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Fashion Institute of Technology and IBM collaborate to nurture creative workforce

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York has announced a collaboration with technology giant IBM to spur industry transformation with the aim to build a creative fashion workforce of the future.

FIT, which is part of the State University of New York, will leverage IBM's AI for fashion capabilities via a suite of application programming interfaces (APIs). The APIs were developed for the fashion industry in order to leverage deep learning, natural language processing, and computer vision. The technology, when implemented, will help fashion companies improve customer experience, enhance their product design, development, and merchandising/planning activities, and augment merchandise performance analysis.

Practical use

If this all sounds like tech jargon, FIT's initial experience with IBM AI for fashion was in 2018 when Tommy Hilfiger teamed with IBM and the FIT's DTech Lab on "Reimagine Retail," a project to show how AI can give a fashion brand a competitive edge with market insights, product design, personalisation and supply chain optimisation.

"Reimagine Retail was a powerful example of what happens when fashion partners with a global tech leader to advance challenging innovations," Michael Ferraro, director of the FIT/Infor DTech Lab said in a statement. "Embedding emerging technology into our lab where faculty and students are solving industry problems is the next step in our evolving relationship with IBM. We're leveraging the fresh perspectives and new ideas of talented creative students in an agile research environment."

The collaboration will enhance the fashion curriculum if IBM's AI tools can be integrated into FIT’s degree programming, such as courses in Math, Science, Creative Technology and Design, Fashion Design, and Fashion Business Management. FIT faculty and students will collaborate with IBM Research to solve key industry challenges in areas such as supply chain effectiveness, fashion sustainability, and the development of fashion ontologies. Specific examples may include identifying whether or not children's products contain lead or other harmful materials, recognising silhouettes in pattern and texture, or using AI tools to identify and develop new approaches to fabric combinations.

The DTech Lab was created to explore the impact of emerging technology on design, manufacturing and retail, and is a public-private partnership between Infor, an industry leader in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Their joint mission is to engage faculty and students to solve industry problems with design and technology.

Photo credit: Fashion Institute of Technology website. For more information visit www.fitnyc.edu

Fashion Institute of Technology