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Artificial Intelligence Changing Fashion and the Future

by Laura Brewer
7 minutes read

Is Artificial Intelligence Right for The Fashion Industry? 



YES, technology is transforming so many of the industries around us, so why stop at fashion? We know that nothing can ever take the place of human creativity in the designing process, but AI (Artificial Intelligence) can be used in assembling, manufacturing, merchandising and even guiding customers on what to buy resulting in better customer satisfaction and higher sale rates.


Two years ago, there was an experiment testing the idea of Artificial Intelligence with designing fashion in a partnership with Zalando, a German fashion platform. This experiment was called “Project Muze”. Project Muze was an attempt at building a neural network capable of making creative decisions resulting in virtual fashions that are transformed into real-life clothing. Google showed the neural network things like color, texture and style preferences from more than 600 fashion experts to train it. It then learned to connect those preferences back to people with similar interests. 

The program asks a series of questions narrowing your preference of style between male, female or unisex. It also asks your favorite music, favorite art movement, current mood, finally it asks you to draw on the mannequin on the screen. It then comes back with a photo of the outfit it chose based on your answers and drawing.


The fashion creations from Project Muze in 2016 are just odd. 

As we look back through the years and of failures and successes, 2019 will be the year leading innovators begin to reveal-and revel in-the possibilities offered by Artificial Intelligence across all parts of the fashion value chain. Over the past couple of years, AI has expanded considerably as a result of increasingly large and diverse data sets, advancement in key algorithms and unprecedented levels of mathematical computing power. Although fashion has been a leader in this sphere so far, we expect to see fashion companies on the digital frontier demonstrate this potential as they start to deploy breakthrough AI innovations!


Track Fashion Trends Based on Generation and Location


Fashion reveals how people use clothes to express themselves. Fashion is also a reflection of the culture in specific locations. 

If you do a quick search of #fashion on Instagram, more than a billion results come up. It would be impossible for one person to detect trends or insights from so much data. This is where Artificial Intelligence comes into play and creates a map of style trends and influences by analyzing millions of publicly shared photos on social media. AI can answer questions like: How many people wore black t-shirts in Los Angeles today compared to three years ago, or, where in the world is the hijab most prevalent?


Using AI in the fashion industry can be a big opportunity for many businesses. AI gives you an opportunity to see what is trending and what colors and shapes are most popular. You can then use that information to create new designs or improve a product. This allows companies to target their marketing toward a certain place or even predict what people will be wearing in the future. It also gives companies insight to create new designs or improve a product.

“Artificial intelligence is about tapping the untapped potential.”


Personalized shopping experience


Online shopping has seemingly infinite choices on virtual isles, and psychologists believe that online shoppers are feeling overwhelmed, less satisfied with their purchases and thus more hesitant to make buying decisions. 

The solution to this is personalization, which offers a more engaging and positive experience to customers. 

Artificial Intelligence uses machine learning to remember and analyze shopping history, page clicks, likes, shares, purchases, even down to how long a page is visited for, to gauge interest in certain products. AI then tailor’s recommendations to the interests and habits of each individual customer.


AI-driven visual search


“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. Early data shows that this is one of the most important innovations in the eCommerce space in recent years.”

Forever 21 President, Alex Ok

Fashion Retailers

AI Technology for smaller retailers

For smaller retailers working with a tighter budget, a great consideration is AI for content analytics and tagging, which can relieve your data teams by enabling them to focus on other important tasks. In general, smaller retailers should think about ways that technology can improve the customer experience and gain their customer base. This could involve personalizing an offer for a customer or to make the actual shopping experience more differentiated versus other retail competition. 

AI Technology for retailers with bigger customer bases

When it comes to the larger retailers whose customers are more diverse and more abundantly, it is important to provide helpful technology-based services that enable your brand to stay competitive with the top, most customer-friendly technology on the market. Your customers are looking to engage with your brand in exciting ways that mimic the experience that is customer-centric, easy to navigate, and futuristic in a sense, and it’s up to you to ensure that the journey is fun, helpful and interactive. 

Supply Chain Inventory Management

Real-time inventory tracking (e.g. with RFID), warehouse management or operational procurement helps keep your orders moving forward and on time, creates a better customer service within customer orders.


What Fashion Industries are using AI now? 

Nike has a system in place called Grabit, which uses static electricity to assemble shoes and works at a pace 20-times faster than a human alone could do. 

Forever 21 is using AI-driven visual search to improve customers’ shopping experience. Forever 21 partnered with Donde Search to build its “Discover Your Style” feature that helps shoppers search visually rather than typing key words and attributes into a search bar. Users narrow down the selection of clothing by tapping icons representing styles, colors, length and more to narrow down their search parameters. 

Adidas is using machine learning to deliver custom sneakers in just 24 hours. 

Artificial Intelligence is also being used to combat luxury fakes 

Goat, one of the largest marketplaces for selling authentic sneakers is using machine learning to verify that each pair of high-end sneakers are authentic. 

“We use a lot of different heuristics and data points to verify whether the shoe is authentic or not. We see the most sneakers in the world. And we are the leader in data collection around sneakers. So, every shoe that comes in, we’re collecting all the data points for it. So, we actually, we know what fakes look like. And we know what real shoes look like. Every single sneaker has multiple data points that we focus on.”

Shin explained.

Another company, Entrupy is also using the same anti-counterfeit algorithms based on immense databases of information on top luxury brands. They use these databases to look for the tiniest of inconsistencies, ensuring that customers get exactly what they pay for. 

According to Maysa Razavi, the Anticounterfeiting Manager for the International Trademark Association, shoppers often don’t know that the same people who are counterfeiting are involved in human trafficking and terrorism. The next time you don a head-to-toe Gucci ensemble, keep in mind that the clutch you bought for a bargain could be lining the pockets of an underworld kingpin.


There are so many amazing things that are going on behind the scenes of fashion that are creating the ultimate experience for us as shoppers. We are excited for the advancements to come in the integration with Artificial Intelligence and fashion!

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