Is fashion opening its doors to the AI Revolution?

“No area of life or business will be insulated from AI, in the same way that no part of society hasn’t been touched by the Internet.” — Chris Dixon, partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz

Slowly but surely artificial intelligence has been creeping its way into our daily lives, impacting industries like Law, Tech and Sports Journalism among many. We have discussed how artificial intelligence can help businesses scale personal services, build better products, and optimize efficiency. The question remains whether or not the fashion industry is prepared for the AI revolution, and in which ways this specific domain will be able to harness the benefits of the rapidly growing trend.

Think of the last time you bought something online, what was that experience like? You probably identified the desired website, scrolled through their clothing selection in hopes of finding the apparel that fit your price, size and design criteria. These interactions not only took time, but they also didn’t guarantee full satisfaction. What would happen if online shopping became a conversation instead? Shoppers could describe their ideal jeans or dress of their dreams, and in the matter of seconds, an AI search engine would match their criteria to the closest matches — think of it as your personal AI shopping assistant.

In the last few years we’ve seen an increase in buzz words like machine learning, neural networks, big data and algorithm matching. The computing devices that we use on a daily basis have the capacity to generate an enormous amount of data sets, which are ultimately analyzed, by deep learning algorithms, in order to predict trends and identify patterns. With machine learning processes, the more data introduced within the system, the faster and “better” the machine learns to effectively perform its task. Under this assumption, the fashion industry will be able to make use of machine learning and the big data sets collected in order to predict trends and tend to consumer behaviors.

The future of retail is just around the corner if AI manages to deliver scalable and original one-to-one online shopping experiences. In fact, various fashion houses have turned to technology and AI to offer their customers more personalized and customizable services. ASAP54, dubbed the “Shazam for fashion” uses AI and image recognition to build search engines for fashion. ASAP54 users can snap a picture of someone on the street wearing an outfit they like, and the application will be able to search through a huge database of purchasable products in order to generate the closest matches to the uploaded item. Similarly, Thread, an online personal styling service, partners eight human personal stylists with machine learning algorithms that crawl through more than 31 million customer-submitted ratings, and over 4 trillion item combinations in order to recommend outfits to their customers.

AI’s ability to manage, analyze and remember a vast amount of data allows it to scale up fast. The fashion industry would do good to jump on the AI train while is hot, revolutionizing the way they do business, as well as the way customers interact with fashion.

This past May 2016, IBM Watson joined forces with Fashion magnate house Marchesa to design a unique “cognitive dress” for this year’s Met Gala theme on Manus x Machina: fashion in an Age of Technology . The unique dress was data-driven, embedded with LED lights that allowed it to change colors in real time depending on the social media mood of users commenting through the gala’s Twitter feed. Amazingly enough, the dress used the same kind of cognitive tools that Watson has applied when famously beating the human champion of quiz show “Jeopardy”. If you want to learn more about how the dress relies on cognitive APIs and inputs in order to incorporate technology and fashion, make sure to read this article, and watch the video below.

Originally published at