March 19, 2024 FDCI

Unmasking AI

Almost 36 Pearl students showcase the benefits and pitfalls of AI in “AI is contagious”, at LFW X FDCI 2024 with an interesting display of ideas through pixelation, distortions and translucency.

By Asmita Aggarwal

London, Milan, New York, and Paris, and India Fashion Week, almost over, fashion houses are ready to retail, but fashion pundits predict in the next three to five years, AI is predicted to add $150 billion, and up to $275 billion to the apparel, fashion, and luxury sector in profit, globally, according to McKinsey analysis 2023. AI will assist in designing, and generative AI can process raw text, images, and video—it can also help in written scripts to 3-D designs, and craft realistic virtual models for video campaigns, adds the report.

There is no doubt AI creates a smoother fashion ecosystem, whether it is the fit, trends forecasting and maybe that is what the 36 students from Pearl Academy, have named their LFW X FDCI line, “AI is contagious” or intelligent simplicity. The various looks tell us how AI can be a boon and bane, the key is using it effectively and the show is thus, divided into three sections.

The World Economic Forum report states 75% of Generation Z shoppers prefer sustainability, and brands like Stella McCartney tied up with Google Cloud, to add machine learning and cloud-based data processing. Burberry has introduced an augmented reality (AR)-based shopping tool that allows customers to virtually experience Burberry products. Google Shopping aspires to reduce sizing issues by increasing inclusive models for virtual try-ons.

Tommy Hilfiger’s ‘Reimagine Retail’ project shows how AI can be used in fashion to spot trends and FIT students used AI-based tools to create a range of designs generated by AI. Trendalytics, a New York-based company, uses AI to get insights from social media and Google and help sellers to know the popularity of fashion trends so that they know what will increase sales.

Pearl Academy showcase thus, is relevant and in the “Maximal” section shows its use can cause distortions, showcased through the human anatomy specifically the face, with the lips and eyes not their usual positions on the face somewhat exaggerated, to explain the disruption in our lives. And if you go in the exact opposite direction, with minimal usage, you can surely be out of the game.

“Balance” their last segment is when you know how much is too much and the Fashion Styling and Image Design students of the fashion college, along with fashion design, played with translucency, muted hues, neutral skin tones, minimal make up with clean shapes, shift dresses, explains Nandita Shah, styling and image design professor at Pearl Academy, Mumbai campus. “The shapes are body hugging but the focus is not on the frame,” she adds.

As the show progresses, some bizarre additions do come up, the accessories for example, the shoes turn transparent with balloons showcasing glitches in AI, ending on a bandaged look, when you have an over botoxed face. The pops of colour emerge and play peek-a-boo, the doll has been dismantled and her various body parts misplaced and added as accessories on the garments. Her legs are placed on the head to show how AI can sometimes distort images. Asymmetry helps drive home the point too—shapes show exaggeration on one side of the body.

Balance displays “suddenness and texture”, the dress made with resin with different artifacts placed on it, is interesting and experimental. The institute known to have churned out some of the biggest names in Indian fashion from Rimzim Dadu to Shantanu and Nikhil among others believes that AI is inevitable and so is its use, it will in the future change the face of design and fashion. This showcase is the initiation of a dialogue and the faculty is equipping students to use AI intelligently.

Shubhi Jindal, a third year student of Pearl Academy, from Fashion Styling and Image design , Mumbai campus, believes as a young student who is entering the fashion space, “AI has made us lazy”. She doesn’t like the excessive use of digital printing and admits traditional formats add character and personality to clothing. “We should return to femininity and delicateness, I feel that is what is missing in fashion today, it is getting too dark and edgy.”

Manya Narang, her classmate, adds that fashion college teaches us timelines and deadlines, and with the social media frenzy now one can change the entire narrative. “AI is contagious but it can also add sustainability if you know how much and for whom to produce,” she explains.

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