A three-way fashion conversation between a human, an avatar and an algorithm
Fashion is more than just the creation of clothing. It is an expression of the human experience, a reflection of the times, and a manifestation of the collective subconscious. With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) in fashion design, we are now witnessing a new chapter in the evolution of fashion. Not only is AI revolutionizing the design process, but it is also opening up hidden worlds of wonder and mystery.
The use of AI in fashion design is transforming our relationship with clothing. As AI generates designs that are beyond our imagination, it is exposing us to new forms of beauty and self-expression. It is also challenging our preconceived notions about what is fashionable and what is not, pushing us to reconsider our definition of beauty and style.
With the use of data analysis, AI can generate designs that are inspired by patterns and trends that are not immediately visible to the human eye. This does not only provide designers with new sources of inspiration, but it is also exposes us to new perspectives and possibilities.
AI has the potential to revolutionize the fashion industry, but it is important to consider the ethical implications of this technology. The fashion industry must take a responsible and proactive approach to the use of AI, ensuring that it is used in a way that benefits everyone and does not perpetuate existing biases and inequalities. While AI has the potential to create exciting new designs and make fashion more sustainable, it is also important to be mindful of the potential challenges and to work towards creating a more equitable and inclusive industry for all.
Interviewing a fashion designer to discuss fashion and the impact of AI in the creative field is important because it offers a first-hand perspective on how technology is affecting the fashion industry and the creative process of designers. This insight can shed light on the current state and future trajectory of the industry and help us understand the potential benefits and challenges of integrating AI in fashion design.
Olia Svetlanova is a revolutionary figure in the world of fashion and technology. Born as a virtual presence in 2017, Olia has continuously redefined and reimagined her digital identity through the use of CGI and participation on social media platforms. With roots in science fiction, she pushes the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of virtual fashion and art. In this interview, we sit down with Olia to explore her journey as a fashion creator and avatar artist, and to gain insight into the limitless potential of the intersection of fashion, technology, and the digital world. We discussed her views on how AI will impact the future of fashion design, the cultural understanding of self-expression and identity through clothing, the role of AI in promoting diversity and inclusivity, and more.
On the subject of the impact of AI on fashion design, Olia said: “When I think about current technologies and the debate that is developing, especially around latent diffusion models (stable diffusion, Midjourney, etc.), the fashion world seems to still be a bit on the sidelines. I believe this is largely due to the strong link between design, manufacturing and craftsmanship. Especially in a country like Italy, which has built its cultural identity on the quality of its manufacturing. I obviously have a partial view on the possible uses that will be made of these technologies. I believe that, in addition to being able to work as an aid to design and for the realization of concept design, the greatest influence will be found in our ability to produce new aesthetics in a dialectical relationship with the possibilities of AI. In any case, we are still in an embryonic state of technology, similar approaches are being applied in different areas other than image generation. I believe it is still too early to imagine how they will develop and integrate into the current landscape of cultural production.”
We also discussed the impact of AI on the cultural understanding of self-expression and identity through clothing, with Olia maintaining: “Right now, latent diffusion models are having a significant impact on the world of image production. They could probably change the way we produce our public image and how we disseminate it through social media in the near future. I’m thinking of apps like Lensa that allow you to modify your selfies through AI algorithms. Something similar could happen with clothes. Modifying, creating and changing our clothes in a virtual space through AI algorithms – that already happens, albeit with stronger intermediation. Fashion in AR (augmented reality) could become quite common. For now, it seems premature to think about if and how change could happen on a similar scale as what happened with the internet and the introduction of social networks.”
When it comes to incorporating a unique aesthetic perspective into her work while utilizing the capabilities of AI, Olia explains, “Most of the things I produce are purely speculative. In this sense, using AI allows me to generate images; often they are the result of the tool’s errors, that I would never have thought of independently. The relationship with AI is starting to produce a new imagery which also influenced the rest of my production.”
Olia believes that there are several ethical considerations that should be taken into account when using AI in fashion design, quoting “all the issues highlighted in what is now a rather heated public debate: copyright, energy consumption, authorship, control over technology and the impact on the world of work in the sense that the tool can easily replace human labor at a lower cost.”
Regarding the impact of AI on the way fashion is consumed, Olia points out: “The ability to preview/try on a product is already a reality using other digital technologies and there could be implementations in that sense. In any case, AI technologies are already in use in data analysis and marketing – I think that’s enough to show that a certain type of technology has already had an impact in the industry.”
As far as AI’s impact on the supply chain and production of fashion in the near future is concerned, she opined, “I don’t think it will change much, at least in the short term, if not to the extent that the technology will be integrated, as mentioned earlier, in the design process.”
When it comes to using AI to make fashion more sustainable, Olia believes that “sustainability (or unsustainability) is a structural problem of our production system. It is not a coincidence that one of the main issues of AI, as well as many other computer technologies (such as cryptocurrencies, for example), is its enormous energy consumption.”
On the role of AI in promoting diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry, Olia believes that these issues are primarily related to human social and economic relationships, and that it is necessary to act in that direction. The biggest excitement with AI in fashion is its potential to generate unpredictable and previously impossible results from the interaction of technology with creative communities. However, there is a fear that excessive standardization may occur once AI is fully integrated into fashion production processes. A concrete example in another area is the use, rather lazy and naïve, of DAZ Studio meshes, a 3D software to create custom scenes and characters in seconds. The biggest challenge in implementing AI in fashion will be striking a balance between innovation and standardization.
To bring the discussion to a close, Olia Svetlanova’s journey as an avatar artist and fashion creator is a testament to the power of digital innovation and the limitless potential of AI in the creative field. As we move towards a post-human future, it’s imperative that we embrace the co-creation between man and machine, pushing the boundaries of what it means to be human. With Olia’s unique blend of artistry and technology, we’re given a glimpse into a world where our digital avatars can transcend physical limitations and unleash the full potential of our imaginations. But as we explore this uncharted territory, we must also ask ourselves: Are we prepared for the ethical and moral implications of this kind of collaboration? As we continue to push the boundaries of AI and fashion design, we must be vigilant in our ethical considerations and ensure that the co-creation between man and machine is equitable and just.