The power of AI in YOONA Technology collection for DressX
YOONA Technology AI-powered collection is now available at DressX. We spoke to the founder of the brand, digital leader and one of a few women in tech Anna Franziska Michel about her fashion-forward tech solution at YOONA Tech, creativity in contemporary design, and the future of the industry.
Tell us more about YOONA as a tech solution. What is it for and how does it work?
YOONA Technology is a B2B Tech Solution that aims to shorten a design process to just a few simple clicks. YOONA is a Data Analyses Tool that can analyze data in the creative field and transform it into success-oriented designs. The solution is based on GANs (Generative Adversarial Networks), the latest technology that can be used to generate images of any kind, to carry out text-to-image translation, to convert one type of image to another, and to enhance the resolution of images (super-resolution) among other applications. Because GANs can generate entirely new data, they are at the head of many cutting-edge AI systems, applications, and research.
Overall, YOONA Tech AI-based design software is a unique solution for the fashion industry, as it automates the design process, making it more sustainable and customer-centric. It is scalable and can be implemented by a variety of industries that have digitization as their main focus. However, at the moment the fashion industry players are at the center of our attention – we develop our solution to help designers to accelerate the creation process.
Speaking about the usage of YOONA Tech Solution, it is simple and native. Users just need to create a profile in the app, upload various design data, such as performance analyses, pictures, technical drawings, trends, inspiration, mood boards etc., and then let the magic happen. Meanwhile, neural networks analyze all the input data, generating a unique image output. The last step is to select and save favorite designs.
Why do you think the industry needs automated design?
The conventional design process is completely obsoleted, subjective, and non-customer-centric. It's common knowledge that existing fashion business models are not sustainable. The production of physical prototypes creates a lot of waste, and has a negative impact on the allocation of resources. More than 70% of the collections that bring the biggest revenue are created according to historical data, performance analysis, or through copying/modification of bestsellers of the brand itself or its competitors. These processes cannot be seen as creative and thus should be automated.
How does the tech help to make the design more personal?
AI-based design solutions can be implemented as a powerful CRM tool to track consumers’ feedback and create customer-centric designs. As a result performance-orientated items are created on behalf of the needs and desires of end-consumers.
Do you think that technology can at some point completely eliminate the need for creativity and traditional fashion designers?
Although, 70% of the designs in fashion collections are non-creative, there is still around 30% in each of the collections that are prepared creatively. Technology and Innovation are supporting the process of creativity. We at YOONA Tech genuinely believe that only the combination of a creative mind and artificial intelligence can result in the highest performance. Nevertheless, modern designers should already embrace technology and innovative solutions during their fashion studies. As demonstrated by the recent research, only the designers who know how to use disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence, 3D, augmented and virtual reality solutions will be in demand on the market.
Tell us more about your background in Fashion Design and Sport Science. How did it help you to come up with the idea of YOONA Tech?
After my bachelor studies in fashion design, I decided to found my own fashion label. During this time I realized that the work in fashion was very inefficient and that consumers are not aware of the long design process and find it difficult to understand. I was not satisfied anymore with the implementation of my creativity in fashion design. After a short time, it seemed pointless to simply produce more clothes. The clothing industry creates so much garbage in small and large fashion companies (100 trillion tons of newly produced garments worldwide) and because the clothes are not appreciated at all, the consumers simply throw them away after a short time (4.3 trillion tons worldwide). I had and still have the urge to create something that changes the fashion industry. Firstly, being inspired by my own sports tracking data, I pursued the development of software that transforms personal data into design using neural networks, and artificial intelligence. Individuality is a megatrend today, and what can be more individual than your own tracking data?
Individual clothing creates a completely different feeling about the garment for the consumer. This ensures longer wearability and appreciation. For this purpose, I organized a team and a research group together with a professor from the Department of Business Informatics / Business Intelligence at my university. During this work, I realized that we could do much more than transforming data into design. Neural networks can be perfectly used to shorten the design process. Thus, certain areas of the still manual process can be digitized. This is how the technology was born and the name was YOONA. Individual items of clothing can now be produced quickly and easily, and so I'm ready to work with the larger fashion companies next, such as Ernstings Family. I believe that with the new disruptive technologies in fashion a lot can be changed, and whoever misses learning about it now will have a hard time in the future.
Not long ago you performed digital fashion show at Berlin Fashion Week. What do you think about the future of fashion events and how technology can help to optimize them?
We are the digital pioneers in the design industry. YOONA Technology is known for innovations, and at Berlin Fashion Week we always present something completely new, such as one of the world‘s first digital fashion shows.
Although digital fashion shows as trends are still evolving, for many designers they can be a great chance to showcase their creativity innovatively and bring their ideas to life in a format which is way more lasting than any fabric – code. With current technology, it's easier to spread the word around the world! Besides, technological solutions deployed during fashion events create an immersive engaging experience for brand customers. For instance, the Augmented Reality application – YOONA Tech's next solution – assists in the active engagement of customers through Virtual Tries-On. Hologram projections quickly create awareness of the product and emotional bond with a fashion brand.
Tell us more about the collection for DressX. Was it designed with automated technology? Could you tell us more about the creative process and what the collection is about?
As I already mentioned, YOONA technology learns from the already existing information, such as historical or trend data. This collection was created from my own design data of past collections and projects. The AI was fed with all my designs, sketchbooks, mood board, prints etc. These are excerpts from our last two digital collections, which were already shown at the Berlin Fashion Week. If I would think about what these collections mean to me – actually they are my story summarized into my vision of digitalization and technology.
One of the aims of Yoona Tech is to promote conscious consumption. How do you think you can contribute to making the fashion industry more sustainable and which practices are you already using at YOONA Tech?
Sustainability is one of the key values in our company. Our team members have personally witnessed the drawbacks of conventional fashion business models that often result in overproduction of plenty of unnecessary clothes that never meet customer expectations, while environmental and companies’ resources are dissipated.
Luckily, fashion market players started to implement various strategies to improve their productivity and apply sustainable innovation to their core product design, production, and supply chain processes to respond to the pressure for growth and excellent economic performance. Deployment of AI-based solutions like machine learning has the potential to transform the industry value chain elements, including research and development processes. Smart AI-powered solutions not only make production processes more efficient and sustainable, but also provide analytics regarding consumer behavior and fashion trends, which can transform businesses for the better. With YOONA Technology AI-based solution, fashion market players will be able to execute multiple sustainable practices, such as a decrease of environmental footprint, appropriate resources allocation, and elimination of physical prototypes productions.
What does it mean for you personally to be called a Digital Female Leader and a Woman in Tech? Are there a lot of women in the field?
It was a very emotional moment for me when I received the award as Digital Female Leader in the Innovation category. I invested a lot of energy and effort in YOONA, and thus it was a great honor to me after just a few years in the tech sector. I was thinking my way into new unexplored technologies, and to be accepted as a woman in this field with my project was an amazing but also stony way. Reporting from my own experience there are only a few leading women in the Tech industry.
The award means different things to me. For one thing, it motivated me to keep going. It gave me strength and power. On the other hand, I realized that I am not only a digital leader, but also a role model. The role model for other founders and women, showing that everything is possible if you just believe in it and that everyone can change the future.
What do you think about the future of digital fashion and which opportunities it will open for the industry?
YOONA Technology is the future of fashion. We see the future as an objectively sustainable design generation to customer-centric products. We will have a digital circle as a value chain in the fashion industry – from the creation process to e-commerce and conversion rate including AI, AR, or VR. Digital fashion offers a 360-degree immersive experience that includes graphics and music in addition to fashion. It’s a great chance for fashion designers to explore an innovative form of promotion regardless of external circumstances. Only imagine the variety of settings and items that can be created with technology! Just think about avatar models in dresses made of glass walking underwater! Innovative solutions remain relatively unknown terrain, but fashion companies should explore them to enhance consumer centricity, be faster to the market, and create tight emotional bonds with customers.