Get Your Fashion Fix: Stitch Fix Adds AI Flair to Your Closet

by Allison Toh

Some say style never fades, and now with the help of AI, finding one’s fashion sense is about to get a whole lot easier.

Fashion ecommerce startup Stitch Fix is piecing together a seamless balance between AI-powered decision making and human judgement.

“We really want to be a partner and personal stylist for people over a long period of time,” said Stitch Fix’s Chief Algorithms Officer Brad Klingenberg in a conversation with AI Podcast host Noah Kravitz.

“A lot of our clients find it really rewarding to be able to have their stylists get to know them … and this is all augmented and complemented with what we can learn algorithmically,” he added. ‘But I think there’s a really rich human component there that is not something easily replaced by an algorithm.”

Since launching in 2011, Stitch Fix has attracted over 3 million clients. Users complete a style profile and are assigned a personal stylist. Stylists will send a box — also referred to as a “fix” — with a curated selection of clothes, accessories, and shoes that fit within one’s taste and budget. Using clients’ feedback per fix, both the stylist and Stitch Fix’s algorithms gain a better sense of their styles.

As a service, Stitch Fix benefits from a “human-in-the-loop” method to help users experiment with their own aesthetic. The stylist acts as a check to the algorithm by evaluating if a selected piece either deviates too much from or helps diversify a client’s existing wardrobe.

“[This] really allows data scientists and folks on my team to really focus on things that dramatically improve the client experience and worry less about rare edge cases,” said Klingenberg. “The stylist will be able to help us make the right decision.”

Personalized curation, Klingenberg explains, is an increasing trend in not just retail, but also in other consumer services such as television and music.

“There’s certainly a central aspect to the Stitch Fix value proposition where… the goal isn’t to present clients with an unlimited selection of everything they could ever want… but to actually just share what they want,” said Klingenberg. “And so I think this counter trend to just limitless availability will show up in a few places.”

If you are interested in learning more about Klingenberg’s work at Stitch Fix, you can check out their technical blog, Multithreaded, and venture into the science behind the fashion with their Algorithms Tour.

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