When we think of Artificial Intelligence, we tend to think of robots like Ava from the film Ex Machina: a presence to be feared and reckoned with. In truth, most people’s encounters with AI will be much less ominous (unless, of course, they’ve met Sophia the robot, a real-life Ava made by Hanson Robotics.)
When it comes to the fashion industry, AI is transforming it for the better—thanks to a handful of up-and-coming companies that are harnessing its power to help consumers organize their closets, thrift smarter, and reject throwaway culture. Here are three startups using AI worth watching:
Whering is an app that promises to change your outfit game by allowing you to organize and style your own closet digitally. Start by taking pictures of your clothes and uploading them (the app does the cropping and tagging for you). You can then use the app to create styles from the comfort of your couch, or get suggestions when you feel uninspired. The company’s goal is to help consumers make the most of their closet and track wardrobe uses (think of it like Cher’s high-tech closet from Clueless but on your smartphone).
So where does the artificial intelligence come in? Whering uses machine learning to get to know your personal style and scale its own styling process. But don’t worry—the company isn’t trying to automate styling. Instead, it’s showing how AI can enhance the art of getting ready everyday.
ThredUp is changing the resale game by improving the way we thrift. Shop pre-loved or overstock dresses, handbags, jeans, and more from the comfort of your browser (think of it like Poshmark but instead of peer-to-peer, it’s a resale-as-a-service model). ThredUp is pushing the limits of leveraging AI for pricing, personalization, and styling. Image recognition helps the company process millions of items by automating tagging, metadata inputs, and even pricing. The more a customer browses and shops the platform, the more likely the platform will serve her with that needle-in-a-haystack item she didn’t even know she needed. By promoting a secondhand first mentality, ThredUp is extending the life of the 100 billion garments produced annually.
Newly launched FINESSE is trying to scale back fast fashion waste by using AI to better understand and predict purchasing behaviour. The apparel brand uses proprietary algorithms and machine learning to analyze fashion trends across the internet and lets their audience vote on what ‘fits should (and shouldn’t) be produced. Each outfit is released as a “drop” that can be pre-ordered in its entirety.