Amazon is hungry for its share of the apparel market and its latest development—an AI fashion designer—could accelerate its dominance in the sector.
While retailers are rolling out new fashion tracking methods, Amazon has quietly worked on its apparel business, including developing its own private label brands, launching its subscription Prime Wardrobe service and developing apps that provide consumers with wardrobe feedback. Among these efforts and filed patents, AI seems to be Amazon’s latest feat.
Researchers at the e-commerce company are experimenting with machine learning systems that could spot, react to and influence the latest fashion trends, MIT Technology Review reported.
Recently, researchers at Amazon’s San Francisco-based Lab126, created an algorithm that assesses fashion styles and generates similar apparel items from scratch. Dubbed an AI fashion designer, this technology uses a generative adversarial network (GAN), which involves networks that learn from raw data, internalize style properties from images and apply similar styles to existing clothing items.
Amazon’s AI innovation falls in line with another major tech project. A group of Israel-based Amazon researchers created machine learning that studies a few labels attached to images and determines whether an outfit is stylish enough. Usually, computers need extensive labeling to interpret visual information, but Amazon’s machine learning technology is more advanced. This new software could eventually provide feedback or recommendations for better styling in the future.
[Read more on Amazon’s apparel push: Amazon’s Women’s Label Sees 84% Sales Spike, And It’s Not Alone]
Both projects were showcased at an Amazon workshop earlier this month, which featured academic researchers and their proposed AI innovations for fashion. Participants discussed ways of incorporating AI into the apparel sector, while fostering the importance of engaging consumers with new retail technologies.
“People innovate in areas like music, fashion and cinema,” participant and University of Maryland professor Tim Oates said. “What we haven’t seen is a genuinely new music or fashion style that was generated by a computer and really resonated with people.”