Imagine a smart computer that could explore the internet, then predict next year’s fashion in clothing. Who would be interested in such a software? For one, Zalando, the largest online European clothing retailer.
“Fashionbrain” is a project financed by the European Union with a grant of 3 million CHF, a collaboration coordinated by the University of Sheffield, including the Zalando company and researchers from the group of Professor Philippe Cudré-Mauroux at the University of Fribourg.
The 3-year project has just reached completion. One of the outcomes is a study led by Drs Mourad Khayati and Ines Arous, using artificial intelligence to identify key “influencers” on the internet whose opinions are likely to be indicative of future trends. In a recent publication, they demonstrate how their software was able to correctly identify important fashion influencers by scanning millions of public online messages.