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AI’s trend forecasting capabilities are bringing profound implications for the fashion sector

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If there is just one development that, in the fullness of time, is likely to be regarded as having epitomised 2023, it will surely be the surging relevance and use of generative artificial intelligence (AI). 

And as this pivotal year in the development of universally usable AI nears its end, a variety of fashion-sector use cases for the technology – as has been brought to the forefront by tools such as ChatGPT – has become ever-more apparent. 

From personalised recommendations to feature recognition – and beyond 

One potential way of drawing upon AI in the fashion industry that is very familiar with customers already, is the deployment of bots to register the choices made by customers when they shop online, followed by personalised recommendations based on this. 

However, the emerging capabilities of AI in fashion also go much deeper than that. Feature recognition, for instance, has been available on mobile phones for about half a decade already, and is able to detect important information from images – data that can then be classified. 

When it comes to the fashion world specifically, AI can draw upon feature recognition tech to pick up features of a garment depicted in an image. 

Even a mere scanned image of fabric can be recognised as fabric by these tools, which are then able to make conclusions from such visuals. The technology might deduce that certain fabrics have certain physical properties, for instance, with these properties subsequently able to be incorporated into 3D modelling. 

Could AI even be instrumental in predicting future must-have fashions? 

Down the generations, the task of forecasting fashion trends – even when carried out by the savviest style aficionados – has often seemed a distinctly inexact science. 

After all, efforts to predict upcoming style crazes – right down to the specific fabrics, colours, patterns, and cuts that fashionistas are likely to be drawn to – can be made more difficult by something as inherently unforeseeable as a pop star donning certain attire in concert that sees a sharp escalation in sales as a result. 

However, as The Guardian recently reported, AI models are under development that do not depend on merely forecasting trends on a season-by-season basis alone, and that can therefore stand up more effectively to fashion’s inherent changeability. 

Tools are being created that can automatically scan thousands of images from the runway, social media posts, and other sources, followed by immediately picking out the colours and patterns that are most commonly seen. Such tools will be well-placed to detect emerging trends even before some of the most eagle-eyed human fashion-industry watchers might have done so. 

Methods included in this tech could include the classification of styles as ‘edgy’, ‘trendy’, or ‘mainstream’. This could help separate out those aesthetics that might be only just becoming apparent, from those that are much more established, and potentially liable to go out of fashion shortly. 

All of this is without even touching on the role that AI can play in assisting fashion brands’ efforts to meet their increasingly urgent sustainability goals. While AI has, in itself, been criticised for its potentially adverse environmental impacts, it could also help fashion houses to more accurately predict trends. This could help them minimise the likelihood of producing clothes that there is simply not the demand for. 

Trust Skywire London to help put your fashion brand in a stronger position in 2024 

While much of the conversation surrounding the potential applicability of AI to all manner of aspects of fashion-sector operations remains lively and contested, it is nonetheless a subject that the industry’s most ambitious brands can increasingly ill-afford to ignore. 

For assistance with a wide range of aspects of your high-end, lifestyle, or fashion brand’s online presence – and consequently its ability to grow – please feel free to enquire today to our enterprising, and globally minded, digital agency in London


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