AI Shopping Apps Are Booming—But Can They Change the Way We Consume Fashion?


The pandemic has disrupted the fashion industry in a multitude of ways. One of the most obvious to those of us working from home and staring into our phones all day is the recent boom in AI shopping apps. Machine-learning fashion sites and apps have been around for some time—see: StitchFix and TrunkClub. But since the start of the pandemic, there’s been a significant uptick.

This new wave of products aims to ease the frustrations of online shopping by coordinating outfits according to everything from a user’s location, to her favorite brands, to what’s trending, and so on. There’s The Yes, whose simple “yes” or “no” algorithm calculates a user’s style preferences and curates a selection of brands that ship through their own warehouses. Behold was founded by Terry Boyle, previously of Nordstrom and he brought in former Barneys execs Julie Gilhart, now President and Chief Development Officer of Tomorrow Projects, and Tomoko Ogura, a consulting partner of Tomorrow Projects. Their app offers a nonbinary scale algorithm that puts together outfits based on a user’s style and shopping preferences. They also offer consultations and curations with celebrity and industry stylists.

Earlier this month, Nate made its debut. Launched by Albert Saniger, previously of Amazon Fashion, it enables users to buy anything online with one click of the app, eliminating the multi-step checkout process that most websites require. And just last week former fashion editors Anne Slowey and Anne Christensen launched Latitude. Their app curates outfits based on weather forecasts, which you are able to buy, save for later, or rent. There’s also a live news feed covering culture and politics, as well as a daily inspirational quote and meditation program.

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