Thread, a London-based AI-powered fashion sales company, just raised $22M with a new funding round. That is some serious money (total funding is $38M) for an eCommerce company from some serious investors (H&M, Demis Hassabis, Mustafa Suleyman, Y Combinator). Thread weaves a mixture of AI insights with expert human stylists to study each customer’s fashion tastes. The stylists eventually make decisions for said customers, and then use the AI insights to search inventory via Thread's technology. And Thread learns as time happens, so the advice becomes more and more personal with every visit.
Thread looks to have a great model and we wish them congratulations on their funding. But lets talk about the AI craze that has fully infiltrated fashion.
Who does it?
It feels like everyone, ranging from giants such as Alibaba all the way to startups such as Finery.
What is it?
AI discussions are complex, and stances on its place in society often become intense following that third beer. This is because of 1) its injection into a wide variety of everyday processes and 2) its powers are evolving. So yes, a worldwide experiment. But fashion AI can be semi-simplified into its key initiatives:
- Accurately predict discounts
- Determine the geographic allocation of stock
- Retain and relay information on past performance
- Identify social media trends and micro-trends
- Deliver custom shopping for every consumer (over time)
It all comes down to increasing personalization and eliminating surplus. But all the kinks are not worked out, and there are major concerns if shoppers will give a robot the sympathy they give a human. So, we want your thoughts.