The fashion industry has always been at the forefront of innovation, constantly pushing boundaries and setting trends. MA Luxury Brand Management student, Iman Zahid Hafeez, reports on five innovative ways Artificial Intelligence is transforming the fashion industry now and how AI fashion will continue to grow in 2024.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly evolving and already being used in many sectors, including the fashion industry. Moreover, since its breakthrough in 2023, AI has been revolutionising the way fashion is produced, marketed, and consumed. Moreover, according to the findings from the BoF-McKinsey State of Fashion 2024 Survey, “73% of fashion executives said generative AI will be a priority for their businesses in 2024.” Although there is much controversy around AI’s integration into everyday life, there is also much for businesses to gain through AI fashion. Here, we take a look at five innovative ways AI is currently transforming the fashion industry and how it will continue to do so in 2024.
1. Achieving Sustainability
The fashion industry is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. As stated by the World Economic Forum, 75% of Generation Z shoppers prioritise sustainability. AI’s involvement can greatly accelerate progress in helping fashion retailers reduce unnecessary waste, water usage in production, pollution, and carbon emissions by measuring key environmental metrics during garment production. Brands like Stella McCartney have partnered with Google Cloud on a project that incorporates machine learning and cloud-based data processing to enhance supply chain transparency and make more responsible sourcing decisions.
2. Augmented Reality
One of the biggest challenges for e-commerce fashion retailers is the inability for customers to try on clothes before making a purchase. According to a 2023 survey conducted by Google and Ipsos of online shoppers in the US, findings indicated that 42% of online shoppers feel excluded due to the lack of representation in model images, while 59% experienced disappointment when the purchased items didn’t meet their expectations. As a result, AI has made virtual try-on technology a reality, improving the online shopping experience by addressing virtual sizing and fit issues. For example, Burberry has introduced an augmented reality (AR)-based shopping tool that allows customers to virtually experience Burberry products in their own surroundings, enhancing their online research and shopping experience. Additionally, Google Shopping aims to reduce sizing issues by increasing the availability of diverse models for virtual try-ons.
3. Driving Design & Creativity Through AI Fashion
Fashion brands are increasingly turning to machine learning technologies to detect trends and predict customer preferences for upcoming seasons. By collecting and analysing data from thousands of images, these technologies can provide invaluable insights that would not be possible for a designer to uncover manually. Tommy Hilfiger’s ‘Reimagine Retail’ project demonstrates how AI can be used in fashion to identify trends and streamline the design process. FIT students used AI-based tools and an archive of Tommy Hilfiger images to create a range of designs generated entirely by AI. Moreover, in Hong Kong, Calvin Wong introduced AiDA, a designer-centric AI system, which can generate blueprints from initial sketches and colour ideas, enabling designers to preserve their creativity whilst receiving suggestions for improvement. Indeed, AiDA was showcased at the “Fashion X AI” event, contributing to the production of 80+ outfits featuring unique silhouettes and design elements.
4. Trend Forecasting
In the past, fashion forecasters relied on qualitative methods such as observing runway shows, street fashion, and pop culture to predict trends. Nowadays, AI tools can analyse large sets of data including runway images, search and sales data, and social media posts. This enables quicker and more precise trend identification. For instance, Trendalytics, a New York-based company, leverages AI to extract insights from social media and Google. Furthermore, they assist retailers in evaluating the popularity and life cycle stages of fashion trends, ultimately helping them maximise sales.
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5. AI Fashion: Blended Photoshoots
Photography has been an integral part of the fashion industry for centuries. However, with the emergence of generative AI, these two fields have converged to create exciting and innovative ways of communicating and expressing art. Tools like DALL-E have empowered photographers to push the boundaries of what is possible and redefine the concept of fashion photography too. One notable example is Vogue Italia’s May issue, which showcased a groundbreaking collaboration between human and machine creativity. This project involved supermodel Bella Hadid, stylist Imruh Asha, photographer Carlijn Jacobs, AI artist Chad Nelson, and DALL-E, resulting in a unique blend of talent and technology.
Artificial Intelligence is propelling the fashion industry forward by creating a more sustainable future, improving customer experiences, and driving innovation and creativity. With its potential to revolutionise the industry, AI promises to have a far-reaching and lasting impact.
Words by Iman Zahid Hafeez – MA Luxury Brand Management student
Feature image generated by Sarah Butler – MA Creative Direction for Fashion Media student
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