Imagine this: it’s the year 2050 and instead of going to your local department store or browsing through your favourite brands’ e-stores you type in the key words ‘Tom Ford era Gucci’ only to find thousands and thousands of pieces that never made it onto the runway. The reason why you’ve never seen these pieces is because they weren’t designed by Tom Ford but rather generated by an A.I. which has been fed images of the designer’s creations for the Italian brand. With the rise of digital fashion, this possibility may very well be where this industry is heading. The question on everyone’s lips is will A.I. render the role of the designer obsolete?
Artificial intelligence has been the topic of many controversial topics in the tech world. While Stephen Hawking has a pessimistic view on the matter, thinking that A.I. would lead to the extinction of humans, American computer scientist and co-founder of Google Larry Page says that artificial intelligence is “The ultimate search engine that would understand everything on the web. It would understand exactly what you wanted, and it would give you the right thing”. This was said at a conference in 2006, but remains relevant to this day. Sounds enthralling yet chilling at the same time, doesn’t it?
The use of A.I. has already made it Gen Z’s life, notably through TikTok filters that can generate an anime-style drawing of you and your surroundings. As fashion has always been dependent on technology – think of the historical use of the camera to shoot campaigns or the Internet revolution that brought us online shopping – it’s no doubt that A.I. will ultimately change the way in which the industry works.
@gracezakk I came to close the trend 👉🏽👈🏽#CapCut #AI #fyp #us #usa ♬ under the influence – h
In fact, much to Twitter’s dismay, A.I. has already had its effect on fashion, notably through the Instagram page @rickdick__, whether it be from due to succumbing to the pressures of HFT opinions or whether it be for possible copyright infringements, the page has now been deactivated. With the use of A.I., @rickdick__ has been able to create alternative Nike x Tiffany & Co. AF1s, a Balenciaga FW2100 collection, and even a pair of AirBoots, Apple Airpods meets MSCHF’s Big Red Boot. And the list goes on, considering how endless possibilities of creating art and fashion through the use of A.I. knows no bounds.
AI Concept: Tiffany x Nike Collab 👀— 👁️ Sneaker Visionz 👁️ (@SneakerVisionz) February 3, 2023
Thanks IG: rickdick__ 📸 pic.twitter.com/FtEp817aaz
While the visuals may be starking, many Twitter users aren’t yet quite sold on the idea, with many stating that it lacks creativity and rips off other artists’ work. That’s the thing with A.I. though, it doesn’t need to be creative. For an A.I. to work, it needs to be fed a specific type of content – such as Rick Owens runway images or Nike collaborations. Once it is familiar enough on that topic (the more content you feed it, the more accurate it will be), it is able to recreate, mimic and expand that universe or topic through never-seen-before images.
balenciaga inspired f/w 2100 made with artificial intelligence by RICKDICK® pic.twitter.com/ThvQ7LoDkW— andriana シ (@MUGLERMIND) December 28, 2022
This concept definitely feels like futuristic technology that came out straight from a Black Mirror episode, but we often forget how advanced fashion is – and no, I’m not talking about Coperni’s robot dogs/portable handbag holders. The Institute of Digital Fashion (IoDF) has become a leader and pioneer in the realm of URL fashion. Working closely with CLO, an online 3D design software, the IoDF just recently dressed Avatar actress Bailey Bass in collaboration with Christian Siriano at the 95th edition of the Academy Awards. Now that clothing is already being made via a computer, does it really sound that farfetched to think that it could design it too?
Not only could A.I. affect the design aspect of fashion, it could also take over all kinds of different alleys from campaign imagery, marketing techniques, to brand storytelling, model casting and customer service… You name it and A.I. could affect it.
The only thing that artificial intelligence could never replace is emotion. Pain, sadness, joy, euphoria… These are all emotions unique to the human experience. Could an A.I. emulate the same overwhelming feeling of tension versus liberation during Dilara Findikoglu’s SS23 collection? No. Could it recreate the distress felt during Alexander McQueen’s SS99 runway show which saw supermodel Shalom Harlow’s dress receive a paint job from robotic arms? Never.
Art, and in turn fashion, is derived from human emotion. It is less about the result but rather the journey the artist takes on to create whatever it is they end up creating. Though in an industry that has become so product-driven and a society that has become picture-obsessed, could you really tell the difference between an original runway piece and an A.I. generated garment? The answer may be trickier than we would like to admit to ourselves.
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