IT4Fashion 2018, artificial intelligence enters the fashion world

Italy, May 9, 2018

The eighth edition of the "IT4Fashion" International Conference, took place in Florence. With over 600 participants, (of which, 300 were world fashion leaders).  450 represented fashion companies and 36 sponsors coming from 12 different countries, confirming the importance of this event in this industry.

Rinaldo Rinaldi, professor of Operations Management at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Florence and organizer of IT4Fashion 2018, explains that “The awareness of this edition is that technology is no longer just a support to logistics, but has instead become pervasive and transversal. There is an exponential increase in digital solutions that support all business areas in the fashion supply chain. From product development to aspects related to retail and client involvement, compared to other sectors of this industry, it has a precise need: the maximum reduction in time to market, the transition from product development to the presentation of the collection, thus causing digital to be an opportunity to grasp at without hesitation. Production is a segment of the supply chain most affected by technological innovation, being less and less in-house, it suffers the most while the extreme phases of the process (creation and retail) have proven to be more receptive and advanced".

The work was opened by a keynote speech of Ben Hanson, editor of WhichPLM, who explained how digital transformation is the symptom and not the cause of the changes taking place: "Technology, he said, is necessary due to the evolution of all the phases in the process: creation and realization of a product (3D technology), supply chain management (product traceability and interconnection between all the actors) and above all retail (with its totally revolutionized consumer relationship)".

In the two days of IT4Fashion, a number of technological approaches were examined and analysed: starting from T-Commerce (the possibility of shopping during televisions promotional programs, with the QRCode) to interactive sales points (offering customers the possibility to know the sales promotions, digitally). From evolution to the creativity of digital catalogues and finally the possibility of devising and defining commercial strategies, and forecasts that begin with databases and extensive, in-depth information.

Ample space was also given to the impact of artificial intelligence on human resources. In a sector characterized by the presence of many family-run businesses, it is necessary to find an Italian way to 4.0, combining innovation and tradition: rethinking the function of the supply chain, starting from the segments where digitization is easier, such as the administrative and documentation parts. Nevertheless, it’s been agreed that the process should not be seen as a contrast between machine and human, but that it’s necessary to ensure that the power of technology can beneficial to humans, who on the other hand, have the emotional, creativity, sensitivity, intuition: the utmost value is achieved when there is additivity between the two types of intelligence.

During the conference, the "IT4Fashion Innovation Awards" awarded four start-ups, who were selected among thirty qualified candidates: DressYouCan (Sustainability), Zakeke (Virtual Prototyping), Tooso (Big Data & Customer Engagement), Evo Pricing (Digital Supply Chain).

Rinaldi concludes by saying "The success of It4Fashion 2018, is accredited to the new work organization made distinctive by Round Table formulas, that have allowed for more agile and shared communication of contents".


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