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The October 5 installment of LIM’s “Nxt in Retail” speaker series focused on the ever-growing presence of Artificial Intelligence in our daily lives and its future applications in the fashion industry.

Alan Spalter, CEO of Retail Assistance Corporation and an LIM Fashion Industry Advisory Board member, hosted a conversation with Chandra Subramanian, CEO of ORS Group | Dedagroup. Subramanian originally got involved in AI through his background in finance, but started to branch out to see how it could be woven into other industries, such as healthcare and fashion.

Subramanian categorized the uses of AI in fashion into three groups: operational, product design, and customer experience and service:

  • Operational uses include everyday tasks to carry out business-related tasks like demand forecasting and inventory management.
  • In the realm of product design, generative AI tools, like OpenAI's ChatGPT and DALL-E, are leveraged to elevate design concepts. Subramanian mentioned that he attended a recent fashion innovation panel in Europe where one of the panelists was wearing an AI-designed dress.
  • In pursuit of enhancing customer experiences, Subramanian noted how Warby Parker utilizes AI to accurately measure a customer's facial features to ensure the perfect fit for their glasses.

Another example Subramanian used was how AI is helping reduce the rate of returned goods. The number-one reason for returned clothes is improper sizing and Subramanian noted the rise of new retail brands that use AI specifically to help customers find their custom-fit size to help limit returns. 

On the intimidating question of AI making human-held jobs redundant, Subramanian took a rosier approach, stating, “AI is not going to be mass-replacing people’s positions or taking people’s jobs, it is just going to make it better.”

“[AI] is going to be an opportunity for you—it’s not going to take away opportunities,” added Spalter, echoing a similar sentiment. “I encourage everybody to get involved with AI and keep it on their radar.”