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Wake up, babe, AI Fashion Week is in town

The arrival of AIFW has raised questions about the role of human creativity in fashion.
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AI Fashion Week

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Move over, physical and digital fashion weeks—AI Fashion Week is in town. On April 20 and 21 at Spring Studios in NYC, emerging AI designers—that is, designers who use AI, not actual robots—will present collections both online and IRL.

The event will function as a competition judged by the voting public. Hundreds of applicants have entered so far. A jury—featuring some notable names like Tiffany Godoy, Vogue Japan’s head of editorial content; Erika Wykes-Sneyd, VP of Adidas’s Three Stripes Studio; and Matthew Drinkwater, head of London College of Fashion’s Fashion Innovation Agency, among others—will pick three winners from among 10 shortlisted finalists. The winners will be supported by AIFW’s fashion-tech incubator and e-commerce retailer Revolve Group.

While the event is sure to invite curiosity and excitement, it also raises a number of questions, a big one being: To what extent will AI replace human design jobs in fashion?

“It's not like the computer is designing and replacing jobs,” Michael Mente, Revolve CEO and co-founder, told Vogue Business. “It's a different type of creator that's using different types of technologies to create different types of outputs that can be produced physically.”

AIFW guidelines require constant participation from the human creatives in order to revise and amend their input and make sure the physical production of their lines is viable.

“Right now, human intelligence will still be needed in this step,” McKinsey senior partner Holger Harreis told Vogue.

Zoom out: While the use of AI in fashion has been slowly gaining traction, experts Retail Brew spoke with believe it still has limitations, at least when it comes to wide-scale adoption. If anything, AI can help lessen the mundane tasks involved in the design process.“

AI can help a lot in terms of speeding up the amount of time or reducing the amount of time that it takes to do a lot of manual entry…So there’s absolutely a business case to do more functional and operational AI to take mundane tasks off people’s plates and let them focus on the most important ones,” Brian Ehrig, a partner in the consumer practice of Kearney, previously told us.

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