With jeans in stock for as much as $200, American Rag Cie wants customers to take a good hard look in the dressing-room mirror -- at their butts. The chain's self-dubbed "ass cam" allows shoppers to check out their denim-wrapped rears on monitors embedded in the looking glass. Now, they can see how the jeans fit in this critical area without having to twist their necks like a mama giraffe searching for her young. The rear view is streamed from a camera located at derriere level in the try-on stall.
Customers at the Los Angeles and Newport Beach, Calif., stores are now requesting the monitor by its colorful name, and retailers around the world have begun to inquire about installing their own, Mark Werts, the chain's founder and CEO, who developed the camera, told DailyFinance.
Werts said he spent a year perfecting the angle and lighting before using them in his outlets.
"It occurred to us that the No. 1 reason that convinces people to purchase a pair of jeans is how their ass looks in them," he said. "We decided then that there had to be a way to make fitting into jeans a convenient and fun experience instead of having people crane their necks or twist their backs trying to be sure that what they're wearing is a good fit."
The Denim Demographic
Any device that can help match consumers with pricier couture denim could be a boon to the industry. Women in big cities are willing to spend big bucks on designer jeans, studies show. One survey from Consumer Reports' ShopSmart said 8 of 10 women in New York City spend more than $100 on a pair.
"The ass cam puts us ahead of the curve in providing our customers with the best possible shopping experience," Werts said.
A few shoppers at American Rag were hesitant at first because they feared the cameras were recording, but they just create a streaming feed -- there's no digital storage at all, store manager Sarah Koenig said.
As the rear-view monitor has gained popularity, more men are requesting the three specially rigged dressing rooms in American Rag's World Denim Bar section and on the main floor.
But has the jeans emporium solved the eternal dilemma of men being asked by their mates, "Do these jeans make my butt look big?"
"No," Koenig laughed, "that all still happens."
For Jeans Shoppers, a New Way to Check Out Your Rear View