Robots are coming for your wardrobe

The Spark

26th May 2017

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The ‘outfit of the day’ hashtag – #ootd – accounts for almost 127 million posts on Instagram alone. Now the soaring popularity of people posting pictures of what they’re wearing is inspiring a new wave of innovation from retailers.

Sites like Depop and Grailed leverage this ‘outfit selfie’ behaviour to create marketplaces for used and unworn clothing, advising their users that posting #ootd pictures will help their items sell. And it was only a matter of time before Amazon got involved.

The retail giant has just unveiled the Echo Look, a selfie camera to help you look your best. The camera uses image depth information to produce a “computer vision-based blurred background” so you can look your best in full-length selfies. It will also capture video, so you can give your audience a twirl in your outfit. A system capable of taking full-length photos or short videos so people can get a 360-degree view of themselves should surely appeal to selfie-obsessed Millennials.

Interestingly, the voice-operated camera will also give you a second opinion on which outfit looks best thanks to Style Check, a new service that combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists. As the AI learns what you like and what suits you, one imagines it will soon recommend which items to buy, and possibly even replace the personal stylist service you find at stores like Topshop, John Lewis or Selfridges.

It’s not the first time fashion has attempted such a thing. Mad Street Den, a three year old AI start-up founded in India with clients like Villoid (co-founded by Alexa Chung) and HipVan, develops AI-assisted tools for online retailers, many of them using computer vision algorithms that can suggest pieces to finish an outfit or meet a customer’s tastes. Their own research even shows that when this technology was applied, online shoppers spent 72 minutes compared to 25 minutes on sites without.  The company recently raised an undisclosed Series A round of funding from Sequoia Capital India in addition to existing investments from Exfinity Ventures and growX Ventures.

We expect to see more AI’s in the world of fashion and interior retail, transforming the shopping experience into a more efficient, tailored and hassle-free experience.


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