Researchers at the e-commerce juggernaut are currently working on several machine-learning systems that could help provide an edge when it comes to spotting, reacting to, and perhaps even shaping the latest fashion trends. The effort points to ways in which Amazon and other companies could try to improve the tracking of trends in other areas of retail—making recommendations based on products popping up in social-media posts, for instance. And it could help the company expand its clothing business or even dominate the area.
A number of forward-thinking retailers are already using social networks like Instagram and Pinterest to track the latest fashion trends and react quickly. And startups like the subscription service Stitch Fix already make personalized recommendations based on user preferences and social-media activity.
Amazon, meanwhile, is making moves to bolster its apparel business, developing its own clothing brands, investing in high-quality photography for products, and launching Prime Wardrobe, which lets customers try on clothes before buying them. Its Echo Look app will even give you feedback on your outfits.
An Amazon team at Lab126, a research center based in San Francisco, has developed an algorithm that learns about a particular style of fashion from images, and can then generate new items in similar styles from scratch—essentially, a simple AI fashion designer. The approach is crude and hardly ready for Project Runway, but it hints at the possibilities.
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