Data analytics could help fashion industry prosper

New York, Dec 29 (IANS) Analysing data from social media sites could one day help fashion designers better predict fashion trends and possibly identify next celebrity designers, researchers say.

Data analytics 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,” said Heng Xu, associate professor of information sciences and technology at the Pennsylvania State University.
By analysing relevant words and phrases from fashion reviews, researchers were able to identify a network of influence among major designers and track how those style trends moved through the industry.
The researchers analyzed 6,629 reviews of 816 designers from Style.com, formerly the online site for the fashion magazine Vogue.
Xu said her team extracted keywords and phrases from these reviews that described silhouettes, colours, fabrics and other details from each designer’s collections and added them to their dataset.
To evaluate the accuracy of their model, the researchers compared their network against three industry-recognised lists of influential designers, including the Times, the Fashion Merchandising Degrees and “A Celebration of the 20 Most Influential Designers” and found that it closely matched those lists.
“While professionals in many industries are welcoming data analytics, this type of analysis may meet some skepticism from fashion designers, who view their work as a form of art and more difficult to quantify,” added Yilu Zhou, associate professor of information systems at the Fordham University.
“But what we are finding from the data is that we can find footprints. There are clues that can be traced back to individual designers,” Zhou added.
Xu said that the technology may also help consumers by helping them create wardrobes that are within their budget and are also in vogue.
The team recently presented their findings at the “Workshop of Information Technology and Systems” in Auckland, New Zealand.