Applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Fashion Industry

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Fashion Industry

Shubham Anil Jain
Department of Textiles (Fashion Technology)
DKTE’S Textile & Engineering Institute, Ichalkaranji, India
Intern at Textile Learner
Email: shubhamajain125@gmail.com

 

Introduction
The definition of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is, “Systems that display intelligent behavior by analyzing their environment and taking correct actions with some degree of autonomy to achieve specific goals. Thus, AI-based systems can be pure software-based, acting in the virtual world (e.g. voice assistants, image analysis software, search engines, speech and face recognition systems) or AI can be transferred in hardware devices (e.g. advanced robots, autonomous cars, drones or Internet of Things applications).” Artificial Intelligence (AI) in fashion industry means transforming the industry from the way that fashion companies manufacture their products or items to the way they are marketed and sold.

Artificial Intelligence in Fashion
Figure1: Artificial Intelligence in Fashion

Nowadays, AI technologies are changing the fashion industry in every element of its value chain such as designing, manufacturing, logistics, marketing and sales. Increasingly, fashion brands are more attracted towards and concerned about AI and machine learning to maximize users shopping experience, improve the efficiency of sales systems through intelligent automation, and enhance the sales processes using predictive analytics and guided sales processes. In current scenario, the fashion industry is at a turning point. The growth of industry depends upon the adoption of digital technologies such as mobile internet, advanced analytics, virtual and augmented reality, advanced robotics and artificial intelligence, etc. This are profoundly changing the industry and setting the stage for a strong trend towards a decisive phase of digital adoption by mainstream consumers; these processes are geared to match some specific trends in customer and enterprise behavior.

AI in Product, Inventory and Supply Chain Management
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the fashion industry by playing a critical role in the various key divisions. From design to manufacturing, logistic supply chain and marketing, artificial intelligence in fashion industry is playing a huge role in transforming this industry and giving a new look to it.

1. AI in Fashion Manufacturing, Supply Chain & Fashion Store:
As we know that apparel manufacturing is the labour-intensive industry, from sewing to sorting or dresses, there are tedious tasks, here AI can perform this task with a better accuracy at faster speed reducing the extra cost on workers. AI enabled machines and robots can easily do this task very easily, i.e. stitch the fabrics with perfection while at the same time it can also detect various faults in fabric and gives the assurance of best quality to ensure that the actual design shades will suit the new colors.

2. AI in Inventory:
Using AI technology, supply chain management is in progress to speed-up by improving routes, cutting the logistic supply and shipping cost, also visual perception based AI models are available which helps store owners to maintain the records of the inventory in their store and also sort items in-store, helping store owners to manage their inventory with AI-backed automated solution. Using the AI companies automate the logistics and supply chain processes for faster delivery or find alternate and different routes for vehicles crashed by unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather or road construction.

3. AI in Fashion Retail:
AI and machine learning in retail are also provides an automated solution to trace the customer’s activities while shopping and visualize their sentiments and needs to know what kind of products they prefer to buy and what they ignore. AI can also find and trace footmark in retail shops or record the shopping experience of the customers with option to get feedbacks on how was their experience while shopping at the retail shops with the aim to improve their services of the stores.

4. AI in Warehouse Management:
AI is also used for warehouse management and operational procurement process. Indeed, there are improvements in AI and navigation technologies which are letting automated guided vehicles (AGVs) move materials between buildings and different departments. Until recently, they needed particularly physical path guiding mechanisms such as wires or tracks. Furthermore, chatbots are also used in operational procurement because they help to reduce transaction costs and sales cycle time. Overall, the use of AI in supply chain management helps in reducing the ‘click to ship’ cycle time and the dropout rate.

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For the above reasons, applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to supply chain management are becoming widespread in the fashion industry. These applications range from the application of machine learning to trend and demand forecasting and inventory management. By utilizing, AI tools for demand forecasting is enabling retailers to reduce forecasting errors by up to 50% and simultaneously reduce inventory by 20% to 50%.

Applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Fashion Industry

1. Artificially Intelligent Chatbots:
This are able to interpret human language and are capable of coming up with answers to questions that have not been predefined. Now-a-days, there are specialized chatbots are available for retail applications. This Chatbots uses natural language processing (NLP) that makes it possible to tailor marketing activities such as linguistic context for example email, social media posts, customer services contacts and product reviews. ASOS, an online fashion company, has 26 increased purchases by 300% using a chatbot, while Levi’s, which is a pioneer in the use of chatbots, partnering with AI companies such as mode.ai, uses them to help customers to find the perfect pair of jeans.

Artificially intelligent chatbots
Figure 2: Artificially intelligent chatbots

2. Visual Search:
It is a subset of reverse image search; it provides the possibility of finding items within an image and searching for those. This, for instance, would make it possible to search for a similar pair of shoes, accessories, costumes, etc in an image. While computer vision makes seeing objects possible, machine learning, and in particular neural networks, makes recognizing them possible. The combination of computer vision and neural networks is leading to different applications of AI in fashion. The online fashion retailer ASOS has developed a visual search application that turns the customer’s smartphone camera into a kind of discovery tool, which helps the customer can take a picture of a product and the ASOS application, by identifying the shape, color and pattern of the object, can match it with its own inventory and find similar products.

Visual Search
Figure 3: Visual Search

3. Customer Experience Enhancement In-store:
Digital technologies are also enhancing customer experience in stores malls. Now-a-days, fashion luxury brands are using smart mirror technologies in combination with their physical stores. A smart mirror is a kind of a two-way mirror with an electronic display behind it. They are computers enabled by a full stack of technology, starting from hardware with depth sensing to software equipped with advanced computer vision algorithms. The mirrors enables users not only see how they look in a particular garment with different colors, but also to change type of clothing and make side-by-side comparisons of different outfits and accessories. In this way, the shopping experience becomes much more enjoyable and easier to the customer.

Smart Mirrors
Figure 4: Smart Mirrors

4. In Fashion Design — A Clothing Designer:
The design and patterns with the proper color combination are the key factor to design a costume to make it attractive among the customers. So AI plays a important role here, which can detect the new trends. Trends in the fashion industry changes very rapidly with new designs or patterns which come every day in the market and designers need to keep pacing with new styles every time. Thus AI algorithms can understand designs through different images to copying popular styles. Retailers giants like Amazon and Walmart now have their own clothing brands and are using the machine learning systems and AI technology to identify the spot.

Fashion Design using AI
Figure 5: Fashion Design using AI

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5. In Styling the Fashion Accessories:
Moreover, the application of AI in fashion is also allowing each one of us to find those perfect outfits that suit our body type and fashion preferences. This AI enabled clothes and outfits are not only tailored for different occasions and weather, but also for user’s taste and demand such as style, body type, colors, and the latest fashion trends. ILUK is an AI-based personal stylist, which uses computer vision and 3D reconstruction technology which is considered as heart to make personal styling based on technology possible. It is simply designed as pod that will be placed at a retail outlet.

Styling the Fashion Accessories
Figure 6: Styling the Fashion Accessories

The Future of Fashion by Using Artificial Intelligence (AI)
It is estimated that AI technology to grow to $7.3 billion by 2022. Machine learning in retail is already on demand, so it’s no shocking to know that AI is becoming an integral part of technology in the apparel industry. Here are major ways that artificial intelligence will help to transform the future of fashion.

1. By the latest technological advancement, industrial robots can be used for sewing and for supply chain management. In factories, robots are used for sewing operations. This is due to Software Automation, an Atlanta based robotics company which mainly focuses on focused robots for sewing. Using sewing robots has significant advantages such as cost reduction, reshoring production, reducing waste and therefore environmental impact and increasing manufacturing flexibility. But, beyond the factory, robots in the fashion industry can also be used in the warehouse for picking and packing procedures. Kiva 40 systems are an example of robotic automation which is used in warehousing.

2. In order to keep low cost of the product, brands should predict customer preferences by gathering and analyzing purchase data. Using this data alongside AI and machine learning allows fashion retailers to create clothes that customers want to buy and which is of their interest and taste. Fashion subscription startup, which is Stitch Fix uses AI to tailor clothing and accessory recommendations to its subscribers. Stitch Fix’s AI tools analyze a customer profile and requirement, then sort through millions of combinations of clothing to handpick items that fit the customer’s taste and budget.

3. Returns are considered as a pain for shoppers and retailers alike, especially in the fashion industry. According to IHL research it is estimated that retailers lose about $642.6 billion every year from preventable returns. It provide clear details in advance, pictures, descriptions and anything else the customer needs to make a good buying decision as per their requirement. It is goods to make wise decisions about operations than wish [returns] would go away. So, in future AI can help retailers personalize the shopping experience, leading customers to make more informed purchase decisions. In addition to satisfy customer requirement, this reduces the return rate and saves retailers money.

4. Another AI-powered retail trend in future will be visual search which makes it easier than ever for shoppers to discover and purchase the products they want. Shoppers simply take a photo and upload a photo of the product they want, then AI identifies the pictured product (or similar ones) across multiple sites and retailers. One example is Google Lens, which allows mobile users to snap a photo of a product, and then search similar styles through Google Shopping, right from their smartphone.

Challenges of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technology 

1. Supporting IT Systems:
Information Technology is growing very rapidly in the world. IT makes sure that the technologies and devices that we are using are safe, work well, and efficient. AI supporting IT systems can upgrade it in many different ways. For example it can create layered security systems which help to identify security threats and breaches, help programmers write better code, ensure quality, and optimize servers.

2. Transparency:
In today’s world,, AI has been presented as a tool to make life easier. And it is accessible by anyone who has access to a computer. The more people know about AI, the more trust factor will be built around it, the more they’re going to use it and make the system transparent.

3. Improving Cybersecurity:
Whether it’s on private networks, cloud servers, or social platforms, hackers, when given an opportunity, will always exploit anything that exist in systems. A report from Verizon proves that 52% of security breaches include hacking, 28% from malware and 32–33% included phishing or social engineering, respectively. The use of AI for cybersecurity can drastically improve and ensure security in transactions as it can be taught of patterns that hackers usually use and create layered security for systems.

4. Integration to Augmented Intelligence:
AI and Data are very important technology in earning an advantage in today’s world. Most likely it will be, for a part, a much bigger scheme for process automation and modernization in the system. Now-a-days, some multinational companies have already gone virtual with their training simulations and boardroom meetings, using augmented reality to teach trainees. Of course, this will not only for the employees’ benefits, but for everyone. Through augmented intelligence and AI, designers have good chance to develop various ways for people to communicate, collaborate, and even create tools for entertainment.

5. AI Tools for Marketing:
Marketing always try on searching new ways to grab the attention of prospective customers and users. They need to develop better ways of dealing with their customers and use different tools that can help them execute marketing campaigns easier and effectively. For example, Chatbots, photo editors, AI background remover tools, social listening, AI expense management, and virtual reality marketing tools are just some of the good, available tools that use Artificial Intelligence. Using AI in more areas in marketing to help collect and analyze data, make automated decisions, and target ideal customer will tremendously improve marketing efforts and save both human and financial resources.

Conclusion
In today’s scenario, through product personalization or better designing, there are numerous ways in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies are impacting the global fashion industry to improve its performance. The high increase in investments by many leading fashion brands in these technologies are proof that it has immense business potential. The use of Artificial Intelligence with various aspects such as Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Natural Language Processing, Visual Recognition, and Data Analytics can help to reduce errors in trend predictions and forecast trends more accurately which would reduce the amount of clothing produced and then unused. Now-a-days, fashion manufacturers are innovating the use of AI to help improve efficiency and quality of manufacturing processes and augment human textile employees. It is estimated that AI technology to grow to $7.3 billion in future. Machine learning in retail is already on demand, so it’s no shocking to know that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming an integral part of technology in the apparel and fashion industry.

References:

  1. Artificial Intelligence and the Fashion Industry, Professor Francesca Masciarelli, MariannaPupillo
  2. Artificial Intelligence for Fashion: How AI is Revolutionizing the Fashion Industry by Leanne Luce
  3. Artificial Intelligence for Fashion Industry in the Big Data Era By Sébastien Thomassey and Xianyi Zeng
  4. How AI is Changing Fashion: Impact on the Industry with Use Cases, https://medium.com/vsinghbisen/how-ai-is-changing-fashion-impact-on-the-industry-with-use-cases-76f20fc5d93f
  5. https://onlim.com/en/challenges-of-ai/
  6. https://tinuiti.com/blog/ecommerce/future-of-fashion/
  7. https://exponea.com/blog/impact-artificial-intelligence-online-fashion-retail/

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