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Apparel and accessories

Artificial intelligence could be a major fashion force in the near future

August 28, 2017

Amazon is one of the major players in AI-driven fashion. Image credit: Amazon


In an era of fast fashion, latching onto trends quickly is key to successful apparel designs, but could AI designers make fast fashion even faster?

Amazon is reportedly working on machine learning technology that can analyze what makes an outfit stylish and theoretically create entirely new designs along those lines. With this potential in mind, artificial intelligence could be a key factor in the future of fashion design.

Artificial intelligence
Amazon’s foray into nearly any new industry is usually met with fear and disruption. So far, the online retail giant has taken over books, streaming services, groceries and more.

Now, it seems that Amazon has set its sights on fashion.

The company has announced a number of new fashion-related initiatives, including new brands, fashion services and more.

Prime Wardrobe, for example, is an Amazon service that lets customers try on clothes before they buy them.

Sephora's AI Virtual Artist tool. Image credit: Sephora

But Amazon has also been leveraging its AI and machine learning tech along with fashion. Most notably, its Echo home assistant can give feedback on outfits.

MIT Technology Review reports that Amazon has developed an algorithm that can analyze trends in a series of images of clothing and put together new designs that roughly follow the same pattern.

While the technology is still nascent and not quite ready for the runway, the possibilities are immediately apparent. A simple AI fashion designer could be shown a series of pieces following an emerging trend and quickly create rough outlines for new pieces along the same lines.

From there, human designers could take the initial designs and refine them further.

While impressive, purists may be unsettled at the idea of something as creative and uniquely human as creating fashion being done by a computer. For them, it is important to note that these designs will most likely be used only as a springboard for human designers to jump off from.

AI designers

Retailers and brands are beginning to place more stock in the ability of artificial intelligence to make marketing teams more efficient and lighten their workload.

Artificial Intelligence is on the rise behind-the-scenes at businesses across sectors, and a recent Forrester report showed that the majority of companies believe that AI will shift their priorities from more high-level, strategic views and away from mundane workflows. This research was conducted by Forrester and commissioned by Emarsys, a marketing cloud company (see story).

AI has already been in use in a number of industries.

Appassionato luxury smartphone. Image credit: Turing Robotics

Beauty retailer Sephora is helping consumers achieve their desired beauty look with help from artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

The color matching feature on the Sephora Virtual Artist bot for Facebook Messenger has been extended to Sephora’s mobile applications for iOS and Android, allowing consumers to find and try on product shades that correspond to hues in images. The retailer’s updates also include the expansion of its try-on feature to cheek color cosmetics for the first time (see story).

In addition to fashion and beauty, luxury electronics are also getting in on the AI game.

Turing Robotic Industries, a San Francisco-based company focused on mobile technology, is releasing a new high-end smartphone that comes with a built-in concierge service.

Turing's smartphone is called Appassionato, meaning “enthusiast” in Italian, as well as being a play on words with the word “app.” Appassionato’s main selling point however is an on-board digital concierge named Sir Alan who, Turing boasts, can assist in managing every part of an owner's life (see story).

With Amazon’s entry into the world of fashion using AI, popular support for the technology could be just around the bend, particularly if Amazon’s rudimentary AI fashion designs pick up steam.