Subjective or Calculated Style
When it comes to the future of fashion, our minds don’t automatically think that algorithmic outfit planning is the way forward...We know it’s been in the works for a while, as apps have tried to mimic the work of stylists; but as of now, the hot topic is how fashion tech and A.I. concepts are so advanced, they can think for themselves. The latest swanky software program has figured out ‘how to make an outfit more chic’ through math alone. But how can a computer determine something so subjective, we ask?
Well, the creators of the program, Raquel Urtasun of University of Toronto, Canada, alongside a group of software developers in Spain, have used photos from various style websites to key various formulae into a computer = Artificially intelligent fashion technology.
In addition to the user’s geographic location, the date it was posted, and written descriptions of the clothing, the characteristics of each photo that made an outfit ‘more stylish,’ were programmed in. This resulted in computer generated suggestions on how to improve an outfit, according to what was ‘trendy’ from the previously inputted photos. Urtason envisions her work to replicate that of a human stylist.
Despite Raquel’s advanced programming techniques, she is not the first to dabble with computer or app based styling techniques. ClosetSpace is one example of an advanced styling app.
The app, created by Stylitics, allows users to key in items from their own closet, pair outfits together, receive style suggestions from actual humans for $25.00 (£16.09), and are fed daily inspiration. ClosetSpace was shown a lot of praise when it launched in January 2015.
Wear, developed by Jan Mazurczak, launched in April 2015 offers another virtual styling option.
Cloth, by Clothes Minded, is yet another popular app.
But all of the apps still require human input and are calculated by humans. We know that the formulae for the computer program began with human input, but the software is so advanced it will then use these formulae to generate its own as time goes on… it’s own brain(?!). Everyone secretly loves the Mathletes letter jackets in Mean Girls, but since when has style been determined by math?
Some users say the apps are best for styling photos with a set purpose, such as professional, night’s out, or date night contexts; but others disagree with the concept entirely; and yet, despite the success of the various virtual styling apps, the question still remains: are formulae really the future of the industry?
Some scientists refer to this as “The Rapture for Nerds,” how the public is coming around to robotics and AI. An article from WGSN: Robot Love demonstrates how people showed pity for a robotic dog when it was kicked last March; and in Japan, funerals were held for ‘robotic dogs.’
Another influencing factor is the study of ‘Lovotics’: new generations of robots designed “to love and be loved by humans.”
One company SoftBank, has created a robot named, Pepper: the first "love-powered" home robot. Pepper is four-feet tall, speaks 17 languages and reads people's emotions based on new voice recognition technology. This robot’s software is programmed so that it can ‘think for itself.’ The same principle that was applied in fashion technology software.
As of now, fashion technology and AI are only in computer format, making it more difficult for humans to form a natural bond with. But if the idea of Lovotic or humanesque robots were to team up, what will the end result be? It might seem like miles away, but with the creation of human looking robots, calculated style might be closer than we think.
We know fashion and technology are only friends with benefits at the moment, but it looks like their relationship is escalating quite quickly… What do you think of calculated fashion?