An AI ‘designer’ just won runner-up in a major fashion design competition

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(Image credit: Shenlan Technology)

Editor’s note: A version of this originally appeared on RADII, a new media platform covering culture, innovation, and life in today’s China.

An AI “designer” won big at this year’s China International Fashion Design Innovation Competition (中国国际服装设计创新大赛), beating out many of its human counterparts before a panel of 50 judges, and causing some to speculate about the impact of AI on creativity.

DeepVogue, an AI design system created by Shenlan (“Deep Blue”) Technology (深兰科技), was the only “non-human” participant among 16 teams from around the country. The system went on to win the runner-up prize overall, as well as its “People’s Choice Award.”

(Image credit: Shenlan Technology)

According to Shenlan Technology representatives, the technology requires a great deal of input from human designers, who can import images, themes and keywords into the DeepVogue system. The system then uses “deep learning”– essentially extensive studying by a machine of a database of information—to produce original designs. The designers are then able to filter out the results based on cost and other preferences.

The panel of judges went on to say that “AI won’t replace designers,” but could instead handle repetitive tasks and reshape the ecosystem for those who lack design capabilities.

Even so, it’s hard not to picture this technology being taken further in the near future.

Many argue that AI, and particularly deep learning, are due to have interesting repercussions for creative work, and Chinese companies appear ready to lead the way.