Dr. Ayesha Khanna is the CEO of Addo.
Did you spot Naomi Campbell wearing an AI pin during the Paris Fashion Week?
Well, that was just the tip of the iceberg that took center stage during September’s fashion showcases. From Hillary Taymour’s AI creations at New York Fashion Week to the custom AI designs by Acne Studio in Paris, AI is making waves in the fashion world.
Looking ahead, AI is set to inject $150 to $275 billion into the profits of the apparel, fashion and luxury sectors in the next three to five years, promising greater inclusivity, sustainability and creativity.
AI’s influence is multifaceted, spanning from personalized styling and optimized supply chains to AI-driven designs and creativity. Here are five ways AI is influencing fashion.
1. Personalized Styling And Recommendations
Personalization stands at the forefront of modern retail, with 73% of customers expecting brands to understand their individual tastes and preferences. Here, AI can be pivotal in delivering tailored styling and recommendations.
For instance, Stitch Fix uses AI to craft personalized style profiles, gathering 90 specific data points via a detailed survey. This includes style preferences, dress size, height and location, enabling algorithms to rank and recommend clothing items tailored to individual tastes.
Meanwhile, Styleriser, a B2B German company, leverages AI to offer personalized image consulting solutions, acting as a digital shopping assistant by recommending ideal colors based on individual skin tones.
As per Segment’s 2023 report, 56% of customers are more likely to become repeat buyers with personalized experiences. It highlights that customer loyalty hinges on brand experiences, which can be improved using AI.
2. Achieving Sustainability
The fashion industry grapples with a hefty 186 billion pounds of textile waste annually, and 87% of all material used ends up in landfills or incinerators. Addressing this wastage is vital for fostering a circular fashion economy.
Tech innovations, particularly AI, are essential in optimizing supply chains and curbing waste. Companies such as H&M and Zara are integrating AI into RFID technology and clothing tags with microchips, facilitating informed forecasting decisions, inventory visibility and minimizing waste.
An example of waste reduction is Refiberd, which utilizes an AI Waste Sorting System that redirects up to 70% of textile waste (as per them) toward valuable recycling processes. They employ AI-powered hyperspectral imaging to sort waste by identifying fiber composition and contaminants, while automated trim removal from clothing ensures efficient recycling.
With 75% of Gen-Z shoppers prioritizing sustainability over brand names, AI’s involvement can boost progress significantly.
3. AI-Driven Design And Creativity
Whether it’s using simple text-to-image models like Dall-E or Midjourney to generate jewelry and clothing design ideas or using AI to design based on a designer’s specific style, AI is a creative ally.
Last year, Mango introduced ‘Inspire,’ an AI platform for designing prints and fabrics, resulting in over 20 co-created garments with AI. Mango also unveiled Lisa, a conversational AI model, and since 2018, has developed around 15 AI models for tasks like pricing and enhancing customer experience.
In Hong Kong, Calvin Wong introduced AiDA, a designer-centric AI system that generates blueprints from initial sketches and color ideas, preserving the designer’s creativity while offering suggestions for improvement. At the “Fashion X AI” event, AiDA contributed to 80+ outfits, showcasing unique silhouettes and design elements.
Nike used AI in designing the ISPA Universal shoe by feeding three previous shoe models to the algorithm and produced an eco-friendly shoe made from materials like Bio-EVA foam derived from sugar cane.
From AI-generated blueprints to conceptual street-inspired clothing, AI is fueling creativity by assisting designers in creating unique and innovative pieces.
4. Trend Forecasting
Fashion forecasters once relied on qualitative methods, observing runway shows, street fashion and pop culture to predict trends. Today, AI tools analyze diverse datasets, like runway images, search and sales data, and social media posts, enabling quicker and more precise trend identification.
For example, a Paris-based AI platform, Heuritech, analyzes millions of daily images shared on social media to provide up-to-date trend analysis, assisting fashion brands in designing collections aligned with customer needs.
Trendalytics, based in New York, leverages AI to extract retail insights from social media and Google trends. It assists retailers in gauging fashion trend popularity and life cycle stages, ultimately aiding them in maximizing sales.
AI-based trend forecasting can not only be profitable but also help in being sustainable by avoiding out-of-trend production.
5. Enhancing Customer Experience: Improving Virtual Sizing
According to Google, 42% of online shoppers expressed feeling left out by the lack of representation in model images, while 59% reported disappointment when purchased items didn’t match their expectations.
AI can improve the online shopping experience by addressing virtual sizing and fit issues. Nike Fit, for example, employs AI to recommend shoe sizes by scanning users’ feet through a smartphone camera.
The sizing issue can also be improved by increasing the number of diverse models available for virtual try-on, as achieved by Google’s latest AI-powered virtual try-on for Google Shopping that features over 40 women of different shapes and colors as models.
Similarly, Walmart’s AI tool, “Be Your Own Model,” enables shoppers to try on clothes virtually by uploading their own photos instead of relying on existing fashion models.
AI can also generate models for virtual try-ons, as seen with Levi’s collaboration with Lalaland.ai, embracing inclusivity and aiming to alleviate consumer frustrations with misrepresented body types.
The recent AI Fashion Week in New York exemplifies the exciting possibilities on the horizon, with the winners currently working with Revolve to bring their AI designs to the market. Also, the recent fashion statement made by Ray-Ban and Meta through their AI smart glasses shows the promising future of AI in the fashion industry.
So, whether you’re a fashion enthusiast or a designer looking to push the boundaries of creativity, keep an eye on the ever-evolving link between AI and fashion. It’s not just about what’s in style today; it’s about defining the future of fashion tomorrow.