SwissCognitive co-founder Dalith Steiger unveils the promising potential of Artificial Intelligence and digital fashion in progress with Martina Müllner.
Dalith Steiger is a consultant and advocate of change. At the forefront of digital disruption, the Swiss entrepreneur with Israeli roots champions a new understanding of added value through digital fashion and Al.
Dalith, could you expand on what Al can bring to fashion in an elevator pitch?
There are different levels. On the one hand, Al is already actively contributing to research into new fabrics and materials, and the innovation level in this field never ceases to amaze me. We are also already familiar with wearables that collect data, which then leads to Al-driven insights. In the case of some diseases, for example, this can bring about a decisive improvement in the lives of patients. The third aspect involves all applications where Al helps to increase efficiency and improve resource utilisation. Concrete examples are the minimisation of waste in the cutting process or optimised energy usage in all phases of pre-production.
How difficult is it for an industry like fashion, which is driven by individual creativity, to accept the idea that AI can, for example, deliver superior sales or trend forecasts?
I believe we need to change our mindset in this respect. Intelligent listening and predictive use of data make genuine, effective influencing possible. The new buzzword is trendselling. Tools to predict which item will create demand, and even the volume involved, are already available. The key to sustainability is to not produce the things that will not sell.
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Could you elaborate on that?
Take clothes for pregnant women as an example. Here, sales planning could be extrapolated precisely. What we still need to achieve is that customers feel it is worthwhile to make their data available. Convenience and data protection are still obstructing each other at the moment. In other words, the degree of personalisation that would be possible is not yet conceivable for data protection reasons.
Data protection issues are one stumbling block, but are creatives themselves not also sceptical about too much data paternalism?
The current generation certainly is, yes. Yet today’s students already understand that new technology can only inspire their creativity. The possibilities of 3D visualisation alone, creation through text-to-image or 3D printers, are already impacting aesthetics. And last but not least, the prospect that things no longer need to be physical or real is pretty good news for creatives, is it not? The Metaverse says hello.
Can we expect creativity to flourish?
Not everything that is possible will be implemented. Economic objectives play a part. At the end of the day, convenience determines whether something becomes commonplace and sets new standards – or remains a one-off gimmick.
Any predictions as to which area will change most rapidly?
The user experience of online stores will take a giant leap forward due to advances in rendering, visualisation, communication, animation, and VR. These technologies will make it possible to reproduce the individuality that we associate with stationary retail online. Both the product and communication will be personalised. This will unlock the scope to inspire and engage customers online to the same extent as in physical interactions.
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