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Hong Kong’s PolyU to hold the world's first conference on the integration of Artificial Intelligence and fashion

The Institute of Textiles and Clothing (ITC) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) organised the world’s first ever academic conference titled “Artificial Intelligence on Fashion and Textile Conference 2018” (AIFT).

The AIFT conference is in partnership with the Vision and Beauty Team at Alibaba, an online e-commerce multinational corporation, and The Textile Institute, UK, an establishment that promotes professionalism in all areas associated with the textile industries worldwide.

AIFT 2018 aims to explore the integration of the fashion and textile supply chain, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). A diverse group of researchers, engineers, and practitioners will gather to exchange their ideas on the use of Artificial Intelligence in the fashion and textile industry. Furthermore, the conference seeks to foster discussion and exploration of the most promising theories and applied intelligence topics.

The conference was inaugurated on 4 July 2018 by Dr Bernard Chan, Under Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, HKSAR Government; Dr Lam Tai-fai, Deputy Chairman of PolyU Council; Professor Timothy W. Tong, President of PolyU; and Mr Zhuang Zhuo-ran, Vice President of Alibaba Group. It is scheduled to last four days and will end on 8 July 2018. The conference has been attended by over 250 researchers, engineers, practitioners and IT professionals from both the AI and fashion fields.

In his welcoming address, The PolyU President, Professor Timothy W. Tong, stated that Hong Kong’s universities perform well in AI technology and other related fields. They have spear-headed world-leading research and development capabilities. The recent propagation of AI has had a profound effect on society. By working in collaboration with various new technologies, AI is currently revolutionising numerous industries, including fashion. This has resulted in optimised production lines, improved operational efficiency as well as enhanced business processes. Undoubtedly, these benefits will lead to higher profitability. “With collaborations with industry leaders like Alibaba, PolyU will be able to make even more significant contribution in the global development of AI in the years ahead,”, Professor Tong added.

The plenary speakers at AIFT 2018 are Professor Zowie Broach, Head of Fashion of Royal College of Art; Mr Menglei Jia, Senior Technical Expert, Taobao Technology Business Unit of Alibaba Group; Ms Kim Wong, Professor of Practice, ITC, PolyU; and Professor Dacheng Tao, Professor of Computer Science, School of Information Technologies, The University of Sydney. These four experts and researchers will present their research findings from and insight into the application of AI in the fashion industry.

To solve the impending issues regarding the application of AI in the fashion and textile supply chain, The Institute of Textiles and Clothing (ITC) and Alibaba also organised a global competition entitled the “FashionAI Global Challenge 2018”. More than 6,000 researchers and engineers and over 5,000 teams from 42 countries participated to compete for the prize pool of S$2.73 million. The top 10 teams flew to Hong Kong and presented their solutions and ideas at the conference on 5 July 2018.

Concurrently, a FashionAI Concept Store will be set up at the PolyU campus from 4 July to 7 July to demonstrate how AI and fashion retail can be integrated. The Store integrates innovative and intelligent technology to provide the ultimate shopping experience for consumers and to improve sales and customer service at the same time.

Both the Challenge and The AIFT Conference 2018 will be arranged to function as annual activities for academic exchange and networking. They will allow like-minded individuals, who are revolutionising the world of AI and fashion and advancing AI research in the fashion and textile industries, to share their ideas and theories.

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