Artificial intelligence (AI) in fashion is no longer a secret and has widely been used to mostly help businesses to streamline processes and increase sales. But the skillsets of fashion designers and computer scientists are miles apart, so it's not until recently that the creative applications of AI in this industry have been explored. "Initial uses of artificial intelligence have focused on quantifiable business needs, which has allowed for start-ups to offer a service to brands," Matthew Drinkwater, head of the fashion innovation agency (FIA) at London College of Fashion (LCF), told Forbes. "Creativity is much more difficult to quantify and therefore more likely to follow behind." Seeing the opportunity for AI to play a bigger role in the creative process, LFC has launched an AI course aiming to develop creative fashion solutions and experiences that challenge the current approaches to fashion design.
In January, what had previously only been pixels made a real-world splash on the catwalks of Paris Fashion Week. The models' futuristic-looking clothes, designed in a collaboration between fashion house Acne Studios and artist and programmer Robbie Barrat, were designed by an artificial intelligence (AI). 'When you design a collection, you have an idea of what a jacket looks like, or a pair of trousers,' says Jonny Johansson, creative director of Acne Studios. 'The computer doesn't know what a jacket is. It tries to learn from the images we gave it, and then creates its own idea.
Barrat's clever work on the AI Balenciaga project was praised by Fast Company in an article entitled, "This AI designs Balenciaga better than Balenciaga" by Katherine Schwab in 2018. "Because it's not constrained by human taste, style, and history, the AI comes up with designs that may never occur to a person," wrote Schwab. This was evident with the shin bags in the 2018 Balenciaga project and the curved coat cutaways on the Acne 2020 runway. Barrat attributes the strange outputs partly due to the fact that the AI only has visual information to work with. "When humans are designing clothing, we know all about the non-visual context our clothes have (like what bags are used for and why people carry them, why people wear coats, etc.)," explained Barrat in a 2018 interview with fashion magazine Flaunt.
If you've had enough of matching your scarf to your jumper, or accessorising every outfit with a pair of thermal tights, then never fear - help is on its way. Thanks to the way the fashion industry works, with designers showing collections months before they hit the shops, we already know what you'll be wearing come spring 2019. At the recent London, Paris and New York Fashion Weeks, the biggest looks were baby blue, clashing prints, the pink tuxedo, tie dye and bleach denim. You can get ahead of the fashion curve now by looking out for pieces that fit these forward-looking trends. Last spring's pastel of choice was lavender, but this time around its a flattering baby blue shade.
Balenciaga, purveyor of expensive IKEA bag knock-offs and car mats masquerading as skirts, has yet again created something the internet can't stop talking about. The Spanish fashion house has released something called a "T-Shirt Shirt" as part of its Fall 2018 collection, and as the name gives away, it's a t-shirt with a shirt on it. It'll set you back a casual $1,290. As per Balenciaga's online store, the shirt has "two wearing options." You can wear the short sleeved shirt so the other shirt drapes in front of you, or don the long sleeved shirt so the t-shirt hangs off the back of you, kind of like a cape.