Designing with
Artificial Intelligence

Sketches of a red dress designed for the Tommy Hilfiger project
Fifteen FIT students from three majors— Fashion Design, International Trade and Marketingfor the Fashion Industries, and Textile Development and Marketing —plus three faculty mentors teamed up with IBM and Tommy Hilfiger last September to explore how artificial intelligence (AI) can enhance design inspiration and improve manufacturing and marketing. This project represents the blending of art and science to create product offerings that reflect real-time consumer preferences and product specifications. IBM viewed the project as a means to bridge the gap between the runway and the consumer. The project was developed and overseen by the FIT/Infor Design and Tech Lab, an innovation workspace that supports the engagement of the FIT community and external partners to help identify emerging technology that should be investigated for commercialization use. The students were given access to IBM Research’s AI capabilities including computer vision, natural language understanding, and deep learning techniques specifically trained with fashion data. Those tools were applied to 15,000 of Tommy Hilfiger’s images from the company’s product library, some 600,000 publicly available runway images, and nearly 100,000 patterns from fabric sites. IBM researchers helped translate the data into information about key silhouettes, colors, and novel prints and patterns that the Fashion Design students used as inspiration to create original designs that marry the Tommy Hilfiger brand with forward-looking design and retail concepts.
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