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Cubes Magazine
Cubes Magazine

Is AI The Future Of Offline Fashion Retail?

Alibaba’s FashionAI system was showcased at a concept store in Hong Kong, with AI making personalised mix-and-match recommendations in response to items chosen in the physical store.



BY Narelle Yabuka

12 July, 2018


Last week in Hong Kong, the offline fashion retail world took a step closer to an AI-driven future. From 5 to 7 July, Alibaba, GUESS and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University collaboratively presented a concept store where an AI system recommended outfits in a new model for the digitisation of fashion retail.

With the FashionAI system, Alibaba has developed a machine-driven mode of personalised mix-and-match recommendations. FashionAI learns the latest fashion trends and tips from analysis of the data generated by Alibaba’s ecosystem. It analyses images of more than 500,000 outfits assembled by stylists on Alibaba’s online shopping site Taobao, fashion insights from partner brands on Taobao spin-off site Tmall, as well as consumer insights.

At the heart of the FashionAI system is a smart mirror. In the concept store, when a customer held a fashion item in front of it, the FashionAI system would identify elements such as its colour, style and attributes (like neckline and sleeve length), and suggest compatible items to pair with it.

 

alibaba fashionAI

 

Each physical fashion item in the concept store was equipped with a smart lock incorporating gyrosensors, a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) chip and an RFID chip. As such, when a customer touched or picked up an item, it would automatically be displayed on the RFIS-enabled mirror.

The smart mirror also had a Taobao Wardrobe section. In the concept store, this recommended pieces from the GUESS line inside the store that would go well with any of the customer’s previously purchased items on Taobao or Tmall. Purchases from the offline store would be automatically reflected in the customer’s online accounts, so the mixing-and-matching could continue.

 

alibaba fashionAI

 

“With the latest AI technologies, like machine learning and computing vision, FashionAI can now recommend items that match your personal style,” explained Zhuoran Zhuang, Vice President of the Alibaba Group. He continued, “That gives imagination to consumers and injects new ideas into fashion brands and retailers to rethink their business and sales models. Leveraging AI in fashion, therefore, offers many untapped opportunities for fashion retailers.”

Said José Blanco, CEO of Greater China for GUESS, “At GUESS, we believe in the need to innovate in real time. We plan to extend this project in the region as the future of retail.”


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