Luis Hernandez Bermejo, FIT Fashion Design Major, Stefka De Ruiter, FIT Fashion Design Major, Grace McCarty, FIT Fashion Design Major, and Amy Taehwa Eun, FIT Fashion Design Major
Today's young shoppers increasingly want personalized goods. According to an IBM study, 52% of Gen Z females would like to see tools that allow them to customize products for themselves.
Similarly, e-commerce and niche direct-to-consumer brands have dramatically impacted and sped up how products are designed and introduced. Shoppers can now see runway videos on social media and expect those styles to immediately become available for purchase. And even though some fast fashion retailers can get products onto shelves in just weeks, most apparel takes six to 12 months for development.
IBM's AI capabilities can give retailers an edge to speed up the inspirational design phase, helping designers and fashion houses better personalize offerings and meet customers' expectations of designs.
That's why our school, the Fashion Institute of Technology, teamed up with Tommy Hilfiger and IBM on a recent project using IBM Research AI tools to analyze real-time images and fashion industry trends. These AI tools looked at 15,000 images of Tommy Hilfiger products and some 600,000 publicly available runway images to better decipher the silhouettes, colors, and styles. One tool, which analyzed nearly 100,000 patterns from various fabric websites, produces novel and unique patterns — all which informed and inspired our designs.
"The goal was to equip the next generation of retail leaders with new skills and bring informed inspiration to their designs with the help of AI," said Avery Baker, the chief brand officer at Tommy Hilfiger in an IBM blog post . "AI can identify upcoming trends faster than industry insiders to enhance the design process."
Here are some key takeaways from our experience.
Learning about AI and fashion design
"As a fashion designer, I tend to stay in my own head, but with these tools, I was able to look into databases that were curated with an incredible amount of information, which, in turn, inspired in new ways that I could make design decisions faster." — Grace McCarty
"The tools that I used were the silhouette recognition tool, the color analysis tool, and the print tool, which make the designer's job easier and more efficient but does not take their role. AI technologies and fashion designers will be in a symbiotic relationship." — Amy Taehway Eun
How technology like AI will change our roles as designers
"The traditional design process will always exist; for example, journal research, collecting fabrics, etc. But I believe that taking an innovative approach, like we did with this project, will help designers understand the new tools available to enhance our designs for the future. Technology is improving and changing by the day, and I think we are very lucky to have the chance to be a part of this movement." — Stefka de Ruiter
"As a result of this project, I can see that the relationship between AI and designers will be collaborative. Technology will help designers create new and fresh products. In the end, I believe a designer's role will be the same. They will research inspirations, they will design, but they will have better options and a different perspective offered to them by AI technology." — Amy Taehway Eun
"I believe tools like the color print tool or the color trend tool only aided my design process. What would take hours of research can now be accomplished in a few hours with the click of a button." — Luis Hernandez Bermejo
Our favorite part of the project
"My favorite part of this project was being able to work with so many different people from so many different fields. I also loved being able to experiment with all of the tools. I am someone who is constantly looking for new media to either enhance my designs or my design process." — Grace McCarty
"One of favorite parts was playing with cognitive fashion tools. I especially liked using the print tool. I had such a great time putting lots of images into the tool and seeing what kind of results came out. This AI tool gave me another vision for textile design." — Amy Taehway Eun
This post is sponsor content from IBM and was created by IBM and Insider Studios.