Fashion designers get fingered by big data

Wikimedia CommonsThe use of analytics and big data has demonstrated how style trends surge through the industry, according to researchers at Penn State University.

Heng Xu, a professor of info science and tech at Penn, said a team of researchers analysed a large number of words and phrases from fashion reviews.

Xu said: “Data analytics are becoming more available for finding patterns, establishing correlations and identifying trends”.  He said: “It is being applied to many industries and fields, from health care to politics, but what we wanted to see is if data analytics could be used in the fashion industry.”

Her team extracted keywords and phrases describing silhouettes, colours, fabrics and other data from designers’ collection and then created algorithms to rank the designers and find out their influence.

Fashion designers can be sceptical about big data and analytics because they consider themselves to be artists.  But the team said it had found fingerprints that could be related to individual designers.

“Buying from leading designers is expensive, but if you had information on what design elements were beginning to trend, it might help you buy the latest fashion more inexpensively,” Said Xu.

The team believes the analytics will help them to discover who the next big fashion designer could be.