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RFID hangers know what you're shopping for

A men's clothing retailer in Tokyo trots out smart hangers that trigger ads when you browse for duds.

A clerk at Vanquish shows how the RFID hangers work.
Tim Hornyak/CNET

TOKYO--If you're a fashionable young blade in Tokyo, chances are you buy your fur-lined parkas, leopard-print leggings, and lace-up boots at 109 Men's in the uber-hip 'hood of Shibuya.

The male counterpart to the go-to gyaru retail mecca, Shibuya 109, has one store that recently added a high-tech twist to rack-browsing: hangers that can tell what you're interested in.

Street-smart casual clothier Vanquish has a rack of original Adidas clothing as well as sneakers suspended on RFID-tagged hangers.

When you pick up an article, the tag triggers one of the large screens above the rack to display fashion-shoot pics of the article you selected.

The hangers were developed by Tokyo tech firm Teamlab. They look like regular hangers except for a large central rectangle housing the RFID tag.

The novelty is designed to help men with their shopping decisions, according to a Vanquish clerk, but the hangers didn't always trigger the images when I picked the Adidas tracksuits off the rack.

I didn't really get the point of looking at magazine photos of sneakers or a hoodie when I had the real thing in front of me. Then again, I suppose pictures, like mannequins, can make clothes look more appealing by giving one a sense of how they are worn.

Teamlab, meanwhile, plans to bring its smart hangers to other brands.