Fashion is not intuitive. It has required much knowledge and information. It all involves data, from the trickle-down and rise of fashion trends to market statistics and customer sizing details. This data must be ethically and fairly processed to respect privacy issues.
What role does the designer play in this process? What should we do with this data? Is there a way to co-create using data? Or can you use this technology to interact with consumers’ real-time feedback? Is data a friend or foe to the fashion designer?
These and other questions were answered by an expert panel that addressed how fashion designers and fashion systems can use data to streamline and optimize every aspect of the fashion supply chain.
Julie Pont, Fashion & Creative Director of Heuritech, said that “very early signals data have backed up my gut feeling”. Paris-based startup Heuritech is an Artificial Intelligence-powered trend forecasting platform for fashion and luxury. Heuritech employs machine learning algorithms to search millions of images on social media and analyze them with the aid of its fashion team.
Pont, trained in fashion design, commented that it was difficult to trust data initially. I was afraid because of my creative background. Could this be my new job? Data could have a huge value to me. Like fashion, I was relying on my gut instincts. You know your instincts and creativity have made you a successful designer. Data isn’t here to replace designers but to help with the uncertainty. The Parisian fashion designer adds:
Pont views data as a time-saver for fashion designers. Pont believes data can be a time saver for fashion designers. AI-powered trend research technologies can help optimize the designer’s time and quality and make it easier to make informed decisions. As a fashion designer, data is crucial to my creativity. Pont states, “It validates my ideas.”
Analysis of data and consumer behaviour
While data may be useful for designers, it is often not true for consumers. Jonathan Chippindale is the founder and CEO of Holition, an innovative technology agency in London that creates immersive experiences for retail. The secret to correctly analyzing data is to examine consumer behaviour and recognize that it can change.
Algorithms can be a source of great irony. There is an infinite amount of information and data available to us. Still, algorithms funnel it into areas it believes we are more interested in and remove areas it doesn’t find as interesting. It pushes us towards the middle of the bell curve, where all colours combine, and you get grey. It’s the average. It’s not normal. This is not how we dress. Everyone dresses differently. We’ll behave differently. We will talk differently. Chippindale says that we all enjoy different things.
He adds that “if we can recognize emotion if behaviour can be recognized, and also the causes, then that’s fascinating to me.” Recognize the propensity for risk-taking and the propensity for discovery. “I want to climb that mountain because it has a great view. No one’s ever been there, but I will. Digital is all about that.
Chippindale believes that digital has a significant impact on the fashion industry. He says the focus is on how brands interact with consumers. “Brands have to give up control.” As a marketing director, brands used to tell women what they should wear, how to wear them, and when. This behaviour just feels ridiculous today. Someone telling you what to wear feels wrong.