The Future of Fashion, or Virtual Couture Fashion

AI for Fashion, AI4Fashion

by Alizay Maniya, ELSE Corp

Today, many things are moving from the physical world to the digital world and fashion is no exception. With the introduction of new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, the fashion world is changing and progressing every single day. But, how exactly is an industry that has such a large brick and mortar presence supposed to incorporate artificial intelligence?

Currently, there are three main functions for artificial intelligence in fashion: to improve the online experience, to improve the in-store experience and analyze the collected data.

One good example of such application is ASOS’s new Virtual Search Tool that completely changes the user experience when shopping on a mobile app. Have you ever been walking on a street and spotted someone in a pair of shoes that you love from the first look? Or a top that you really wanted? With ASOS’s new AI algorithms, you can snap a picture of the item you’re looking for on their app and find a “similar” item on their website. Not only can you snap a picture on the go, but you can also upload screen shots from other websites or from Instagram. This new technology allows customers to capture these fleeting moments (the photo will be analyzed by AI and the main object or few objects be extracted and classified) and find similar products (by different criteria of similarity) in a few seconds. Other examples of companies trying to improve online shopping for customers is the use of chatbots.

As Macy’s has been trying to increase their foot traffic in brick and mortar stores, they have developed Macy’s On Call, which is an AI powered personal helper. Customers can talk to the digital assistant in the store using natural language. The app understands diverse requests and can help customers find certain departments or products in the store. The more customers engage with Macys on Call, the more it learns and the better it gets in providing useful and precise information in return. Not only does this virtual assistant improve the in-store customer experience for the customers, but it also gives Macy’s more insight into what customers are asking about and their feed-back.

Another great function of artificial intelligence is its ability to deeply analyze (interpret, predict) data. Nike On Demand, a campaign launched by Nike and advertising agency R/GA, used an AI assistant service to encourage exercise. Over the six-week period, participants received messages via WhatsApp to motivate them to work out. For example, the assistant would send wake up messages in the morning encouraging users to get out of bed, stay committed to their goals and go to the gym. Twice a day, the campaign team analyzed the workout data that was collected from the Nike tracking devices to determine which messages were most effective and to analyze participants workout habits. After this campaign ended, Nike was able to leverage this data to understand their customers better and improve their brand accordingly.

There is no doubt that there will be plenty of new discoveries and scenarios for AI in fashion and retail in the future, and this is a small look into how fashion companies are already using AI for. In the future, customers can expect to see fashion companies changing based on the vast amount of data that they are collecting, and the intelligence extracted from it. Ideally, companies will use all of their collected data to forecast trends, product experience, sales and shopping behavior and have more fashionable, profitable and efficient businesses.

watch out: #AI4Fashion