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Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, sustainability: what the fashion of the future will be like

There was a lot of discussion about artificial intelligence during the two days of the e-P Summit dedicated to fashion in the digital world. But on the stage of Stazione Leopolda, in Florence, the most pressing question was not asked: will AI be able to create clothes and accessories like stylists do today? A reasonable silence, given that no one is able to give an answer today, but perhaps also a way to exorcise a danger that is not only theoretical, given the very rapid progress of this technology in sectors hitherto considered the exclusive prerogative of human creativity, from the text to music, from images to design.

On the other hand, as happens more and more often, the expression “artificial intelligence” has been used with a certain liberality to indicate platforms and services that could not exist without AI, as well as others that have been used since before this technology became so popular.

AI as an interface

There is a third way, and it is the one that exploits the linguistic capacity of generative AI to imagine a simpler and more natural form of interaction with databases and various automatisms. A nice example comes from Pink, a women’s clothing brand: it is called Pinko Brain and it is a system developed by the company in collaboration with Data Life, a Florentine company “consulting and developing in the fields of Business Intelligence, Big Data and Predictive Analysis”, as stated on the website. Generative AI, in this case, is used to make a sales chatbot work for the end user, but also to produce an automated report for internal use: “We trained the software on our corporate language”, explains Alessandra Decaneto, Head of Data Science & Data Analyst of Pinko, “so the report uses expressions and ways of speaking that are typical of ours”. Similarly, AI is used to create product descriptions for ecommerce. And also for orders: just ask the assistant via chat where a certain item needs to be restocked, and the order goes. Here another declination of AI also comes into play, which the CEO of data Life Iacopo Cricelli defines as “predictive”. It is used to try to understand how sales could evolve in the short and medium term, taking into account the trend of the previous weeks and months, but also variables such as the weather and any special offers. The investment in the platform, in economic terms, skills and habits, is significant: it is clear that it will be difficult to go back, given the ease of use of the system. Also for this reason, Cricelli explains, if one day a more efficient or cheaper model than GTP4 were to be available, it would not be difficult to change. “The algorithms we worked on also help us understand new aspects through the data, to ask ourselves questions we didn’t even know we wanted to ask ourselves,” observes Decaneto.

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Focus on data

Data analysis is also a fundamental aspect for a company like Roberto Cavalli, which has a history spanning over half a century and a powerful archive. “First of all we digitized it,” explains Massimo Mazza, Global Marketing Director of Roberto Cavalli. “And so in the future we will be able to have new versions of a historic garment declined for specific projects or moments; the idea is to make Cavalli’s history relevant for the new generations”. Production in very limited quantities, even unique pieces: personalization becomes easier with generative AI: “We work on personalized messages for individual customers, from purchasing suggestions to the newsletter”. And Cavalli has also commissioned a series of models generated in AI from a specialized company, with various degrees of verisimilitude, and they could soon arrive on social media as testimonials. The savings are obvious: no people, no studios, no lights, no photographers. But here too the point is not to replace the work and creativity of human beings, but to explore new aesthetic languages. Or invent them from scratch, as he does Mirror, a Florentine creative company that created a system for Bulgari capable of creating images based on users’ reactions to fragrances. Surreal landscapes, disturbing visions, fantastic worlds are born from a series of key words: after all, what is more abstract and essential than perfume?

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“After an extraordinary 2022, 2023 in fashion was down, and for this reason many brands are changing designers. But many are investing in technologies, primarily AI, explains Rinaldo Rinaldi, Scientific Director of eP Summit. Another key word is “local”: “We are in Italy, we make Italian fashion and we have to train these models on our sensitivity, which we do not find in ready-made products. We need smaller and more sustainable applications, tailored to our business”, comments Marco Ruffa, CMO & Digital Transformation Director of Pinko.

The physical production line is accompanied by a digital one: “We are used to optimizing the first physical one, but we don’t do the same with the second one”, notes Marco Milioli, CMO of Hyphen Group. “What convinces the customer to purchase online is not a physical product but a digital one, which therefore needs its own specific identity, and this arises by consolidating everything that is available digitally on that product, from images to composition, from production to price. AI can replace or make some workflows in the content factory more efficient, with tools that simplify text production and translation processes, image creation and 3D, it can improve the creation and search for relationships between data. But for this you need private AI, trained on the brand’s data and inputs.”


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The space of ideas

For Pitti Immagine CEO Raffaello Napoleone, “AI is a gamechanger, although not the only one: e-commerce has held up beyond the pandemic, the mapping and visibility of the production chain are now the standard in the world of fashion, smart factories are growing”. So much so that it earned a part of the Leopolda exhibition area, with real-time demonstrations: smart here means not only intelligent, but also sustainable, and in fact the Pitti Immagine award for the startup of the year is Zerowcreated with the aim of minimizing waste and mitigating the environmental impact of the production chain, transforming waste and surplus materials into valuable resources.

A good idea, an intelligent use of technology, but there are a lot of them among the exhibitors and on stage. There are big names, like Meta, with virtual reality shopping, or Spotify, which tells the story of the long association between fashion and music, but also smaller companies. For example, Diana has created an immersive website with Acqua di Parma, with augmented reality, 3D, video and sound, all in the name of synesthesia to overcome the inevitable (for now) impossibility of reproducing olfactory stimuli on the web. The girls of Proke they invented a suit that is a bit reminiscent of those used for motion capture in animated films: all black, with a series of logos, you just need to wear it and take a selfie to take body measurements. The app then sends them to the manufacturer, who can then create a customized garment with maximum precision. And again, the idea of ​​Alessandro Pacetti, Global DTC Director of Vibram: “We are thinking of an app that allows you to frame the sole of the shoe as if it were a QR code: it will thus be possible to have information and content related to that model on your smartphone ”. A digital fingerprint, in short.


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#Artificial #intelligence #virtual #reality #sustainability #fashion #future
– 2024-04-13 00:12:43

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