The fashion industry can do more: More purposeful use of AI with more sustainable algorithmic innovation
First insights from a bachelor thesis in the BA program‘ Fashion and Design Management and an ongoing research project on the topic: ‘More purposeful use of algorithmic innovation for getting a sustainability self-assessment tool: A case study of major fashion actors to raise AI design competences and responsible consumer integration to tackle the climate crisis
‘Advanced analytics and artificial intelligence are mainly used in the fashion industry today to produce more of the same products faster – we need more sustainable algorithmic innovation based on proper sustainability self-assessments and we need to explore and implement data strategies, which are including domain experts – customers, stakeholders and designers – to become more successful and purposeful in the long term – for our planet and for sustaining the livelihoods of future generations, says Melenie Hecker.
Melenie Hecker has successfully developed the background for this statement in her bachelor thesis and as a junior researcher in an ongoing research project on sustainable algorithmic innovation with Prof. Dr. Ingo Rollwagen (Professor for General Management in knowledge-intensive and creative industries) at the AMD Akademie Mode & Design Berlin and the AI Design Competence Collective.
Melenie Hecker – a distinguished graduate of the Fashion and Design Management Bachelor’s program at AMD Akademie Mode & Design Berlin and innovation enthusiast, has also found in her applied research that the most important digital innovators and most successful companies in the fashion industry and in fashion retail are already making increased use of advanced analytics and AI. However, these key players differ widely in their preparedness and the degree of use of algorithmic innovation (see figure 1).
Based on Melenie’s initial findings and the ongoing research, Prof. Dr. Ingo Rollwagen – her mentor in the thesis and the founder of the AI Design Competence Collective – says: ‘We have definitely seen advanced analytics and AI put to use to bring about increased automation of data and information processing as well as (automated) accelerated decision-making in product development processes, leading to more agile processes in companies and organizations – we are doing more of the same faster. What we don’t yet see is sustainable AI – algorithmic innovation with an augmentation – an enrichment of these practices with other knowledge, around materials and sustainability – we don’t yet see enough sustainable development and inclusive approaches to more data processing-based sustainable development.’
‘Most organizations and companies – even the leading digital innovators – are yet to reap the benefits of developing and using more sustainable algorithmic innovation, which lies in an amplification – extending different product life cycles and more sustainable use of clothing and business practices’, say Melenie Hecker and Dr. Ingo Rollwagen in a podcast on ‘sustainability, AI and design’ (available via design hoch drei, link below).
‘Especially a better understanding and more frequent, strategic, differentiated application of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a sound foundation for developing better AI solutions through sustainable algorithmic innovation – for which the use of a sustainability self-assessment tool is an important first step’, adds Melenie Hecker.
In her bachelor thesis and the ongoing research endeavor, she develops a prototype for such a sustainability self-assessment tool, which can help to develop totally different, new, more sustainable fashion products and services. Please contact the AI Design Competence Collective and the respective researchers if you want to know more about the ongoing work and if you want to be part of that.