AI Tribes

“We use AI to predict how fabric handles during production” – How Shana Chu, CEO of Tailr, is finessing the look and feel of fashion

By Business & Finance
14 March 2024

As the application of AI continues to change processes in industries worldwide, I was interested to hear how it’s transforming aspects of the textile and fashion industry. Shana Chu, Founder and CEO of Tailr described how she’s using the cutting-edge technology to ensure garments look and feel as they are designed to. By Sarah Freeman.

I met Shana Chu, CEO of Tailr, at AI Tribes, the one-day tech conference, focused on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Data Science landscape, at Trinity College Dublin. Chu was there to speak about the impact of AI on emerging solutions with panelists Ciaran O’Mara, CTO & Co-Founder of Protex AI and Garry Tiscovschi, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Kreoh in a discussion moderated by DC Cahalane, Venture Partner. Sure Valley Ventures.

Chu founded  Tailr,  a cloud-based SaaS platform that helps clothing brands streamline production, achieve sustainability goals and ensure consistent sizing, in August 2021. Prior to that, she held the role of IT and Product development manager at Apparel Supply for almost eight years. She was an Enterprise Ireland Phase 2 New Frontiers participant and studied Fashion and Accessories Design, Fashion/Apparel Design at WAEC.

“We use AI specifically to accurately predict how fabric handles during production”

Chu describes the process of evaluating textile from start to finish:  “We are using AI to augment our own work practises but also the fashion industry. We use AI specifically to accurately predict how fabric handles during production so that we can show consistent sizing coming out of production. We look at the fabric, what goes into the fabric, the process behind making that fabric and then we look at how that corresponds to the design of the garment where you put certain design elements on the garment. So we look at the whole 360 view of a full garment and all of the different components of it as well and then we make best practise recommendations to designers so that the garment that comes out of production is identical to the specification that they sent.  

With a raft of legislation concerning both AI technology and digital products imminent, Chu says it’s going to complicate matters for some.

“The EU is looking at digital product passports and this is going to badly affect the textile and clothing industry, because currently there’s not much transparency on the supply chain. Sometimes fabric mills are unable to accurately tell you where some of the yarn or where some of the dyes have actually come from. So by implementing a system like Tailr, it offers a level of transparency that brands typically don’t have at the moment.

Are human designers becoming redundant?

Chu has considered this question many times before, not surprising considering the industry she is in. “I gave a talk for Vogue and asked the room, full of creatives, ‘Who here is worried that AI is going to take over their jobs?’ Every single person put up their hand. But then I started explaining the restrictions of AI.  When it comes to the creative aspect, that should be left to humans because humans are able to think outside the box, whereas AI has only been trained on what has gone before. Leave the administrative and checking over details aspect to AI. When you’re looking at a brand, their design is everything. In order to compete in a saturated market like brands are, it’s all about your design. That’s where it counts to put your money into.”

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