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Amazon's new $200 Alexa device will give you advice on your outfits

Meet the Echo Look.

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Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Alexa, how do I look?

On Wednesday, Amazon introduced its latest Alexa-powered device, a gadget with a built-in camera that is being marketed as a way to photograph, organize and get recommendations on outfits. Of course, Amazon will then try to sell you clothing, too.

The new version of the popular Echo — this one is being dubbed the Echo Look — responds to commands like “Alexa, take a photo” or “Alexa, take a video.” It costs $200, or $20 more than the original Echo device, and does all the same things the cheaper one does, with new additions.

People can view the photos Alexa snaps in an accompanying app and track what they’ve worn on which day. Photos and videos can also easily be shared to social networks, which may be attractive to Instagram power users, for examples.

Images can also be uploaded to a new feature that will tell you which of two outfits suits you best. Yes, Amazon — through a combination of an employee and a computer recommendation — is judging your looks.

The marketing copy on the Echo Look product page includes a hodgepodge of tech buzzwords like computer vision and machine learning. In reality, this means that Amazon’s computers are storing and analyzing your pictures and videos to sell you more stuff.

Amazon will use this visual analysis of your current outfits to recommend new brands and clothing for you in the accompanying app. You can be sure Amazon will include choices from some of its own clothing brands, such as Lark & Ro.

Amazon can also target ads to you later based on the information it gleans from these photos and videos. Can Amazon provide enough value to get people people to buy into this and the creep factor of an Amazon video camera in their bedroom? That I don’t know.

The product is the latest step in a years-long journey by Amazon to become a top player in the fashion and apparel industries. The company has created a handful of its own clothing brands in the last two years and has continued to recruit mainstream fashion brands to sell on its platform. By some estimates, Amazon is already the top seller of apparel to millennials and could overtake Macy’s as the largest U.S. clothing seller this year.

The product also looks like a way to attempt to court shoppers who don’t currently look at Amazon as a fashion destination. To that end, the launch could be viewed as another take on Stitch Fix, the fast-growing e-commerce styling service.

Stitch Fix uses algorithms plus input from human stylists to make recommendations to customers and then ships items to their homes. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has previously expressed his intrigue with the power of combining human taste with computer recommendations to make styling decisions.

To be sure, Amazon will also use the device to gather feedback on its camera’s performance. Recode previously reported the company is working on an Alexa device that would have phone call and intercom features that could include a video camera. It would not be surprising to see Amazon get into home security cameras, too.

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