The Future of Fashion through Generative AI
Through the rise of Web 3, Generative AI has increasingly become part of everyday life. MA Luxury Brand Strategy & Business student, Chloé Janssen, reports on its impact on the contemporary fashion landscape.
Generative Artificial Intelligence
A buzzword of 2023, generative artificial intelligence can be defined as algorithms to produce entirely new content. This includes text, images, audio, code, videos, and simulations, through algorithms such as ChatGPT, GANS, Botika, and DALL-E. Individuals and organisations alike are coming to understand the potential opportunities that AI provides for business and personal use. AI can eliminate pain points such as time-consuming administration, content creation, and customer service. The differentiation between other developments of Web 3 is that AI is fully applicable to the real world. If this nascent technology outlasts the buzz and integrates into everyday life as predicted, the implications for the fashion industry will be drastic.
Generative AI in the contemporary fashion landscape
Generative AI holds the largest potential for change within the fashion industry in regards to design practice and outcome. This involves designing entirely new collections based on a prompt. The algorithm then follows an imputed creative brief, reworking its specifics. Anyone with a prompt can act as creative director while AI removes the menial and time consuming facets of fashion design. Due to the removal of creative leadership, these processes would be more likely used for the fast fashion model of production, where efficiency trumps creativity. After designs are machine generated, humans are still required to finalise design choices and eliminate those with uncanny perfection that can be off-putting for audiences.
In addition to design, brands are implementing generative AI into operations such as marketing, administration, customer service, and media creation. For example, denim pioneer, Levi Strauss & Co., revealed their plan to introduce AI-generated models for e-commerce. They claim this shift is to supplement real models rather than replace them, in order to diversify their digital platform.
“Generative AI has the potential to affect the entire fashion ecosystem. Fashion companies can use the technology to help create better-selling designs, reduce marketing costs, hyper personalise customer communications, and speed up processes.”
– McKinsey and Company
Negative Implications of Generative AI
This supplement, among other AI implementations, will still result in lost job opportunities for fashion models, journalists, customer service representatives, data administrators, copywriters, designers, and more professionals. The replacement of human jobs by machine learning is one of the many downsides of generative AI. Further risks include inaccurate information, plagiarism of intellectual property, inherent biases based on past imputed data, non-inclusive design, and the inability to know right from wrong.
Futures of Generative AI
In the infancy of Generative AI, it is hard to predict its lasting relevance and effects on the fashion industry. New roles, such as prompt engineers, will emerge to assist companies in the technical transition. Despite the independent nature of this technology, it will always require human support to produce effective results. From the audience side, consumers remain the driving force of change within any neo-fashion shift. The next two to five years will be crucial for brands to test technological developments on their audiences. Consumers will either engage with these algorithms smoothly, but more likely, human impact and support will remain the most important factor in organisational success. The future of fashion is not determined by technology, it is created by humans.
By Chloé Janssen, MA Luxury Brand Strategy & Business