Amazon has developed a new AI system that will allow it to predict and potentially help shape the latest trends in fashion.
The machine learning system, built by Amazon’s developers, will analyze social media posts and the limited information they offer — like clothing tags or labels — to determine what is fashionable or soon to be in style.
After obtaining the data and analysis, Amazon’s AI fashion designer would theoretically be able to push more fashionable clothing brands to the front of its gigantic e-commerce marketplace — a progression that might force brands to constantly stay up-to-date with trends so not to be left behind.
And the move makes sense for the online retail behemoth. In the past couple years, Amazon launched its own in-house clothing line, and Prime Wardrobe, which lets customers ship a box of apparel to their home to try on before purchasing, all in the attempt to personalize the online clothes shopping experience as much as possible. Amazon also built Echo Look, an in-home Alexa-powered device that can take pictures of consumers and then offer real-time fashion advice. Amazon teams are also working on an artificial intelligence that can learn about style by looking at images and then come up with similar styles itself from scratch.
Amazon isn’t the only one developing fashion AI systems that can predict style trends. Researchers at the National University of Taiwan built an artificial intelligence system that can comb through images and accurately identify and classify styles and then foresee what will be fashionable in the season to come.
But as it stands, Amazon’s new host of fashion AI systems could pose serious repercussions for the fashion industry and offer it a potent advantage to traditional department stores and clothing lines. Amazon is currently on pace to pass Macy’s as the largest clothes retailer in America this year.
Many forward-looking brands understand this and are already innovating their apparel line to anticipate fashion trends using the likes of Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. From the current view of the future, brands and clothing retailers will need to understand and forecast trends to keep up in the ultra-competitive marketplace that is appreciating technological innovation more and more each year as shoppers continue to shift to buying from online stores.
It’s not clear as yet though, if Amazon’s game-changing AI will eventually be available for brands to use in order to help follow and predict fashion trends.
All of these potentially groundbreaking innovations were discussed and revealed at an Amazon hosted a workshop with both industry leaders and academic professors. As for the Amazon’s machine-powered fashion AI’s ability to predict trends anytime in the near future, the academic researchers surveyed by MIT Technology Review are skeptical. The researchers believe that human clothing designers should still handle the bulk of the responsibility, albeit aided and assisted by the rapidly advancing fashion AI when needed.
For consumers, this seems to be yet another step closer to what looks like an inevitability — bringing a highly-personalized shopping experience to the living room. And for brands that can’t keep up with these innovation and technological advances, they will surely suffer in the retail marketplace.