In this series, PAN Communications invites you to get to know the 2018 Cohort of the New York Fashion Tech Lab (NYFT Lab). Helmed out of the global fashion capital – New York City – for the last five years, the NYFT Lab has been at the forefront of retail and fashion technology innovation and integration. As part of PAN New York’s engagement with NYFT Lab, we’re bringing you a sneak peek at the amazing women and their killer tech that’s being tested among some of the world’s leading brands and retail companies.
While Sarah Krasley was working in factories all over the world, developing the technologies for engineers to design more sustainably, she had a thought: If engineers could apply technology to design in say, automobiles, why couldn’t engineers do the same for a whole new industry, like fashion?
Enter her industry disrupting company, Shimmy™ – a Platform as a Service (PaaS) company that prepares the apparel industry for the future of work by developing design, data management, and workforce development tools. Comprised of cloud and mobile applications, the technology helps apparel brands and manufacturers speed up their design, fit, and revision cycles helping to increase speed to market and prepare the workforce for the next, digital era of work in the apparel industry.
Hubbed in New York’s Brooklyn Navy Yard New Lab – “an interdisciplinary space designed to support entrepreneurs working in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, and advanced manufacturing” – Krasley transitioned into the apparel industry with a novel application of IBM’s Watson: perfecting swimsuit fits. Specifically, she developed an app for IBM Watson that allowed her team to take ten points of measurement from customers, apply those points to a digital avatar and generate a unique swimsuit pattern for every one of them.
“We chose swimwear because it’s the hardest thing to fit. It’s really challenging because it’s close to the body,” said Krasley. “Everybody that buys a swimsuit style off of our website gets a download of the app. The app tells them where there is a local neighborhood dry cleaner or tailor that can take their measurements properly. From there, we work with this data and run it through a variety of simulations and fabric tests to ensure that the final product is unique and bespoke to each customer’s unique curves.”
The result is just one way that AI is playing a role in changing the overall fashion industry. Traditionally slow on the uptick in adopting technologies overall, the retail/fashion/apparel industry will need AI in an age where the Amazonification of all industries is set to rip into apparel in the next few years.
“There are plentiful opportunities for AI in the apparel design process and we should make use of them quickly. We’ve outgrown the outdated system set up to design and manufacture clothes. It’s dependent on manual data entry and there are simply not enough technical apparel designers with the capacity to do all the problem-solving needed to keep up with today’s customer who demands personalization and evocative AR experiences,” added Krasley. “If you want to beat Amazon, in any industry, AI needs to be a pillar of your strategy. We want to help apparel designers and brands actualize this in their production processes today.”
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