Could Artificially Intelligent Bots be the Future of Footwear Design?

Like in many other industries, those who can collect data and react to early trend indications often find themselves at an advantage over their competition. Being able to utilize some type of trend based algorithm that’s able to see patterns much earlier than any human eye makes is something that has been done to great effect for many years. Generally though, you’d associate this type of trend analysis and pattern gathering algorithm with some type of stock market statistic or any other numerical based tip. Amazon, however, is thinking much more diversely.

Utilizing a generative adversarial network (GAN), which reviews large amounts of samples and can recall the specific details of each style, Amazon’s research and development firm, Lab126, is researching how to create technology that is capable of not only identifying, but reacting to fashion trends. The premise being that by tracking these fashion trends and compiling that data, the AI bots may be able to predict and create designs based upon them in the future.

So I guess the real question is; will we all be out of a job pretty soon? The good news is, probably not. Well, not if you’re designing interesting, new and unique designs anyway. Compiling data and reacting to trends is certainly a large part of footwear “design” for certain brands, and I can see how that data can be quantified and reacted to. Coming up with new, interesting, different and creative designs though would be much more difficult to do with AI…though I wouldn’t rule it out at some point.

Via – PYMNTS & MIT Technology Review
Image via Simeon Georgiev

Mr. Bailey

Product Designer + Footwear Architect | Founder of @ConceptKicks |

Join the conversation

  • Ilyas Darakchiev - 3 years ago

    I think, fashion is not only about function it’s also emotions and creativity. If new artificial intelligence would cry or laugh, then we can start to worry.
    But even if it will come true, we all know, that robots which can make some products like cars or electronic devices are already exist. But why in garment factories still working such a lot of people?
    In my opinion, robots could make all dangerous and dirty work. And if they will succesfully replaces factory workers, then we can talk about designers, managers, etc.

  • – Kandy Soufax – - 3 years ago

    A robot could never make a bespoke shoe with the craftsmanship or precision of a human. Maybe in a factory they could pull their weight but they will never replace bespoke shoemakers. The human touch is necessary when making shoes by hand. Great article though.

  • Mr shoe - 3 years ago

    Robots and computers are only able to analyse existing data (Huge amounts of data; yes). But they don’t have the capability to design something new, innovative, with passion and meaning behind it. For this reason I don’t fear for my job.

    Interesting read though!