What Designers Should Know About AI

What Designers Should Know About AI

What Designers Should Know About AI 

It is increasingly harder to turn on the news and not hear about artificial intelligence, whether it’s generative AI creating art or virtual chat bots helping businesses automate tasks. But what should fashion designers know about AI and its potential application to their business? 

What AI 

At its core, AI is a computer program that performs tasks that aren’t explicitly coded by a human. In order to do this, AI must be calibrated on a large set of sample data, called a training dataset. Then, programmers tweak features of the algorithm, called parameters, to achieve the desired output. 

For example, consider a program that can classify paintings by the artist who painted them. The training dataset would be many images of paintings with known artists. The program is then ‘trained’ to recognize paintings based on this dataset. It is tested on another dataset so we can assess whether or not it correctly classifies paintings. Throughout this iterative process, programmers tweak parameters of the program such as brushstroke and color composition. If the resultant algorithm exhibits high accuracy, we may use it on paintings of unknown artists. 

A few key takeaways are important for designers: AI is only as good as the data it was trained on, and AI is often subject to ‘hallucinations’. This means that all programs are limited by the information given to it, so the likelihood of AI completely replacing human creativity is low. Additionally, AI algorithms can ‘hallucinate’ by not assigning the correct weights to different parameters, thus preventing it from achieving the desired outcome. Thus, many solutions are not as foolproof as they are marketed as. 

What AI Can Do For You 

As a fashion designer, AI presents new and exciting opportunities to expand both the creative and practical lenses of your business. With increasingly accurate and imaginative programs like Adobe Generative Fill and ChatGPT-4, there are numerous ways to bring innovation into your design process and business operations.

On the creative side, AI can be seen as a helping hand, rather than a guiding hand. The demand for human creativity will always be in demand, but certain tools may help artists round out their works. For example, using Adobe Photoshop’s Generative Fill to help design parts of prints is useful when you are able to articulate what type of style you’re imagining, but are unable to draw it out. The tool may also be of use when you’d like to experiment with new silhouettes or marketing designs. Similarly, large language models like ChatGPT-4 can help generate ideas for a new collection within particular constraints, as well as assist with background research.

From a practical end, AI can be quickly put to use for business operations. When deciding on the best way to layout a showroom or storefront, consider using Adobe Photoshop Generative Fill to quickly iterate through possible arrangements. With text-heavy tasks, ChatGPT-4 as well as Microsoft’s Copilot can help by quickly scanning through large amounts of text and returning key takeaways relevant to your query. Consider asking the program to perform data entry into tables and provide sample production schedules. 

Closing Concerns 

As fashion moves into the digital world, it makes sense to take advantage of AI when you see fit. However, always make sure to not put proprietary information into any online large language model. Additionally, make sure to keep track of the prompts you enter and the results that are returned when possible; generative AI is not always replicable. Finally, remember to test out different models (not just ChatGPT!) to find a fit that’s right for the task at hand. By safely leveraging AI for both your creative and business processes, designers can increase their productivity and work satisfaction.


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