What’s all the hubbub about AI these days?
AI, or artificial intelligence, is everywhere these days. From self-driving cars to smart speakers, AI is changing the way we live, work, and play. But what about fashion? How is AI affecting the fashion industry, and what does it mean for fashion brands and consumers?
AI is the use of data, algorithms, and machine learning to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as recognizing patterns, making decisions, and generating content. AI can help fashion businesses and consumers in various ways, such as improving efficiency, creativity, profitability, and customer experience.
In this blog post, we will look at some of the benefits and challenges of AI in fashion, as well as some of the examples of how AI is transforming the fashion industry.
Where is Fashion AI Headed?
AI is not a new concept in fashion. In fact, fashion has always been influenced by technology and innovation. However, AI is taking fashion to a whole new level by enabling new possibilities and opportunities for fashion businesses and consumers.
AI is headed towards becoming more integrated, intelligent, and interactive in the fashion industry. AI can help fashion businesses and consumers connect better with each other and with the fashion products and services they offer and use. AI can also help fashion businesses and consumers create better and more personalized fashion products and services that suit their needs and wants.
Here are some of the ways that AI is headed in the fashion industry:
- Integrated: AI can help integrate different aspects of the fashion value chain, such as design, production, marketing, and sales. AI can help create a seamless and consistent fashion experience across different channels, platforms, and devices. For example, Tommy Hilfiger’s TMY.GRL chatbot uses AI to provide customers with personalized styling advice and product recommendations across Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and its website.
- Intelligent: AI can help enhance the intelligence of fashion products and services by using data and machine learning to generate insights and solutions. AI can help create smarter and more adaptive fashion products and services that can learn from data and feedback and improve over time. For example, Nike’s Adapt BB sneakers use AI to automatically adjust the fit and pressure of the shoes based on the user’s activity and preference.
- Interactive: AI can help increase the interactivity of fashion products and services by using natural language processing (NLP), computer vision (CV), and speech recognition (SR) to enable natural and engaging communication. AI can help create more immersive and interactive fashion products and services that can understand and respond to human language, gestures, and emotions. For example, Gucci’s Try On app uses AI to allow customers to virtually try on different sunglasses and share their selfies with friends.
Benefits and Challenges of Fashion AI
AI can offer many benefits and challenges to both fashion businesses and consumers, such as:
- Efficiency: AI can help streamline and optimize the fashion value chain, from design to distribution. AI can reduce human errors, save time and resources, and increase productivity and quality. For example, Amazon’s Echo Look, a smart camera that acts as a personal stylist, uses AI to analyze the outfits of users and give them feedback and suggestions.
- Creativity: AI can help stimulate and enhance the creativity of designers and consumers. AI can provide inspiration, guidance, and feedback to designers based on data and trends. AI can also enable consumers to express their individuality and preferences by creating or customizing their own designs. For example, Google’s Project Muze, a fashion experiment that uses AI to generate unique designs based on the personality and mood of users.
- Profitability: AI can help boost the profitability of fashion businesses by increasing sales, reducing costs, and improving customer loyalty. AI can help fashion businesses understand their customers better, predict their behavior and preferences, and offer them personalized products and services. AI can also help fashion businesses reduce inventory costs, waste, and returns by enabling on-demand and customized production. For example, H&M’s Data Dress, a personalized dress that uses AI to create a design based on the data collected from the user’s smartphone.
- Customer Experience: AI can help improve the customer experience by creating seamless and interactive shopping journeys. AI can provide customers with convenient and engaging ways to shop online or offline, such as virtual assistants, chatbots, smart mirrors, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR). AI can also provide customers with more choices, recommendations, and feedback based on their needs and wants. For example, Macy’s On Call, a mobile app that uses AI to provide customers with information and assistance in stores.
- Data Quality: AI relies heavily on data to function properly. However, data quality can be an issue in the fashion industry. Data can be incomplete, inaccurate, outdated, or biased. Data can also be difficult to collect, store, process, and analyze due to its complexity and diversity. For example, fashion data can include images, text, audio, video, and sensor data from various sources and platforms.
- Ethical Issues: AI raises some ethical issues that need to be addressed by fashion businesses and regulators. Some of these issues include privacy, security, transparency, accountability, and fairness. For example, fashion businesses need to ensure that they protect the personal data of their customers and employees and use it responsibly and legally. Fashion businesses also need to ensure that they do not discriminate against or harm any groups or individuals with their AI applications and products.
- Human Factors: AI can affect the human factors involved in the fashion industry, such as skills, jobs, emotions, and values. AI can create new opportunities and challenges for designers, manufacturers, marketers, and salespeople by changing their roles and responsibilities and requiring them to learn new skills and adapt to new technologies. AI can also influence the emotions and values of consumers by affecting their perception, preference, and satisfaction with fashion products and services. For example, fashion consumers may feel more empowered or alienated by using AI tools or products.
Examples of Fashion AI
AI is already being used by many fashion brands and retailers to transform various aspects of the fashion industry, such as design, production, marketing, and sales. Here are some examples of how AI is transforming the fashion industry:
- Design: AI can help designers create new and innovative designs by analyzing trends, preferences, and feedback from customers and experts. AI can also generate original designs or suggest modifications based on style, color, fabric, and occasion. For instance, Stitch Fix, an online personal styling service, uses AI to create customized outfits for its clients based on their profiles and feedback.
- Production: AI can help optimize the production process by reducing waste, improving quality, and increasing speed. AI can also enable on-demand and customized production by using 3D printing, smart fabrics, and digital fitting. For example, Zozosuit, a smart bodysuit developed by Japanese online retailer Zozo, uses AI to measure the body shape of customers and produce clothes that fit them perfectly.
- Marketing: AI can help enhance the marketing strategy by providing personalized recommendations, targeted ads, and engaging content. AI can also leverage social media, influencers, and user-generated content to increase brand awareness and loyalty. For example, Asos, a British online fashion retailer, uses AI to analyze the photos of customers who tag the brand on Instagram and offer them similar products on its website.
- Sales: AI can help improve the sales performance by creating seamless and interactive shopping experiences. AI can also provide virtual assistants, chatbots, and smart mirrors to assist customers with their queries, choices, and purchases. For example, Alibaba’s FashionAI store in China uses AI to display real-time recommendations on smart screens based on the items that customers pick up or try on.
What do you think? How do you see AI impacting your fashion brand?
AI is not only a trend but a necessity for the fashion industry in the 21st century. By embracing AI, fashion businesses can gain a competitive edge and satisfy the ever-changing needs and wants of consumers. AI is indeed the next big thing in fashion.
But what do you think? How do you see AI impacting your fashion brand? Do you use or plan to use any AI tools or products in your fashion business or consumption? What are the benefits and challenges that you face or expect to face with AI in fashion? Share your thoughts and opinions with us in the comments below.