From writing to medical applications, AI is changing the world, and the fashion industry is no different. In this article, we take a further look into the transformative role AI is playing in reshaping the landscape of fashion, driving the industry to become more sustainable. From improving supply chain transparency to supporting more sustainable choices from consumers, we uncover some of the innovative ways AI is propelling the fashion world towards a more eco-friendly and socially responsible future.

How is AI making supply chains more transparent?

Supply chain transparency is fundamental to more sustainable, circular fashion economy, and it’s a key example of where AI is having a significant impact on the fashion industry’s sustainability efforts. Brands and manufacturers are harnessing the power of data-driven insights, AI auditing and blockchain technology to better understand, monitor, and improve their supply chain operations. This improved environmental impact, working conditions and product integrity, supporting the growing consumer demand for sustainability, as well as meeting key legislation and regulation.

Blockchain Technology

AI is often used in conjunction with blockchain technology to create a transparent and tamper-proof record of every step in the supply chain. This ledger records each transaction and event, making it impossible to manipulate or falsify information. This ensures the integrity of the data related to sourcing, manufacturing, and distribution, supporting transparent supply chains.

Supplier Auditing

AI can automatically audit suppliers by cross-referencing data, conducting risk assessments, and identifying inconsistencies or anomalies in reports. This allows brands to make more informed decisions about their supplier relationships, ensuring compliance with ethical and environmental standards.


AI-powered systems can track the movement of materials and products in real-time, providing brands with accurate and up-to-date information on where their products are at any given moment. This information is critical for verifying the authenticity and sustainability of the supply chain.

Consumer Access

Consumers need accurate, up-to-date information to be able to make sustainable choices when it comes to buying clothes. Some clothing brands are using AI and blockchain to give consumers access to origin information about their products. In this instance, consumers can scan a garment’s QR code or use an app to view details about where and how the product was made, as well as fabric make up and other sustainability identifiers. This is especially important, as it makes it quick and easy for consumers to find out this information, making it more likely they choose sustainable options.

Smart Contracts

Another part of the supply chain supported by blockchain, and AI are smart contracts. Using this technology, manufacturers and brands and automatically execute payments and agreements based on predefined conditions and stipulations. This can help ensure fairer labour conditions, as well as the responsible sourcing of materials across all parts of the supply chain.

Resource Maximisation with AI

Another key area where AI is supporting a more sustainable fashion industry is resource maximisation. Here, AI helps to optimise production by forecasting demand accurately, reducing overproduction, using energy more efficiently and minimising waste. This leads to a decrease in unsold inventory and the environmental impact of excess manufacturing. AI-driven inventory management systems help fashion brands keep their stock levels in check, avoiding excessive stock that might end up as waste.

AI can also predict potential supply chain disruptions and vulnerabilities, helping brands take proactive measures to mitigate risks and ensure a more stable and ethical supply chain.

AI Driven Sustainable Design and Materials

AI is supporting more efficient and sustainable design. Through areas such as generative design and pattern recognition, AI applications can assist fashion designers in creating clothing patterns that minimise material waste. This approach helps designers and brands reduce the environmental impact of their production processes, reducing material investment and thus making fashion more sustainable. Additionally, customisation and personalised design options can help ensure a perfect fit, reducing the need for alterations and further waste.

AI can also evaluate the environmental impact of various materials, enabling fashion designers and brands to make informed choices on materials used, their composition and water usage and carbon emissions. This can help brands, designers and manufacturers to make more accurate eco-friendly choices in material selection, supporting the brand’s sustainability goals.

AI can also support a circular fashion model. This is achieved by enhancing traceability and identifying recycling opportunities. AI can provide information on the composition of clothing items, simplifying the process of identifying materials suitable for recycling and upcycling in a closed loop system. This identification can also make it easier for consumers to make more eco-friendly choices, helping to extend the lifespan of a product and reduce the demand for new production.

Challenging traditional fashion  models

Consumer awareness is a key aspect of creating a more sustainable and eco-friendly fashion industry, increasing implicit expectation that businesses are more sustainable across the industry. AI-driven tools and apps play a crucial role in providing consumers with information about a product’s environmental impact, empowering them to make more sustainable choices.

This includes:

Increased transparency of carbon footprint

AI can calculate and display the carbon footprint of a product, considering factors like transportation, manufacturing, and materials. This information helps consumers understand the environmental impact of their purchases, and as this becomes more widespread, it will become more expected.

Sustainability Ratings

In addition to information on carbon footprint, AI applications can also assign sustainability ratings or labels to products, indicating how eco-friendly they are, helping consumers make active sustainable choices. These ratings can calculate factors such as the use of sustainable materials, ethical labour practices, and environmentally responsible manufacturing processes.

Recommendations for customers

AI-driven algorithms can also provide consumers with personalised recommendations for more sustainable alternatives. For example, if a consumer is interested in eco-friendly fashion, the app can suggest products or brands that align with their values. Apps can also offer information on how to extend the lifespan of clothing items and reduce the need for frequent replacements. This includes tips on proper care, repair, and recycling. These are important ways to support more responsible consumerism in the first place, but also drive a circular economy forward.

In a twist on sales shopping, AI apps can notify users about upcoming sales or discounts on sustainable fashion products they’ve previously shown interest in. This encourages responsible shopping by helping consumers make well-considered purchase decisions rather than impulsive ones, which fast fashion encourages.

Trying on with AI

AI is also changing the way we can try on clothes, utilising the potential of 3D virtual model technologies. Here, virtual fitting rooms can be tailored exactly to a customer’s particular requirements. This supports right-first-time purchases which will eliminate waste and returns, but also has the potential to support more sustainable investment pieces. MySize is a great example of the potential of this.

Virtual sustainable fashion shows

As an extension of this, brands are also leveraging AI applications in fashion shows.  With AI tools like text prompt-to-video, virtual runway shows are becoming more manageable and engaging, enabling the creation of photorealistic models and videos. This shift reduces manual labour, enhances viewer engagement, and opens possibilities for mass adoption of digital fashion, ultimately making fashion shows more sustainable and adaptable to the evolving industry landscape.

Ethical Practices

Consumers can learn about a brand’s commitment to fair labour practices and ethical sourcing through AI supported applications.  This transparency enables consumers to support companies that align with their values. AI tools can highlight the social and community impact of brands quickly and easily, including their contributions to local economies and charitable initiatives. This provides consumers with a more holistic view of a brand’s sustainability efforts.

AI Supported Sustainability Analytics

AI is used to analyse and report on a brand’s sustainability efforts, allowing them to track progress and make improvements. AI-enabled sensors and IoT devices can also monitor environmental conditions and the status of products in real time, helping to reduce damage and losses in transit.

Applications for this technology include:

Data Collection

AI can gather data from various sources across the supply chain, including brand development, manufacturing, shipping and sales. Data collected at these points can include including manufacturing processes, energy consumption, waste management, and supply chain practices. This data can then be used by consumers, brands, regulators and manufacturers to assess, ensure and improve sustainability across supply chains.

Environmental and Performance Assessments

AI can assess the environmental impact of a brand’s activities by analysing factors such as energy usage, water consumption, and emissions involved in manufacturing their garments. This delivers accurate, often real-time performance data, allowing changes to be made faster if required.

Sustainability analytics can also use AI to define and measure KPIs related to sustainability goals. This gives consistency in data approach, helping consumers and regulators to benchmark and compare fairly.

Using AI for sales predictions

In the fast fashion industry, stockpiling leads to significant waste as trends rapidly change. Artificial Intelligence can be used a powerful tool in sales analytics, decoding consumer behaviour, accurately predicting trends and improving inventory management.  This helps reduce waste, which supports both sustainability and the bottom line of a business.

Predictive Analysis for problem solving

AI empowers brands to anticipate future sustainability trends and challenges, enabling proactive decision-making to address issues before they escalate into significant problems. This makes sure that sustainability is a consistent priority.

To wrap up

In conclusion, AI is revolutionising the fashion industry by enabling data-driven decisions that prioritise sustainability, across the supply chain. From enhancing supply chain transparency to fostering resource maximisation and supporting circular fashion models, AI can and will play pivotal role in reducing the environmental impact of the industry. As consumer awareness grows, AI continues to empower both brands and consumers to make choices that align with sustainability goals, paving the way for a more eco-friendly and responsible fashion future.

Textile Consult operates worldwide, consulting on a variety of management, training and sustainability issues within the textile industry. Contact us today to find out how we’ll work with you to find effective, sustainable solutions for your company.