Technological development trends around the world are showing unexpected developments. Last year’s frenzy was centered around the Metaverse, but this year’s focus is on AI-generated content represented by ChatGPT.
Can China’s fashion industry withstand the pressure of this disruptive technological change?
Factors impacting the global economy, such as the COVID-19 epidemic, inflation, interest rate hikes, and regional conflicts, are fading away, leaving room for new competition driven by technology-driven industry disruption.
Recently, many earnings forecasts for 2022 have shown a significant drop in the overall performance of Chinese apparel companies. Among them are Metersbonwe, which is expected to lose more than RMB 400 million plus RMB 700 million ($101 million) in fiscal 2022. $57.9 million, a loss from the previous year. Peacebird’s net profit is expected to decline 71% year-over-year. Overall, the apparel sector faced major challenges in his 2022, with lower-than-expected sales and profits as a result of discounting.
The good news is that consumption has rebounded in the first quarter of 2023, based on current data. Since January, sales have continued to improve as offline customer traffic has recovered. He expects a “Davis double-killing effect” in which earnings per share will rise as the market remains low in price-to-earnings ratios, along with higher inventory levels and lower pricing pressure. At this point, entrepreneurs often have a strong sense of risk, but their anxiety is also mixed with a keen sense of potential business opportunities. I want to take back time,” he aspires.
ChatGPT and AIGC are in full swing in the market. On the one hand, Chinese tech companies have started to invest more in AI development, as exemplified by Baidu’s launch of Ernie Bot. On the other hand, Chinese media platforms have also started trying to access his AI language model. At the same time, the fashion industry is eyeing AI. With policy support and industrial investment, the early starters of fashion technology companies are expected to enter the fast lane of development.
The age of algorithms is coming, but not yet. If AIGC appears in text, audio, video/live, games, or other industries, what impact will it have on the fashion industry?
With the shift from the Metaverse to AI, have trends in fashion technology changed?
Similar to Meta and Microsoft, Chinese technology companies are also gradually implementing the strategy of “moving from Meta to AI”, which is affecting their employees. In February, Byte Dance-owned virtual reality brand PICO cut its staff by 15%, or 300 people, and Tencent eliminated all Super XR (augmented reality) positions.
In an interview with WWD, a spokesperson for search engine giant Baidu, which previously launched metaverse platform Xirang, said: infancy”. At the same time, another sister division of his non-Xirang team at Baidu plans to complete internal testing of his AI product similar to ChatGPT in March. “[to] Respond to this “generational shift in search” with the highest level of preparedness. ”
While AR/VR wearable devices have entered a period of lull, the metaverse tide is not receding and is dominating the offline retail space. Viewers went wild when the episode “Wind from Luoyang”, adapted by iQiyi from Ma Boyang’s novel, aired. And his VR experience will work based on this eponymous IP production that was launched offline after a year of preparation. From “Secret Room”, “Live Performance” to his VR experience, it will be the world’s first his VR full-sensory multi-dimensional interactive entertainment project, creating a “Tang Dynasty Space” in Shanghai’s popular shopping district, Shanghai Tomorrow Plaza. I was.
With retail complexes featuring highly immersive and interactive VR experiences, the marketing narrative of future fashion retail is bound to change.
But can AIGC go beyond retail to become a major force in fashion design?
While AR/VR is the evolution of human-computer interaction from 2D to 3D, AIGC shows the potential to disrupt productivity. Both are important technologies that make up metaverse development.
AI, which fuses labor, capital, and technology, is creating new industries. For example, when intelligence and digitization were applied to virtual idols, there were virtual people who could think. When AI entered medium and large clothing factories, it used its experience in supply chain management and the concept of lean production in large brands and factories to implement factory-wide resource allocation, We calculated the optimal production and scheduling plan under the constraints of delivery date and manpower. Skills, equipment, processes, teams, etc. This has enabled the implementation of a faster “small order, shorter turnover” production mode than traditional garment manufacturing cycles, allowing more “removal of inventory”.
AI is currently creating a new wave of change in China’s fashion industry.
Not only can this technology mimic the ability of process engineers to analyze designs, assembly line leaders to assign processes, calculate materials and place secondary processes in the cutting room, but it can also be used as a source of design ideas by AIGC technology. . ChatGPT has therefore received far more attention from fashion designers than his AI-generated paintings last year, which sparked a debate between AI and artists on social media platforms.
Zhao Shijian (Tina Zhao), a mentor in the JALAB lab at Tongji University and co-founder of the UNI jewelry designer platform, uses AI technology to brainstorm the steps required to assemble a collage. increase. She believes that some of the ergonomics-related calculations that AI will inevitably make are accurate, so she believes AI is better suited for functional and comfortable design than cutting-edge fashion.
Yu Yimeng, a multidisciplinary fashion designer and fashion teacher at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, will invite students to participate in the DeeCamp AI training camp in 2021 to try out “AI dialogue-based clothing design” and form teams to We have perfected the innovative design. A project called AICL (Artificial Intelligence Clothing Lab). The final step in the application of the concept is completed in the app. The app offers the user an opportunity to design clothes using patterns generated by her AI interaction. AI-generated and human-selected patterns are applied to a predefined resource library and sent to the factory for production. This launches an investigation into the “AI + human” working model in apparel design. She is now implementing her AI technology as a design tool in her courses.
Observers in China’s academia and fashion industry have also hinted at economist Zhu Jiaming’s view. Applications like ChatGPT force and force humans to evolve their thought processes. In today’s world where information develops and explodes at an exponential rate, it is difficult for humans to comprehend and process large amounts of information in their limited lifetimes. Therefore, AI’s greatest contribution is to enable humans to process large amounts of information.
Overcrowded cinemas and scenic spots in China during the Lunar New Year show people’s eagerness to return to normal life, but the industry’s recovery won’t happen overnight. How to increase consumer confidence in the face of greater uncertainty remains an issue. At the moment, the representative of AI technology, AIGC, is believed to do more good than harm in the long run. Ultimately, the consumer recovery shows that differentiation and personalization are increasingly important, making product production with marketing narratives and technical prowess more advantageous.
The Metaverse, which could become the ultimate social form of the future, requires a long-term view and is much more difficult than the AIGC. Furthermore, the Metaverse and AIGC are not two separate and exclusive technologies. Compared to last year’s popular Metaverse, Chinese fashion brands have already recognized the advantages of his AIGC in solving productivity problems.
The global wave of layoffs has yet to land in China, but AI’s ability to summarize, compose, and assist can save companies significant labor costs and expand users’ creativity. . This is a great opportunity for fashion companies and practitioners to use AI technology to enhance “human” creativity, explore “human” potential, and strengthen their core competitiveness.
Editor’s Note: China Insight is a regular feature article published by WWD’s sister publication, WWD China, examining key trends in the Chinese market.