Fashion and Technology -emerging area of big data?

We all know wearable technology is popular with FitBit and similar devices created to help us track our sleep, fitness, caloric intake and more. Fashion has caught on to the big data trend, specifically Marchesa’s partnership with IBM Watson for this year’s Met Gala. The article which doesn’t use the term ‘big data’ has it written all over it though.

For one, IBM Watson is an analytics tool; so in collaborating with a designer to design a dress there is data being utilized in the design and when the individual wears it to the Gala.

This is great for both IBM and Marchesa for exploring and setting a pattern for new partnerships that benefits both parties. IBM benefits because they are able to test how effective Watson is at capturing the details of a dress that resonates with the public and fashion critics. For Marchesa, the partnership represents a trend towards embracing more utilization of big data and enhances their brand. So a win win on the marketing, business and product and might set off another wave of collaboration between analytics and fashion.

The dress, a “cognitive dress” is smart technology because it incorporates past designs and celebrities who have worn Marchesa to the event that clues Watson into the the human emotions behind the color. As a result, the back end technology runs some algorithm to determine what the dress should look like to reflect the human connection.

The tool and dress design continues to utilize analytics and data in the selection of the material through a combination of “keyword extraction, concept tagging, taxonomy, sentiment analysis, relationship extraction, linked data and entity extraction.” This information is helping to deliver the final product – a dress which will have LED lights that changes colors based on social media response on Twitter.  The LED technology isn’t new – Taylor Swift once gave out LED bracelets to all her concert attendees that track individual’s responses to songs, emotions and more that help her deliver a better concert experience.

Finally, the celebrity wearing the dress will benefit from the data and enhance their own profile by leading the way with new technology trends in fashion. Their own social profile will increase greatly and the data will determine whether they are a great person to wear Marchesa.

Big data is becoming more widespread and necessary, the partnership with IBM and Marchesa can be an opportunity for more companies to explore these partnerships. Ultimately the data will yield valuable insights about emotions, brand loyalty, responses to a dress that can generate more press and revenue over time. When the event is over, it will be fascinating to see what kind of data IBM releases about the dress and read the responses to determine whether the data yielded the potential benefits of the collaboration.



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