Can AI fashion ever actually be considered original?

Can AI fashion ever actually be considered original?

by Robyn Pullen
4 min
@casablanca ©

Welcome to 2023: fashion design has been reduced to a split second, and of course it’s because of AI. In what feels like only the past few months, digitally rendered fashion designs have blown up on social media, with a new pic surfacing every few weeks of a genuinely realistic product or fit that slowly reveals itself to be completely fake. But what does this mean for credibility? Originality? The sanctity of fashion design?! Or is it just not that deep?

@ai_clothingdaily ©

The type of AI we’re talking about is what’s called “Generative AI”, a recently coined term used to describe artificial intelligence (AI) created content in the form of images, video, and text. This has actually been used by real fashion brands such as Casablanca for its SS23 campaign, when the brand showcased its latest collection against the backdrop of a fully digital reality. However, it’s also been used by digital artists posing as fashion brands.

@casablanca ©

By simply (or not so simply depending on how good you are with tech) inputting terms and descriptions into the code of an AI generating software, digital artists are able to create images of new garments that look deceptively real. Put simply, typing terms like “Prada” or “Rick Owens” will cause the AI platform to pull on references from said brands, and result in an image that appears to have come from one of the brand’s collections.

@ai_clothingdaily is one Instagram user who’s grown to rapid fame because of their daily posts featuring AI created products and fits. Most notably, it was @ai_clothingdaily who generated the digital pairs of embellished Nike sneakers released just ahead of the Nike x Tiffany & Co collab. Remember the AI generated footwear people said they preferred to the actual drop? Yeah, those ones.

@ai_clothingdaily ©

Whilst the Nike typography on the heels of @ai_clothingdaily’s sneakers was jumbled to read things like “NKKE” instead of “NIKE”, the brand’s iconic swoosh was clear as day. Therefore the sneakers raised some questions about originality in digital designs that still haven’t been answered, such as: when you’re using AI to copy the DNA of a brand so closely, can the end result still be considered original? No. Yes. Maybe. Basically, it’s up to you.

@ai_clothingdaily ©

One side of the argument would say that AI fashion can’t be considered original because it uses algorithms to directly copy from the characteristics and features of a brand’s past products and collections. However, the other side of the argument would ask you to consider what actual, IRL designers have done up until this point; does taking inspiration equate unoriginality?

@metabirkins ©

To be honest, at this point nobody really seems too concerned with deciding the extent of originality it takes to make AI-generated designs. However, cases like the Hermès Meta Birkin trial indicate that it might be in AI fashion’s best interest to establish some actual guidelines before brands start threatening to sue.

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