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Beyond The Fancy Mirror On the Wall: Why AI Is Set to Change Fashion, And Not How You Thought

Artificial Intelligence is the latest buzzword today. After the industrial revolution and the invention of the World Wide Web, Machine Learning and AI are indeed the next big thing.


Because a machine with enough data can predict events before they happen, can skim through more data than a million humans in one lifetime, and can help businesses implement these learnings into their strategy!

Some experts are quick to disregard AI in fashion as nothing but a fancy tool to bring more customers into a store. We say, this in itself is not bad. However, the real potential of AI lies well beyond the stores- indeed, it quite literally lies behind the scenes. Because fashion as a business is simply retail, after all.

EDITED, a retail technology company | Source: Courtesy

Here are a few ways in which we think AI in fashion can help make the world, and the business, a better place:

1. Machine Learning and Supply Chains: From the garment manufacturer to the accessory-supplier, every stakeholder in the chain influences when a collection will be ready. Using past delivery trends, a machine can predict where bottlenecks are most likely to arise and help you solve the problem even before it begins. Think Just In Time Inventory Management, adapted to suit manufacturing needs.

2. Artificial Intelligence and Automation: If you’ve heard the new Google Assistant making a hairdresser’s appointment, you already know that machines are poised to perform repetitive tasks with a small degree of variance. Imagine if they could track inventory levels globally, and raise purchase orders when stock levels run too low. Some applications already do this, but by leveraging AI, human intervention in inventory and subsequent errors can almost be nullified.

3. Artificial Intelligence in Design: The actual designing process is a creative endeavor, and from where we currently stand, it is highly unlikely that machines will do it better than humans anytime soon. However, tools can work in tandem with human teams to gather trend data from around the globe to predict what would sell well in the coming seasons- the future climate, economy and social norms taken into account.

4. Artificial Intelligence in Sales and Service: Amazon has just debuted a store where billing is automatic. What if audio-enabled trial rooms became a thing? What if they could offer consumer opinions on the right size and fitting by ‘looking’ at them in a piece of attire? Not just that, even for online brands, more sophisticated chatbots are the need of the hour. Not only do they serve as efficiently, but they also reduce the cost of after-sales service.

5. Machine Learning in Collaborative Fashion: Brand collaborations are not new, but what if they could collaborate with a purpose? For example, a grassroots level linen brand and a global house of fashion could work to create a collection that adds value to everyone involved. Machines can observe trends from around the world and recommend these value-based collaborations.

As the saying goes, give a machine enough data, and it will show you the truth. Scary as it may seem, any repetitive task repeated a million times can approximate what a human being can do. Time to put the machines to task alongside the people then, wouldn’t you say?

Fuel4Fashion is a design, branding and technology consultancy for the fashion and apparel industry. We provide consulting and advisory services across design, business and IT processes to early stage and mid-sized apparel manufacturers and brands looking to grow their business with the help of smart sustainable management practices. Visit our website here and follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn for regular updates.

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