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Fashion brands must catch up to AI, not halt progress

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Fashion |Technology

Image: G-Star

AI is having a moment. International governments are stumped by its progress and have been slow to leverage the possibility of automation and technology whilst at the same time creating laws to protect privacy and cyber security.

With countries like Italy calling for a suspension of ChatGPT and tech leaders including Elon Musk signing an open letter to pause development until shared safety protocols are put in place, the debate continues to raise concerns on both sides of the issue.

But how do you halt technology?

AI is good for fashion. Early predictions say it could generate up to 275 billion dollars in profits for the sector.

A report released by McKinsey last winter said one of the business uses for AI relevant to the fashion industry is the ability to craft personalised marketing, social media, and technical sales content (including text, images, and video); creating assistants aligned to specific businesses, such as retail.

While ChatGPT is still in its infancy and can certainaly recount inaccurate information, the innovations that generative AI could ignite for businesses of all sizes and levels of technological proficiency are truly exciting, says McKinsey. One warning, however: “executives will want to remain acutely aware of the risks that exist at this early stage of the technology’s development.”

AI uses for fashion

“From co-designing to accelerating content development processes, AI creates new space for creativity. It can ingest all forms of ‘unstructured’ data (raw text, images and video) and produce new forms of media, ranging from fully written scripts to 3D designs and realistic virtual models for video campaigns,” McKinsey states.

Dutch denim brand G-Star, a pioneer in digital fashion, unveiled a twelve piece denim collection last week. The novelty was its creation using AI via the Midjourney app. The idea for the project was born after the brand created a digital fashion group, inviting people from different departments with a common interest in innovation and technology. Their goal was to experiment with new techniques and explore the potential of AI in design as both a creative outlet and a way to reduce waste.

G-Star said: "We love to innovate and bring new tools within the design process and integrating AI into it can provide benefits such as increased efficiency and accuracy. It can also help reduce waste in the production process by immediately visualizing a raw idea into a well-made outcome. But it's important to note that AI is a tool. It's the human designer who ultimately makes the creative decisions."

Of course copyright and design protocols are areas that will need further attention, but the suite of new tools available to designers, marketers and other fashion professionals will ultimately benefit companies and customers alike.