The fashion collection created with the help of Artificial Intelligence

Anna Yang, creative director of Annakiki, used Huawei smartphones to design her new capsule collection. The interview.

In May, in front of a selected audience of 400 persons, a very particular fashion show took place in Milan, showcasing the creations of both humans and machines. Fashion Flair is just the last episode of an ongoing series of events with which Huawei is showing the potential of Artificial Intelligence – and its new flagship smartphones lineup. “When they asked me to take part to this partnership my first thought was: amazing!”, says Anna Yang, founder and creative director of Annakiki. The Chinese fashion label, a regular presence of Milano Fashion Week in the last years, was chosen to create a whole fashion collection with the support of the Huawei P30 series of smartphones, which is powered by the company's high-performance mobile AI chipset Kirin 980.

“The app developed by Huawei basically follows different phases”, explains Anna Yang. First, an image gallery is generated by the AI and classified to respond to the application of 4 filters, set by the user: colours, shape, length, texture. “Filters can be applied one at a time. Moving the cursor along the direction bar, each user may select the desired parameters. The gallery will change depending on the setting chosen”, says the creative director: “For example, if you place the cursor on red, it will show a selection of garments in this colour”. Then the user selects the images proposed by the gallery, one for each filter, and finally, the AI creates the new output proposals in line with the images selected.

What did the human do, and what the machine?
I think it has been a very unique experience for sure, the human would come up with some basic instructions or directions let’s say, then by interacting with the AI, who has studied tens of thousands of images in the last 100 years, would give me unique, unexisting new proposals, is almost like when a designer is asking her assistants to provide some proposals based on a mood board, the result is very surprisingly cool, as you can see in our first co-created capsule collection, Annakiki for Huawei.

How was the design process in detail?
Fashion Flair app was able to tirelessly provide me with feedback and source of inspirations based on my input. Then, as a designer, I completed some of these proposals by personalizing it with my style and creative flair. I consider AI a sort of collaborator, a tireless assistant who helps me in the creative process, giving various outputs in a very short time.

What’s the role of technology in fashion design today?
The app is an experimental project but could potentially be used by all fashion designers that wish to find new and additional sources of inspiration. AI, in this sense, could be exploited in the future to create something completely new and original, since it has the power to stimulate the creative flair of a designer, who adds his/her own touch and uniqueness to the outfit.

Is there something that only human can do and machines can’t in fashion design? I think that the power of the project stands in the co-creation process. It is impossible to substitute the artist's creativity and amazing things happen when you combine AI with human expertise.

What’s your feeling about this collection? I’m very enthusiastic. Annakiki for Huawei is a very unique collection, it reflects my style but at the same time it is more than Annakiki styles: it is unconventional fun, for independent and self-confident young women. We have used several experimenting fabrics as well. I think lots of people will like this collection.

Is this some kind of experiment, or this approach could have a practical output in the next years? Nowadays AI is involved in many aspects of our daily lives. I think this project is able to show how technology can enrich humans. Fashion Flair is an experimental project but I hope to see more in the next years about it.

Did the app surprise you under any aspect? It was the first time and, as everything new, I was really excited about all the phases. One of the things I liked the most, is related to the power and the speed of AI, able to give me almost infinite outputs very shortly, which means for me having lots of interesting material to work on and finalize with my personal style.

What did you learn from this experience? I don’t know what the future holds, but I surely go on experimenting and trying new things, challenging myself every day, as I do with this project.

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