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Technology and AI applied to fashion: The keys to the BoF Professional Summit 2023

Business of Fashion (BoF) held the BoF Professional Summit, a fashion and technology inflection point on March 22 at The Times Center, New York. This year's lecture brought together some of the most influential and innovative figures in the fashion industry to share their experiences, ideas and visions for the future.

21 | 04 | 2023

This year's edition of the BoF Professional Summit addressed the impact of artificial intelligence and Web3 on fashion, exploring the opportunities and challenges they present for the industry: product customization, improving customer experience, the importance of strategic partnership or sustainability. A forum that has had a very heterogeneous partition, formed by creatives, executives and experts in innovation and technology of some of the most important brands in the industry, as well as some professionals from technology companies.

Speakers included Michael J. Wolf, director executive of Activate; Dr. Ahmed Zaidi, director executive and co-founder of Hyran Technologies; Robert Triefus, director executive of Gucci Vault and Metaverse Ventures; and Rahul Malik of BoF, among others. They all raised three technology issues core topic that will shape the industry in the coming year:

  • Fashion & Artificial Intelligence: An increasingly close relationship, as AI is already routinely used to predict demand, set prices, design products and create new ways of interacting with customers.
  • Fashion Tech Solutions: Technology is transforming the entire fashion value chain, from the customer's path to purchase to customer interaction, through community platforms such as Discord.
  • The Web3 Reality Check: An analysis of the potential of web3 and how it relates to creativity and brand community. Speakers discussed the future of this technology and the potential return on investment for fashion companies.

The workshop was opened by Michael J. Wolf. In his discussion paper, the technology company's CEO outlined where customers spend their time, attention and money and how companies can leverage this. Wolf shared some statistics showing that 77% of the 148 million gamers in the United States also participate in another subject of platforms where they are socializing and acquiring, not so much money, but prestige.

Also Adam Petrick, director branding for Puma, spoke about community platforms, such as Discord, and advised those looking to join them to be prepared to receive negative feedback and engage the audience with transparency.

Especially interesting, too, was Amy Gershkoff Bolles, global director of digital strategy at Levi's. The brand has been using AI in its retail strategy since 2019, for things as varied as matching thread color, determining which products go to which stores, or understanding how weather can affect purchasing decisions. By analyzing consumer preferences, Levi's adjusts the variety of products in its stores. It also announced that the business will adopt the use of AI-generated models on its website to make customers feel more identified with them.

In a keynote focused on Web3, Robert Triefus, director executive of Gucci Vault and Metaverse Ventures, explained why it could change the way fashion brands interact with consumers, citing examples such as Gucci's association with Roblox.

Another presentation, titled "Using AI to Decode Brand Magic," had Quilt.AI's director executive, Anurag Banerjee, presenting on how his technology uses AI to index over 22 billion online images and understand human diversity to find the connection between brand messaging and how it is consumed.

At the same presentation, Rahul Malik of BoF explained how, by overlaying brands on an archetypal model , they can identify patterns and similarities between consumers and brands; based on a case study around Chanel.

One of the open questions raised by the session was whether brands should go where consumers are or, instead, take consumers where they choose.

Innovation: the challenge to keep eyes open for fashion companies

The BoF Professional Summit presented a panorama full of growth opportunities for fashion companies that know how to take advantage of them. The challenges posed are complex and require a previous research calm, to decide which is the best option in the case of each company.

Rahul Malik will be one of this year's speakers at ISEM's Fashion Business iQ program, which will take place in New York from July 10-14. A unique opportunity to learn about the latest examples of innovation in the American industry and hear first-hand from the leaders who are making it happen.