Cognitive Commerce

How One Designer Tapped Cognitive for Melbourne Spring Fashion Week

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Iconic Melbourne Couture designer, JASONGRECH and IBM are turning fashion on its head, launching a couture collection developed using IBM cognitive technologies to understand the latest, as well as next season’s runway trends. The JASONGRECH Cognitive Couture, the first such collection in Australia, debuted at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week this week.

Working with IBM Watson, company founder, Jason Grech was empowered to take an entirely new creative approach to his designs – to use insights that take a data-driven approach to design and decision making.

Typically, fashion designers start conceptualising and designing their collection 12 months ahead of the launch date. However, the recent emergence of so called fast-fashion retailers, such as H&M or Zara, have caused lengthy lead-times to shrink drastically. They’ve also made the importance of customer insights more crucial than ever before. As a result, a designer’s ability to understand both previous and current trends is key to shaping and mapping success.

A cognitive system is able to understand structured data and unstructured data, such as images, and can reason, learn and interact with people. For Grech and his team, IBM used a mix of Watson APIs, including Watson Visual Recognition, and cognitive tools from IBM Research to provide insights into fashion trends, consumers and design possibilities during the creative process.

For example, Grech captured ten years of runway fashion images and real-time social buzz and then used Watson Visual Recognition technology to not only analyse, but predict trends in colour. As a result, Grech worked with a colour palette he would not have considered before. In fact, it prompted him to work with pastels for the first time. It also caused Grech and his team to consider new ways to work with fabrics, colour stories and textures.

Building A Design

Grech’s love of architecture permeates his work. Using an IBM application infused with Watson cognitive technology, Jason and his team created his couture collection by matching architectural images with fashion images, taking inspiration from the lines, the curves, the corners and and the texture of architecture to inspire providing the designs.

Earlier this year, IBM collaborated with Marchesa to create a first-of-a-kind cognitive dress for the Manus x Machina-themed Met Gala. Not only did Watson provide inspiration on the dress design, but technology was also woven into the very fabric of the dress. Embedded with LED lights, the dress changed colours in real-time as Watson Tone Analyzer tapped into the social sentiment from Twitter during the Met Gala event.

With a combination of IBM analytics and cognitive technologies, designers can gain new inspiration with access and insights gleaned from hundreds of thousands of social media images in an instant. Working with Watson gave the JASONGRECH team unique insights with data evidence and a new approach to evaluating risk and taking decisions on their collection for Melbourne Spring Fashion Week.

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Jason Grech’s collection at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week is the first time in Australia that artificial intelligence has been used in combination with creative thinking and design process. For more information visit http://www.ibm.com/cognitive/au-en/fashion/

Director, Watson, IBM Asia Pacific

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