The global fashion and clothing industry is one of the largest industries in the world, valued at $1.5T in 2021. However, the sector faces various challenges in the areas of sustainability, production, and technological advancement.
Like every other sector, AI is also changing the fashion industry by offering solutions to various challenges. The global market for AI in the fashion sector was reported at $270M in 2018 and is projected to grow to $4.4B by 2027.
This article explores top AI use cases in the fashion industry to help business leaders in the sector learn where AI can be implemented in their businesses.
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AI for design
Most companies in the fashion sector rely on clothing designs made manually. However, creative AI can be an effective way to take over in situations like the pandemic when people can not work. AI-enabled tools can create clothing designs by using data such as images from the brand’s previous offerings or from other designers, data regarding customers’ tastes (color and style choices), and current fashion trends.
Watch this video to see how the London college of fashion, amongst other institutions, is researching to find new ways to use AI for fashion design and production:
While extensive research is being done in this area, limited real-world applications of AI-enabled fashion designing can be observed, and all of the ones that exist are based on human-in-the-loop (HITL) models.
For example, the German fashion platform Zalando and Google created project Muze, which uses machine learning to create fashion designs. The model gathers data regarding customers’ favorite textures, colors, and style preferences by asking a series of questions to create clothing designs.
The project created 40,424 fashion designs within the first month.
However, some found the designs created by the model strange and unwearable (See the image below).
But, with generative AI growing and improving at the speed of light, the design will soon be practical and considerable.
Currently, the apparel manufacturing sector mostly relies on manual production processes with questionable working conditions for the workers. However, AI-enabled solutions are changing these trends by enabling automation in the apparel production sector.
AI can help overcome these ethical challenges by enabling automation. For instance, robotics can help automate risky or error-prone tasks in a manufacturing facility to decrease workload and improve worker safety. Companies like Sewbo and Softwear are revolutionizing clothing production by developing automated garment-producing machinery.
Moreover, computer vision enabled with AI also has various applications in fashion production, including efficient quality assurance and predictive maintenance of equipment which reduces the downtime of the machines and ensures operational continuity.
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Fashion trend forecasting is the process of predicting possible future fashion trends. Traditionally, fashion trend forecasters combine their fashion knowledge, intuition, and historical data to predict possible fashion trends. However, measuring the accuracy of trend forecasts is difficult, and you can not know how accurate they are.
In the current digital era, AI is being used to accurately predict fashion trends using different types of data. For instance, the fashion tech company Heuritech developed an AI-enabled service to predict fashion trends by analyzing millions of social media images.
Watch the video to learn more:
Trend prediction can also be used to reduce wastage in the fashion and clothing sector by designing clothes people would actually want to wear. More accurate predictions can lead to leaner production and distribution cycles and less waste.
Improved fashion retail
AI-enabled technologies are widely used in fashion retail. The applications include:
- Intelligent automation of repetitive back office tasks such as invoice creation can be automated.
- AI-enabled computer vision systems can enable inventory management automation, retail theft prevention, cashierless automated stores, etc.
- RPA also has various applications in retail, including improved customer relationship management and marketing operations.
Watch how H&M, one of the largest fashion retailers in the world, leverages AI to improve its operations:
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