Implications of artificial intelligence (AI) for the global apparel industry

Implications of artificial intelligence (AI) for the global apparel industry

Implications of artificial intelligence (AI) for the global apparel industryImplications of artificial intelligence (AI) for the global apparel industry

Like it or loathe it, artificial intelligence (AI) is here, and it is here to stay. It is used across a range of sectors, including the textile industry. So, if you’re involved in the clothing industry, and you’re wondering what the implications are, or could be, of AI on your business, here’s what you need to know – as published in a 28-page research report which I wrote, and which was published by Textiles Intelligence recently. To purchase a copy of the full story, click here.

What is artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence (AI) can be defined as a field of computer science dedicated to solving cognitive problems commonly associated with human intelligence, such as:
• being creative;
• interacting with the environment;
• learning;
• recognising patterns;
• solving problems; and
• reasoning.

How can it help my business?

Artificial intelligence (AI) has many roles to play along with the apparel value chain—from the supply of raw materials to yarn, fabric and garment manufacture, distribution channels and the retail sector.

The use of AI can help a company to understand current trends in its market. It can also enable the company to pick out micro trends relating to what is being purchased and where it is being purchased. The level of information which AI is capable of providing is so detailed that it can enable a company to tailor the range of products it offers to a specific store.

How does it work?

Data can be collected by apparel companies using tags and sensors sewn into garments. Then, by using AI to analyse these data, the companies can learn a lot about how consumers are using their garments—including how often the garments are washed when they are used, and when they stop being used. Information gathered and analysed by AI in this way can help manufacturers to evaluate the properties of materials used, such as their tensile strength and elasticity.

Can it help manufacturers?

Yes. Manufacturers can also use data collected and analysed by AI to help with future decisions regarding the best raw material suppliers to use, which type of fabric to use, and even how best to cut the garments from the fabric to minimise waste.

Will it help retailers too?

Definitely! AI is being used in retail stores to provide customers with a better service—and in the future, this could include the introduction of stores which are serviced by robots as opposed to people. AI is also being used by apparel retailers to sell additional items to their customers by recommending personalised offers of other garments and accessories which complement the products they have already selected.

Furthermore, AI is being used by companies wishing to automate their marketing activities, to analyse customer habits, and to understand better whether visitors to a store behave differently at different times of the day—perhaps when the store is quiet and when it is busy—and in what way. This information can be fed into decision-making processes relating to the merchandising and positioning of garments in a store with the aim of maximising sales.

To learn more about how we can help you to understand the implications of artificial intelligence in YOUR business, send an email to me (, and I’ll be pleased to help you.

Belinda Carp - Business Consultant in Manchester

Author: Belinda Carp

Consultant: Marketing & Textiles

Belinda has experience in a range of business sectors, including textiles, manufacturing and publishing. Her knowledge and experience span various business sizes and types, especially SMEs and micro companies.  She understands the juggling act that small business owners have to manage on a day to day basis, and has the ability to prioritise and plan tasks in order for companies to achieve the success they deserve.

Her focus is on helping clients to build the relationships within their supply chain – in order that they develop the best possible sales, marketing, communications and customer services. She also helps companies to plan strategically, improve efficiencies, and to implement the changes necessary.

Belinda has more than 20 years of experience as sales and marketing director of a specialist publishing company, providing research-based information on the global textile industry. She has a good understanding of the issues which textile companies face – including sustainability, ethical sourcing and consumer trends relating to the apparel sector. In addition to her responsibilities in sales and marketing, Belinda has researched and written several reports on the textile and apparel industry.