Fashionista Meets Robotics
It's being called fashion design by algorithm. Artificial intelligence creating the perfect suit. Startup companies around the world are starting to deploy robotic designers. It's a fashion statement on the ubiquity of robotics and AI.
An example is a billion dollar plus Silicon Valley based company Stitch Fix. It was founded by Harvard Business School grad Katrina Lake out of her Cambridge, MA student apartment. The company uses data science as a foundation for its personalized online styling services. Algorithms based on customer feedback are used to create "the perfect blouse". The algorithms provide a template on styles that are most successful and popular to least. Key components such as collar type, sleeve length and decorative touches are included. The top performers are stitched together into the prototype garment. But the customer can personally customize the garment to their specifications and tastes. In the end, the algorithms are designing the prototype style. But customer preferences are the force behind the algorithms. It's a fascinating combination of data science, human judgement and customization.
Robotic sewing is a global growth industry. Chinese manufacturer Tianyuan Garments Company introduced "SewBots". The bots can make a T-shirt in 22 seconds. Tianyuan's new manufacturing facility in Little Rock, Arkansas has a fully robotic production line that can make 1.2 million T-shirts a year. SewBot was created by researchers at Georgia Tech with funding from DARPA, the US Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency. Some experts believe the "SewBot"robotic technology has the potential to revolutionize the apparel manufacturing industry.
Do Robots Have Style?
The question is will robots, algorithms and AI eventually replace the artistry and creativity of fashion designers? Only time will tell. But right now, they certainly are changing the fashion industry and the factory floor.
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