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AI Stylist vs. Human Stylist: Finding the Right Fit

As AI (artificial intelligence) grows at lightening speed, its use in personal styling will also increase.

What is an AI stylist actually?

You can use an AI chatbot like ChatGPT. There are also styling apps that incorporate AI. This is the most promising and fastest growing option. It leverages machine learning algorithms to analyze and interpret visual data such as clothing items, accessories, and fashion trends. It allows you to upload the clothing items you already own and AI will make automatic combinations of those items into outfits.

Why would you use AI as a stylist?

1. Cost and Accessibility of an AI Stylist

You would use AI as a stylist because it’s free. You can take up as much of AI’s time as you like, at any hour of the day or night, without making an appointment.

Using the services of a personal stylist has long been seen as a luxury — an elitist service reserved for celebrities and other wealthy individuals. Although I think this is an intentional branding campaign gone wrong (see last section), AI will open up styling to everyone, and greater access is a good thing.

“A personal stylist has traditionally been a privilege reserved for higher-income classes,”

Kostas Koukoravas, founder and chief executive of Intelistyle

Maybe you would use AI as a stylist because a human stylist might have an opinion that clashed with yours, which could require an uncomfortable conversation. You don’t have to have a live interaction with an AI stylist or feel vulnerable revealing personal details about yourself.

A growing number of online clothing retailers offer free styling services that use AI to filter through the hundreds of thousands of items they stock. This can save you hours of scrolling.

2. Fashion Inspiration from an AI Stylist

AI stylists will change the game when it comes to finding fashion inspiration. With their suggestions and recommendations, they serve as a source of new ideas, helping individuals explore different styles, experiment with looks, and stay in tune with the latest fashion trends. The question is, is this what you value?

3. Virtual Try-On

AI stylists offer a convenient virtual try-on experience. Using augmented reality, users can see how clothes will look on them without needing to try them on physically. This feature saves time and helps users make online shopping decisions more confidently.

4. Wardrobe Management

Moreover, AI stylists offer practical solutions for managing your wardrobe. They create a digital inventory of your clothing items and provide outfit suggestions using what you already have. They can even recommend new items to complement your existing wardrobe, making the most of what you own, keeping you organized, and reducing unnecessary purchases.

Why would you not use AI as a stylist?

Why would you not ask your electronic device how to get dressed? As AI stylists become more advanced, the following list will undoubtedly become shorter.

1. An AI Stylist depends on existing information

AI pulls existing information from the Internet, so it’s dependent on the quality, accuracy and quantity of that information.

“All AI can deal with is known data, so it develops a predictive model that doesn’t expand a world of possibilities; it shrinks it,” Doug Stephens, industry futurist and founder of Retail Prophet

2. Profit model and biases

What is the profit model of an AI stylist? Call me a cynic, but that’s where my mind goes. For apps, they’re linked to online shopping. Clothing brands are paying to play. So how can I trust my app to be agnostic and steer me toward buying only what I need? How can I trust my app to guide me to the brand that allows me to wear my values, rather than to the brand they are profiting from the most? Well, I can’t. You need a human for that.

3. You are not an algorithm

When done well, styling isn’t about dressing your body according to an algorithm. The outfit you need for a certain occasion can change based on different factors that can’t be quantified. For example, who will be there and what do you want to achieve?

Most people will also not want to wear the same thing all the time. Getting dressed is a relationship between the tangible (body, clothes, style) and the intangible (personality, mood, purpose).

4. We long for human connection and communication

I think we need more human connection, not less. Styling involves human intuition, empathy and communication skills, and I’m a firm believer that, when done right, it’s a FUN interaction between stylist and style. An AI stylist not only has no connection to you, it also has no vested interest in your well-being.

Time for a Personal Styling Rebrand

Regardless of whether a stylist is paid (human being) or not (AI), the styling industry is in need of a makeover.

Styling has long been linked to fashion. Fashion is fickle, it’s fleeting, it’s based on newness each season. Fashion feeds the consumption treadmill. Fast fashion is killing us and the women of color who are making our clothes. Here are some stats from the UN Environment Programme.

A good personal stylist has the best interests of their client in mind, including reducing consumption, choosing ethically and sustainably made items to minimize harm of people and planet, and showing how to make more out of less through creative outfit combinations.

So yes, stylists cost money, but they are SAVING lots in the long run — saving money, time, and natural and human resources.

Should You Use an AI Stylist?

Ideally, you could hire a living, breathing stylist who uses AI. By hiring a personal stylist who uses AI in their work, you get the best of both worlds.

To learn how working with a personal stylist using AI can enhanced your styling experience, I encourage you to contact me. I’m here to offer personalized guidance.

For more in-depth information on the advantages of working with  personal stylist, visit this link. It provides six compelling reasons and resources to find the right stylist for you.