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Amazon’s AI could create the next must-have fashion brand

It's developing software that can spot trends and make custom items.
Saqib Shah, @eightiethmnt
August 24, 2017
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Artificial intelligence is already assisting reporters, athletes, and doctors. Soon, it could also become a regular on the catwalk. At least if Amazon has its way. The online retail giant is busy developing a number of machine learning programs that could help both the public and fashion designers seek out the next big clothing trend. Of course, it would prefer it if you purchased your next dress or jacket from its own site using an Echo -- but that's par for the course.

Among its new tech is an algorithm that learns about style from images, which it then uses to create fashion items from scratch. A basic AI fashion designer, if you will. It's far from ready to create the next Chanel line, but it gives an indication of what Amazon is prepping. It's not hard to envision the real world application of the program helping to boost Amazon's in-house brands.

The team working on the software presented their findings at a recent workshop co-chaired by Amazon, reports MIT Technology Review. The event also included a slew of additional papers by academic researchers specializing in how machine learning can be applied to fashion. Others demonstrated an algorithm that can identify fashion-related social media profiles (which could prove a boon in the age of the influencer). And, a duo of Indian researchers showed off software that guesses a shopper's correct size based on past purchases.

Notably, a group from the University of Maryland presented a "style transfer" system for clothing. Popularized by apps like Prisma -- and appropriated by Facebook -- the process lets you apply a painting's style to your pics. In terms of fashion, it could allow you to create clothes in the style of other clothes. Tim Oates, the paper's lead author, writes: "The results indicate that style transfer happens successfully and is personalized for the closet of a user."

Some of Amazon's experiments have already come to fruition. In April, it unveiled the Echo Look camera, which sees Alexa act as a tailored AI stylist by scanning your selfies. Ultimately, they paint a picture of a company using its machine learning prowess to conquer the world of fashion.

We reached out to Amazon for a comment, but did not immediately receive a response.

In this article: alexa, amazon, fashion, internet, shopping, tomorrow
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