Shoppers can narrow down the apparel retailer’s product selection by clicking icons that represent the features they want in an outfit.

Shoppers on will no longer be limited to typing in fashion terms to find an item for purchase. The apparel retailer Forever 21 has launched artificial intelligence-powered visual search and navigation on its e-commerce site.

Instead of typing in the search bar, shoppers can click icons that represent the features they want in an outfit, such as type of item, neckline, sleeve style, pattern, color and more. Every clothing category has a different set of visual features tailored to that category.

The feature will appear as a module on the mobile web at and on the retailer’s mobile app as “Design Your Style.”

Visual search was originally launched on the Forever 21 iOS app on May 18 for dresses and tops. After a month, Forever 21 saw an increase in sales conversions and a 20% increase in average purchase value for the two test categories, the retailer says.


The visual search technology was developed by search platform technology company Donde Search, which uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to provide shoppers with more relevant search results.

“Visual search technology bridges the gap between the convenience of online shopping and the rich discovery experience of traditional retail by enabling our customers to search for clothing in the same way they think about it—using visuals, not words,” says, Alex Ok, president of Forever 21.

Donde Search’s technology uses an algorithm that mimics the way shoppers think about products and provides more relevant recommendations and a better overall experience, the company says.


“Forever 21 decided to incorporate this technology for two main reasons: One is to simplify the user experience for online shoppers to enable them to find the relevant items from the enormous growing catalog—tens of thousands of items,” says a spokesman for Donde Search. “Second, they wanted to reduce the time and manual effort to launch new items online–as in fast fashion they launch thousands of items every day. Donde Search automated merchandising and enabled an intuitive user experience that mimics the way people think about products, visually by attributes.”

Forever 21 is No. 266 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 500.