in a way that truly reflects them,” says Sarah Rahman, fashion marketing manager at 28, a new app committed to making women’s online personal style inclusive, stress-free and empowering. The name “28” comes from the number of hours the average woman spends each month in front of a mirror wondering what she looks like while getting dressed.

Rahman isn’t afraid of the fashion industry’s role in creating the low self-esteem that makes movies like Reflect if necessary.

“The more a woman is told she doesn’t fit in, the more she wants to find what she’s missing.” This is what the fashion industry thrives on the most. When there’s a whole economic infrastructure that thrives on making women feel like they need the best thing or won’t be up to date with the latest beauty standards, the motivation becomes to bank on low self-esteem. women and girls, instead of educating them so they know they are already worthy and have what they need.

Rahman says diverse body representation is important, but isn’t the only antidote to the kinds of problems that Reflect depicts. She sees fashion technology as an additional pathway to a world where women can be freed from some of the pitfalls that lead to body dysmorphia. 28’s technology helps customers experience their wardrobe and body in a virtual space, reducing the sometimes stressful time spent in front of a mirror and allowing the user to normalize the appearance of their body through artificial intelligence (IA).

28 has developed an AI camera that captures the user’s body, as well as any item of clothing in their wardrobe. The camera detects body shape and skin tone, reads over 32 key points on the user’s body, and adapts items based on that data. Rahman says over 100,000 items were put through machine learning, creating a high level of accuracy for a digitally rendered wardrobe. This process leads to a personalized experience in the app, not in front of the mirror, and based on the user, not a model.

“Advances in fashion and technology are progressing to be all-inclusive,” Rahman shares. “28 uses AI, big data, computer-aided design (CAD) for 2D and 3D sketching, computer vision (also known as image recognition), and extended reality (XR), which covers the digital and physical worlds.

Rahman says 28’s mission is to give women the tools to build a future where they can feel their best. As important as it is to see stories like Reflectfashion technology like the 28’s can pave the way for a future where it’s not so urgent.

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