Is the future of the fashion industry in the hands of AI technology? 

#FocusOnBestPractices

Is the future of the fashion industry in the hands of AI technology? 

#FocusOnBestPractices

The global fashion industry is considered one of the biggest in the world. From fast-fashion to high-end couture, the market is ever-expanding, with prominent labels continuing to create fashion trends both on the ramp and off. In the digitalization age, it is no surprise that Artificial Intelligence penetrated the fashion world gun blazing. Thanks to major tech companies innovating products exclusively for the industry, brands globally have taken to the technology to resolve issues and streamline processes that are otherwise impossible to note. According to a recent survey by Capgemini, AI can improve efficiency in process and operations, thus helping retailers save USD 340 billion annually by 2022. 

At a macro level, brands use AI to predict fashion trends based on historical user-based data collected over the years. These predictions could become the North star for a brand’s entire line of design and production process. Using AI technology with ML, Deep Learning, NLP, data analytics, and more has proven to contribute towards waste management and sustainability.

As the fashion industry relies on consumer and market insight for survival and growth, AI “assistance” programs have found a place among brands as they lend a helping hand in making smarter strategic decisions, specifically around product development and prospective business lines. Reportedly, Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a significant role in the fashion industry for the following advantages

Fuel brand productivity and creativity

AI has triggered the need for customization among brands and customers alike. With the amount of data in hand, AI helps brands study their previous sales metrics and design success to mitigate design errors in the future collection. In a world where plagiarism is prevalent, AI can also curb the duplication of designs by scanning through hundreds of images and references. 

Bridge the gap between brand ideology and customer expectation

Designers are focused on augmenting their product development process by leveraging AI to gather insights into customer preferences, fashion trends, and design choices. With fast-fashion brands looking to make high-end fashion affordable to all, AI has proven to be particularly useful as the technology can be quickly used to study, analyze, and replicate styles. 

Retain the focus on sustainability 

The fashion industry faces much criticism around the wastage of resources. Using AI in the supply chain, brands can reduce wastage of material, labor, and effort through better forecasting, merchandising, capacity planning, production, and delivery. This welcome change can lower costs, improve production speed, and create flexibility.

Uses of AI in the fashion industry 

Retail

Fashion retail, both in-store and online, benefit mainly from AI and Machine Learning. These technologies are now put to greater use to monitor customers’ shopping activity, preferences, footfalls, and feedback. These data points are then analyzed to understand the pitfalls and issues and allow the brand to improve its service offerings. 

Supply chain

The fashion industry, particularly the fast-fashion sector, is time-bound to make the products reach the stores in a shorter period. The recent pandemic forced fashion brands to look for alternate sources as many local and international supply houses shut doors. Using AI, particularly natural language processing (NLP), brands started to search for raw material vendors and distributors to ensure smooth production flow. 

Manufacturing

Quality check (QC) and sales predictions are two critical factors that determine the fashion industry’s outcome. Using AI technology, textile manufacturing houses can innovate by improving the manufacturing processes’ efficiency, such as quality assurance, inventory management, logistics, and more. These new technologies are also used to spot counterfeit products as they directly impact the business’s sales and revenue. 
While it is proven that Artificial intelligence has many benefits for the fashion industry, brands must align the technology to meet their individual business strategy to get the most out of it. Although some research suggests AI can replace 30% of work performed by fashion designers, it is unlikely that AI can replace designers or human intervention. The fashion industry must collectively understand that technology is about enhancing the processes rather than a tool to replace the workforce or creativity. 

Conclusion:

Reinvent the operating model to unlock new opportunities and new customers. Many forward-focused retail and consumer goods companies are counting on new and emerging technology solutions to help them stay competitive and profitable. Request a Consultation

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