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Looking back on AI's impact on fashion in 2023

By Alicia Reyes Sarmiento


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AI-generated image of one of the collections presented at the first edition of AI Fashion Week in May 2023. Credits: AI Fashion Week.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has not only democratised and undergone rapid development in 2023, but it has also provided a lot to talk about. FashionUnited invites you to take a look at the most relevant events associated with this theme, many of which have laid the foundations for what is in store for 2024.

First steps of regulating AI

At the end of 2022, AI had been highlighted as word of the year, and had already come into question by international organisations that looked to integrate regulations onto the tech. The Spanish government, for example, announced the creation of a Spanish Artificial Intelligence Oversight Agency in response to the need to establish a regulatory and supervisory framework to address the challenges and risks associated with the growing use of artificial intelligence. Meanwhile, in the US, where AI policies are being handled on a state-by-state basis, at least 30 states or territories have already introduced bills and regulations regarding AI throughout 2022.

It would not be until late 2023, during the International Summit on Artificial Intelligence Security, which brought together 28 nations including global superpowers such as the US, China and the European Union, when the potentially "catastrophic" risks associated with the rapid advance of this technology would be addressed.

Marketing reinvents itself

In March, Stradivarius, the young fashion chain belonging to the Spanish group Inditex, surprised the industry by presenting a SS23 campaign "reinterpreted" with AI and starring models who do not really exist and whose faces have been generated with artificial intelligence. This was just one of the instances in which AI had redefined fashion advertising this year, and research on the subject promises unprecedented benefits.

This was confirmed in an interview with FashionUnited by The Clueless, an AI modelling agency that has shaken up social media in a matter of months with the creation of two influencers who, although they look real, have been created using AI. Co-founder Rubén Cruz said of the AI influencers: “Our models couldn't just be a pretty face, we had to create a personality and a life for them to work. Even if they don't exist, they may have things in common with you. [One model named] Aitana is an empowered woman, she is a gamer, she likes sports... she shares many hobbies with the new generations.”

Credits: Aitana and Maia, models created by artificial intelligence in The Clueless

AI-generated fashion

Following Stradivarius’ launch, the Dutch fashion company G-Star, which specialises in denim designs, made its first design based on an AI-generated model a reality in the physical world. The Spanish company Desigual was also encouraged to launch its first “on-demand” collection, a proposal that was further generated through AI tools, and would be followed by a second proposal shortly afterwards.

Design of Desigual's second "On Demand" collection of on-demand production pieces generated from generative AI tools. Credits: Desigual.

Awesome Lab, the startup accelerator programme backed by the retailer, announced a third edition, this time with a focus on startups whose operations are based solely and specifically on Generative AI models.

Seen on the catwalks

April saw the first edition of AI Fashion Week, an initiative launched by the creative studio Maison Meta, created by the consultancy Trendlad and dedicated to exploring the possibilities of using AI, which resulted in a series of fascinating collections. A second edition of this Fashion Week was later held in November.

AI Fashion Week hopes to pave the way for a new realm of creation

However, the impact of fashion created from Generative AI was not limited to this event, as evidenced by Spain's Accidental Cutting collection, which brought AI to London Fashion Week in September.

Accidental Cutting, "Enjoy!" collection for the Spring/Summer SS24 season generated with AI technology. Credits: Accidental Cutting.

The potential of AI in the future of retailing

Big business knows the potential of AI, as confirmed by the report "The State of Fashion 2024", published by McKinsey and The Business of Fashion (BoF), which stated that industry leaders identify significant potential for expansion in the technology.

With a challenging macroeconomic environment, heightened expectations and intensified competition, investments in AI were crucial to improve productivity, enhance the experience and drive growth, as highlighted during the Shoptalk Europe conference in May, where retailers delved into the future of retailing.

Shoptalk 2023: AI more important than ever for future of retail

The race to lead this new revolution

In this context, industry players are looking to lead the technological revolution and offer innovative solutions to their customers, but how?

Fashion multinational Mango has announced the launch and roll-out of the new “Lisa”, a proprietary conversational generative intelligence platform, which comes to complete the already extensive ecosystem of AI solutions that the Spanish company is implementing as the basis of its operating and management model, and from which it has already launched more than 20 pieces co-created using its own generative AI tools.

Furthermore, Alibaba and Amazon announced new initiatives focused on Artificial Intelligence (AI)..

Alibaba introduced "Tongyi Qianwen", an AI language model designed to enhance capabilities within its business ecosystem, allowing business partners to access and build custom models. Meanwhile, Amazon introduced "Amazon Bedrock", a service aimed at creating Generative AI-based applications, democratising access to these technologies.

In addition, Amazon launched AWS Inferentia2 and Trainium AWS chip instances to optimise resources and accelerate model training, along with free access to Amazon CodeWhisperer, an AI-powered code assistant.

European online shopping multinational, Zalando, on the other hand, also developed a new fashion assistant powered by Generative AI, which was implemented in its applications and e-commerce platforms this spring..

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