The fashion industry did $3 trillion in business, 2% of global GDP in 2018; e-commerce fashion amounted to $520 billion in 2019. AI is poised to revolutionize the fashion industry by providing insights into fashion trends, purchase patterns, and enabling better inventory management. The global brand H&M has been applying AI solutions to boost business operations. One example is a system to organize and allocate masses of unsold stock to retail stories with highest demand, reducing the need for discounted sales. This is achieved by optimizing the supply chain and inventory management, reducing the amount of wasted clothing.
At Tommy Hilfiger, we have always been industry pioneers and driven by our vision to break conventions. We are constantly seeking new ways to evolve and respond to our consumer's expectations. In this age of newness, it's more important than ever to evolve and deliver on the instant gratification that consumers are looking for. Two years ago, we had the unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the runway and the consumer and pave the way for the future of retail. In September 2016, we launched #TOMMYNOW, a "see-now-buy-now" model that shortens the typical 18-month production process into just six months, and built an experiential runway show around the product, creating content and engagement with our physical and virtual consumers.
These days we talk so much about artificial intelligence and its creators that it's easy to overlook the increasingly prolific role AI itself is playing in product creation and design. Across different industries, the technical and the creative are being drawn closely together to create a range of products that may otherwise never have been conceived. Take, for example, the new aerodynamic bicycle presented this month at the International Conference on Machine Learning, which was designed using Neural Concept software. By employing AI in the design phase, a small team from French college IUT Annecy were able to completely bypass the usual methods of testing for aerodynamism – a process that usually requires a great deal of time and computing power. Instead of engineers having to conceive and then simulator-test several different iterations of bicycle design, the technology simply took specifications for length and width, and then rapidly swept through an array of different shapes to determine which was most optimal.
A new partnership between computing giant IBM and The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York is aiming to embed AI into the full spectrum of the fashion industry. The partnership will see a suite of artificial intelligence (AI) tools covering deep learning, natural language processing and computer vision applied to the fashion industry, across design and development, merchandising, supply chain and retail. It will see the FIT/Infor Design and Technology Lab (DTech Lab) build on a previous partnership with the technology heavyweight, which saw the DTech Lab work with IBM and leading fashion brand Tommy Hilfiger. The project, Reimagine Retail, focused on using AI to increase the brand's competitive position through optimisations in product design, supply chain and market insights. "Reimagine Retail was a powerful example of what happens when fashion partners with a global tech leader to advance challenging innovations," said Michael Ferraro, director of the FIT/Infor DTech Lab.
There are three big questions about artificial intelligence and its impact on society: What can it do? And how fast will it spread? Experts are working to definitively answer each of those questions, but there is no doubt that AI will be transformative. McKinsey estimates that up to one third of the American workforce will have to switch to new occupations by 2030. Those figures are unsettling, but AI does not come without a plethora of positives.