The e-commerce company Yoox launched its first private label brand, 8 by Yoox, tapping into the dual trends of artificial-intelligence-assisted fashion design and retailer-owned private label brands.
Every collection of 8 by Yoox will be designed using the help of in-house AI tools that survey vast swathes of the online fashion market and social media platforms, culling some of the most shared and talked-about trends and styles. Yoox’s design team will then use the data collected by these artificial intelligence tools to influence and inspire each collection that the brand produces.
Yoox has always positioned itself as straddling the line between fashion and technology. Beyond just e-commerce, Yoox, which is one half of the Richemont’s Yoox Net-a-Porter group, is banking on the AI trend that is such a buzzy topic in Silicon Valley will streamline the design process for fashion as well.
“AI will certainly play an increasing role in the fashion industry as to help identify what customers want and what they will want in the future,” said Erik Ostling, director of own labels for Yoox Net-a-Porter Group’s off-season businesses, which include Yoox and The Outnet. “AI can carry out some tasks that humans can’t such as processing very large amounts of data, including colors and product attributes like sleeve or trouser lengths and silhouettes. However, while AI has the power to be transformative in the fashion industry, it can never replace the human touch.”
The approach taken by 8 by Yoox is similar to the data-driven design decisions from brands across the fashion and beauty industries. Online fashion consignment shop ThredUp recently debuted a private label called Remade designed using data on what clothes typically do the best in the resell market. Other brands have used AI for advertising, like lingerie brand Natori, or even the creation of individual products, like the personalized fragrances made with AI by Prose.
“We are always exploring the frontier between human and machine; it’s been part of our DNA since I invented Yoox in 1999,” said Federico Marchetti, the founder of Yoox and CEO of Yoox Net-a-Porter, in a statement. “Today we are trying to combine the latest artificial intelligence with the human spirit and creative talent of our design team.”
The launch of 8 by Yoox, which debuted globally on Tuesday, makes it the latest private label introduced in the Yoox Net-a-Porter group. Mr Porter has its label Mr P and The Outnet has Iris & Ink. These private labels are becoming a must as fashion retailers seek to compete with Amazon and the staggering number of private labels – more than 70 – it has launched in the last few years.
Yoox is hoping that the AI component of its new private label will help it more efficiently design collections at a quicker pace to compete with some of the big names in fast fashion like Fashion Nova and ASOS, which crank out huge numbers of new pieces every week. The risk with this approach, according to Yoox, is that relying too heavily on artificial intelligence can easily lead to sterile and homogenous designs.
“Data will certainly continue to play more of a role in the fashion industry but it will never replace the work of our product teams,” Ostling said. “8 by Yoox is all about understanding customers and using technology to create something special, which is what Yoox has always been about. Data analysis helps us identify long-term trends, which are then used by our team to develop a collection of contemporary lifestyle essentials.”