Indian fashion with Watson. It’s more than elementary


This story is sponsored by IBM.

"We more often disagree than agree. Shane will design an entire line in dull colours and I have to step in and stop him. But, somewhere down the line, that is what makes the collection look the way it does!", muses Falguni.

Shane responds, "She will like something and I will say I hate it, and vice versa. I used to be very rigid about it. Now we have come to terms: why is it not good? Give me a reason. And if it’s valid enough, then I drop it".

This is a unique dynamic that sets apart Indian fashion's power couple, Falguni and Shane Peacock. When they decided to collaborate with IBM Watson for India's first Artificial Intelligence driven fashion line-up, they put their opinions aside and decided to hand over the decision making to Watson.

Uniting fashion, a 3,000 trillion USD global industry, and A.I, this is more than just a novel, visually-attractive demonstration of new technology. This is a man and machine story. It is a proof-of-concept of its real-world application that is part of the inevitable A.I-powered future. In this future, businesses will know their customers better than they ever have and will be able to customise their offerings down to their smallest idiosyncratic quirks.

“What would take over a month to do, was brought down to 2 days!”

Using Watson was tasked with analysing 600,000 publicly available fashion images from 2006 to 2017, spanning the 'Big Four' fashion weeks - London, Paris, Milan and New York. This data is representative of high-end couture. For Bollywood fashion trends, IBM Watson analysed close to 5,000 Bollywood images, besides 3,000 fashion-related images from the history of Bollywood in the form of Bollywood movie posters across four decades - 1970s, 80s, 90s and 2000+. To generate novel prints, the team gathered close to 100,000 print swatches.

Through a custom-built tool that leverages Watson APIs, Falguni Shane Peacock used color, silhouette and print insights to design a collection that is a synthesis of the past and the present into a futuristic representation of where they see Bollywood fashion heading. Thrilled to work with Watson, they say that although not impossible, a project of this scale would be so daunting and difficult to execute humanly that they probably wouldn’t even have attempted it without Watson’s help.

“Watson breathes life to your imagination”

While this is a fashion-centric application of AI, the practical implications straddle a variety of industries – automobile, education, retail, healthcare and banking, to name a few. Almost every industry produces a massive amount of data, both structured and unstructured. More than mere Big Data analysis, an A.I-based system can not only read and understand such data, but also take the leap in applying that understanding to think of outcomes, predictions and other practical applications much like a human brain. This frees us to focus on higher value, giving us the autonomy to imagine, to craft and to invent.

In the case of Falguni Shane Peacock, we call it ‘engineering creativity’! With a little help from Watson, of course.

To learn about Watson’s cognitive capabilities and how you can leverage it for your business, visit the IBM Cloud page.

To learn about Watson APIs visit the Watson Developer Cloud page.

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