What sets Ai-Da, the AI humanoid robot, apart from other robots? Besides the fact she's the world's first to draw and paint 'from sight' without human help, "she" also has her own fashion line made by fashion designer, Zoe Corsellis.
"My partner and I were having lunch with Aidan Meller when he told us about his amazing idea to create the world’s first AI female artist robot," Corsellis explains. "My first thought was, this is bonkers but equally amazing. My second thought was, what is she going to wear?"
But how does designing for robots differ from designing for humans? Does robot fashion have a place in our future? Corsellis caught up with the Evening Standard to find out what it takes to be an AI atelier.
What was the inspiration behind Ai-Da's wardrobe?
The inspiration behind my inaugural women's collection 'Retro-Futurism' was old school childhood Sci-Fi TV such as Buck Rodgers. This theme, by chance, tied in very nicely with the whole AI concept, so with a few tweaks, I was able to design a bespoke collection for Ai-Da based on the same inspiration as my debut collection.
How does designing clothes for robots differ from designing for humans?
Ai-Da has a slightly more complex figure than a woman with ‘squidgy bits’. There was a very thorough measuring of Ai-Da, followed by meetings with our senior pattern cutters to work out the correct sizing. We also had to take in to consideration how we would actually fit the clothes to her. Her legs are fixed and there is a lot of fragile tech that we had to be careful not to interfere with.
She also needed free movement to allow her to produce her art. Once we worked out the logistical problems, the bespoke collection came to life.
What are Ai-Da's clothes made from?
All of Ai-Da’s art has been influenced by nature and the environment and this was a massive inspiration for what her clothes should be made from too. There is greater awareness of where clothes are being made and what they are being made from. Therefore, I felt it was very important for this collection to be made from sustainable fabrics.
The dresses and her artist’s smock are all made from a variety of ethical fabrics, including organic cottons, recycled fabrics, peace silks, Tencel jerseys and fibres derived from sea waste - in particular, fishing nets. Sea waste is very topical at the moment and I wanted to do my bit to ensure we clean up our oceans.
Where are Ai-Da's clothes made?
We are a British brand and England has a worldwide reputation for great tailoring and craftsmanship. We wanted to help keep the skills required for making clothes alive in the UK, and consequently, all of our clothes have been sampled and made in England.
This also helps to ensure that each garment’s carbon footprint is as low as possible, that our supply chain is ethical, and that everyone involved in the production is being treated fairly.
Is robot fashion something designers will have to think more about in future?
Definitely! Artificial Intelligence has, and will, continue to change how we all live our lives, there is no escaping this.
People feel more comfortable with technology that they can relate to, and that is why many of the robots that can help us with our every day needs are taking human form. So unless we want all of our future robot companions to walk around naked, it’s important to start considering their apparel needs too!