How AI Could Dictate Future Fashion Trends

How AI Could Dictate Future Fashion Trends

The Possibilities of Predictive Fashion

February 21, 2018, Bruno Jacobsen

Fashion and technology don't always appear in the same sentence. But as artificial intelligence makes its way through different sectors, future fashion trends won't remain immune to its effects. Here's how AI may not only determine what you wear, but also pick out your clothes for you.

How AI Could Dictate Future Fashion Trends


Late last year, researchers from the University of California and Adobe found a way to have AI autogenerate clothing designs. And there's more. It doesn't just generate new designs randomly. It generates designs it predicts you'll like.


The first step might already sound familiar. Based on a person's purchase data from different categories, the researchers trained a convolutional neural network to understand the type of items he or she would like. When you shop on Amazon or other online retailers, you often see recommended items, or other items you might like. This is no different.

But then it goes a little further.

The algorithm uses two neural networks (a generative and a discriminative) that play a zero-sum game against each other (GANs). One of the neural networks tries to create fake images, while the other tries to discern whether they are fake or not. The objective of the generative network is to increase the number of times the discriminative network gets it wrong. So it continues to produce images, learning from the feedback it gets, until they become indistinguishable from realistic ones.

(Take a look at how GANs could also be used in fake news.)

Using these two different algorithms, the AI can predict and generate realistic designs that it thinks you'd like.

But, according to the researchers, this won't replace stylists or designers any time soon; instead, it may aid them in their efforts. Many of the generated designs are simplistic and could hardly be called "fashion."

As the algorithms improve, however, it wouldn't be unreasonable to suggest that AI will play a bigger role in future fashion trends.

Should the technique improve significantly, it could change part of fashion retail too. You might go on an online store and come across shirts, pants, or even shoes designed just for you based on your preferences. You could then be given the opportunity to have those made and shipped to you.

It could also help retailers understand their customers better and improve the quality of their offers.

For one, AI is already beginning to play an important role in discovering future fashion trends. Much of the work is still done by "trend spotters" who then compile catalogs, which are then given to retailers and designers. But with tools like Google's Trendspotting, some of it is becoming automated. And it's unlikely that AI won't continue to creep into fashion, despite still being at its infant stages in the sector.

Then, the new autogenerated designs may play another role. The creativity of designers will likely continue to be the main engine behind new collections. But autogenerated designs may begin to fill in the gap between everyday clothing and the pieces shown at fashion runways.

With "predictive fashion," as Jackie Snow calls it writing for MIT Technology Review, fashion retailers may begin to think about their product lines differently.


Are you interested in future trends, developments, and other phenomena? Futures Platform's foresight radar includes all trends in this blog and hundreds more. Check it out here: Futures Platform


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