Embracing the Power of AI: Opportunities and applications in fashion, retail and customer experience

With the advent of Web3 and metaverse, the world of technology has evolved even more. One of the most interesting and talked about technologies in this area is artificial intelligence (AI). It has generated debates on whether or not its output should be considered as art or design.

What is AI exactly?

AI is the ability for machines or computer programs that are programmed to do tasks that normally would require human intelligence. This can encompass a variety of capabilities including the ability to recognize speech, process natural languages, understand visual data and make data-based decisions.

Artificial intelligence is usually driven by advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques that allow them to learn and improve their performance with time. AI is used in many areas, including automation, healthcare and finance.

AI in Art and Design

AI is being used to create a constant flow of art and design content. However, the process to produce AI-generated images requires significant amounts of experimentation.

In the majority of cases, users are asked for a prompt when they access an AI platform. This prompt can be either general or precise. The generated images get closer to the original output as the AI system understands and learns about the task. Even slight changes to the prompts can dramatically alter the resultant imagery. And the more the system is explored, the more intricate and complex the final product becomes.

In a rapidly changing sector, AI technology is now being used in fields such as music, art and fashion design. In an attempt to understand the nature of human-machine communication, experts in the field have begun investigating whether AI systems can display creativity without the input of humans.

The debate

AI conversation gained significant momentum at the end 2022, thanks to platforms like ChatGPT. Lensa AI, and Midjourney. It sparked an interesting discussion about the use of AI to enhance the creative process. Some people believe that AI can be seen as a replication technology, which could lead to ethical issues such as mass production. Others, however, see AI as a new avenue for artistic expression that offers designers and artists tools to enhance their works.

More recently, a similar discussion came to the fore in the NFT space, after artist Mason Rothschild was taken to court by Hermès with the luxury brand accusing him of stealing its designs to create digital assets that had made him over US $ one million in sales.

A jury ultimately ruled in favor of the French luxury label, finding that Rothschild did indeed profit from its name.

Industry experts believe that the recent ruling set a precedent in how future disputes between fashion and technology will be resolved. They draw comparisons with the ongoing AI conversation. As AI technology advances, it is important to consider whether or not this will have a positive effect on the fashion industry in the future.

A collaborative approach

AI technology is a powerful tool that has created new creative possibilities, especially for those who are looking for alternative ways to enter this industry. The availability of a wide range online tools, both paid and free, allows almost anyone to make use of this technology. This has resulted in a surge of interest from a new generation of artists and designers who are revolutionising the meaning of creativity in today’s society.

AI has revolutionised the way that artists create. They are now using AI-generated palettes and creating digital sculptures. AI enables one to explore new materials, experiment with different techniques and push the limits of what is considered art.

IKEA introduced IKEA Creativ, an AI powered design platform, last year. It offers customers in the United States, a new way of visualising and designing their living spaces. The platform uses digitised furnishings and augmented-reality technology to show customers how their furniture will appear in their home. IKEA Kreativ lets customers experiment with different layouts, colors and styles of furniture, all on their smartphone.

This innovative platform bridges a gap between online and in-store experiences, and represents an important step forward in using AI technology in interior design.

In another case, Japanese fashion designer Yuima Nakazato is leading the way in AI-infused fashion and has showcased his bio-couture collection at Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris. Nakazato utilises 3D technology and personalised machines to create unique and customised garments for his clients.

He does this by first taking the measurements of the client using a 3D scanner, before transferring the data to a machine which directly cuts the different parts of the fabric to assemble the full garment. In this way, no material is wasted, and the customer receives exactly what they desire in the perfect size. This approach reduces waste and helps to address sustainability issues within the fashion industry.

Another example of the collaboration of fashion and AI is the Algorithmic Couture project by Synflux. The team uses machine learning to generate optimised fashion patterns that are zero-waste and comfortable, pushing for more sustainable and efficient production methods.

Turiya Kapoor, who leads Business Strategy and Finance at The ODD Factory, a high-quality clothing manufacturer and supplier in Mumbai, India, told Apparel Resources that they have launched a new service that entails developing fashion mood boards for brands and print files – “This is a very cool AI model that we have initiated wherein the client needs to provide certain details on concept, colours, demographics, print references, etc., for their collection post which a form is sent to them to fill. Based on the details provided, we then develop print-ready files for them along with a fashion mood board which contains 2D mock ups of styles in their AI generated prints, futuristic trends, patterns, colours, etc.”

Artists and fashion designers such as Field Skjellerup (@ai_clothingdaily) are also changing the game by employing AI to generate intricate textile designs that can be used to produce one-of-a-kind garments. In fact, he has gained a massive following due to his hyper-realistic AI designs that blur the line between reality and digital creation with his work sparking interest among followers who often inquire about how to purchase the pieces he creates, which range from AI versions of Nike shoes complete with heavy embellishments and intricate embroidery, to full runway outfits donned by similarly artificial models.

Namrata Joshipura, who returned to the runway this season with LFW in partnership with FDCI after a long hiatus, said, “Our latest collection is an exploration of how the fast pace of technology, in particular AI, is going to shape our future, a feeling of nostalgia will help us to anchor to our essential humanity. Of course, we will be re-visiting our signature elements such as shine, high glam, body con and occasion dressing as well.”

Enhancing customer experience

AI has become a valuable tool not just for clothing design, but for retailers as well. Many companies are implementing AI in their e-commerce and online marketing strategies to improve customer experience and potentially achieve more sustainable production processes. This technology is particularly useful in the ongoing evolution of e-commerce, with applications such as providing more accurate product recommendations on retailers’ websites and collecting data to make search and discovery more efficient.

One company that is helping retailers to enhance their customers’ experiences through the use of AI technology is tech firm Perfect Corp. that offers AI-powered try-on experiences for e-commerce, enabling consumers to try on products virtually from the comfort of their own homes. The technology offers a fast analysis and provides customised product recommendations, efficiently matching products with consumer needs and increasing the confidence of their purchase.

AI-powered solutions in fashion can offer personalised shopping experiences, which can lead to increased customer satisfaction and decreased product returns. In addition, these technologies can help brands achieve their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals by reducing waste and emissions generated from the product sampling and return processes. By utilising AI in this way, fashion brands can not only enhance their customer experience but also work towards more sustainable and responsible business practices.

In today’s fast-paced retail industry, it’s essential for brands to keep up with the latest technological advancements to remain relevant and engaging to customers. With the rise of AI-powered solutions, brands can now transform their consumer journeys, improving sales, engagement and customer loyalty.

Vorkirtual try-on technology solves a major pain point in the fashion industry, taking the guessw out of shopping while providing each customer with a personalised experience.

This shift in consumer shopping habits towards personalised, digital experiences is only set to increase and AI will play a crucial role in enabling consumers to shop in a more interactive and customised way. As such, implementing AI technologies is not only crucial for reaching ESG goals and decreasing waste and emissions but also for providing shoppers with the personalised experiences they are increasingly looking for.

The debate around AI-generated art is far from over, but one thing is clear: this technology is here to stay. So whether you’re a traditionalist or a tech enthusiast, there’s no denying the potential of AI to revolutionise the art world.

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