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A woman walks into her fully-automated closet, and is welcomed by a computer-generated voice. It asks her what she would like to wear and what her plans are for the evening.  She gives the information, and out of the blue a brand new dress, perfect for the occasion, magically materializes right before her eyes! Sounds like a scene from a futuristic movie? Well, you’d be surprised to know, that future is not as far away as you might think.

Robots and super-smart computers that do everything a human can (only faster) are now very much a reality. They have been, since the emergence of AI. AI, or Artificial Intelligence, is the ability of a computer or a technology to mimic human cognition, to perform tasks that hitherto could only be done by human intelligence. These include visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. AI makes our smartphones, computers and most other technology smarter and faster.

AI is making forays into diverse industries, and the fashion industry is also not far behind.  Online shopping apps, ‘create the look’ apps, apps that let you try out eye-wear on your photograph before you purchase it, are all some examples of AI driven technology that we take for granted nowadays.

Data Dress:

The latest, most groundbreaking, advancement in the collaboration between AI and fashion is the “Data Dress”. Google has teamed up with H&M’s digital fashion house Ivyrevel to launch an app that would create your very own “Data Dress”. The project is called “Coded Couture”, and is to be the first in a long line of such collaborations. The “Data Dress” is an initiative from Ivyrevel’s Fashion Tech Lab, committed to shaping the future of fashion.

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The Android app works on the Snapshot API, and will track your daily activities and lifestyle, with your consent. For instance, a week’s worth of data on where you go to dinner or drinks, what your favourite pastimes are, the route for your morning run, and more, is gleaned by this app from your other apps and social media presence. This info gives an idea of what your life is like, and the app uses the data to digitally tailor a dress that reflects your personality.

The choice of material, colour, embellishments used, and other details like belts and cuffs are also data-driven, and purely based on the user’s choices. The app will also let you opt for the type of occasion – formal, casual, party etc. The material is selected based on the weather in your part of the world. Also, other embellishments like sequins, colours etc are decided based on whether the occasion is formal or casual etc. Once your custom-made, on-trend Ivyrevel dress has been designed by your smartphone, and approved by you, it is made available for purchase on the fashion house’s website. Ultimately, this “data dress” promises to be more “you” than a designer dress!

The dress itself might not have any tech on it, if you’re wondering. No motion-sensor lights, built-in fitness tracker or other gizmos. However, Google is excited to bring the fashion world its very first digitally-designed, customized dress. The goal is to translate your lifestyle into your own, unique fashion trend. If you have concerns about the slightly invasive nature of the app, it is a price one should be willing to pay to have a one-of-a-kind Ivyrevel dress designed exclusively for you!

The app is currently in a closed beta platform, and is being tested by a handful of style ‘influencers’, one of them being Ivyrevel’s co-founder and fashion blogger Kenza Zouiten. Speaking about the “Data Dress”, Kenza explains, “It gets to know you better. It translates this into a dress with a unique personal story to it”. In the promotional video, looking gorgeous in a bejewelled Little Black Dress (of course!), she smoothly declares, “My name is Kenza, and this dress was designed by my phone.”

Over the coming months, Google promises to pass it on to more fashion and style influencers, who will then share the story of their very own “data dress”.  Interested testers can also sign up to join a later trial ahead of the public release. The custom dresses start at a price of $99.

The partnership between Google and Swedish retailer H&M was announced in honour of New York Fashion Week, and promises to answer the most important question in the fashion world – what to wear! “We’re about to change the fashion industry by bringing the customer’s personality into the design process through data technology,” Aleksander Subosic, co-founder of Ivyrevel, said in a press release. “The Data Dress enables women around the world to order a dress made entirely for them that reflects the way they live their lives.”

Marrying AI and fashion:

                                                                          Image 3 -Kenza Zouiten in her “data dress”

Technology and AI is not new to the New York Fashion Week runway, as previous years saw the unveiling of the 3-D printing dress and the sound-activated light-up shirts. This year promises to be even more exciting, with the third annual “Digital Couture” event that was hosted by Epson in New York during the first week of February. The show saw 13 design teams from across North and Latin America leveraging Epson’s dye-sublimation and direct-to-fabric printing technology to create a collection of dresses with unique designs that had been digitally printed onto them.

ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) from Google and Levi have partnered over the last couple of years to introduce Jacquard – the touch-sensitive fabric technology. This year they have used Jacquard to design the “Levi’s commuter trucker jacket”. The “smart jacket” will be out in Spring of 2017, and is a denim jacket that lets you control your phone, answer a call or block a phone call, and do a few other tasks, just by touching the sleeve of the jacket. This is to ensure that you are not distracted while you drive. The technology works with Spotify, Google Maps, Strava etc. Levi’s proudly declares that it is not “precious” technology and users can beat on it, get it dirty, and even throw it in the wash! The jacket connects over Bluetooth, and the touch zone is visible in the form of threads on the cuff. The chip fits in the button loop on the sleeve, which can be removed before the jacket goes in the wash.

Pinterest has also introduced several new ideas that promise to keep you hooked! Lens, Shop the Look and Instant Ideas are all new applications that take your online shopping experience to a whole new level. From clicking a picture of a shoe you like and finding it instantly on the net, to helping you style a whole new look with items you liked, to streamlining your home feed on Pinterest, the apps are a god-send for fashionistas everywhere.

In a way, artificial intelligence can help retain the purity of the whole ‘runway-to-racks’ experience. The fashion expert and the public have a perpetual sense of impatience in getting their hands on the latest fashion trends as soon as they make their appearance on the runway. However, once a fashion line is out, it takes anywhere within 6 months for the designs to hit the mainstream market. This gap proves to be an advantage for copycats to develop their very own knock-offs! Artificial Intelligence helps the fashion industry bridge this gap, and glean the full benefit of their creative ideas. Ultimately, AI only promises to enhance the fashion experience in the years to come, so much so that the digital dress of your dreams could, quite literally, materialize before your very eyes!

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