Stitch Fix uses algorithms to dress its customers
The next time you see a well-dressed individual walking down the street, consider that the spiffy outfit might be the work of a computer algorithm.
Several companies including one called Stitch Fix (stitchfix.com) offer fashion delivered on demand using data analysis software and machine learning to match users with personalized clothing choices.
The first time users try the 5-year-old service, they answer a few dozen questions about their size, style
Eand the body parts they like to flaunt. Stitch Fix takes that data and plugs it into its algorithms, which come up with a list of clothing options. Then a human stylist reviews those choices, selects five items, and ships them. The customer has the option to buy the items or return them, free of charge. If the customer buys nothing, he or she pays a $20 styling fee per box.
Customers can schedule regular deliveries or order one box at a time. When signing up for the service, they choose from a range of clothing price options — including “the cheaper, the better.”
EStitch Fix’s software learns more about each customer every time he or she receives a shipment.
“I’ve seen the things that come in my box start to adapt to more what my personal style is,” said Kelly Walker, a music teacher at Willow Glen High School in San Jose, Calif.
But the company doesn’t always get it right.
“One time definitely there was a sweater in there that I was like, ‘umm, this isn’t really my style,’ ” Walker said. “It was very loose and very baggy.”
StitchFix uses 50 algorithms to conduct its dayto-day business. Aside from the formulas it uses to pick out clothes, it also has algorithms to assign each shopper to one of its 3,000 human stylists. Its tech systems figure out which Stitch Fix warehouse a client’s clothes should come from, determine which styles and how many of each item Stitch Fix should stock and even design custom pieces.
Chicago-based Trunk Club offers a similar service. So does New Yorkbased Bombfell, a fashion delivery service for men that mines users’ Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages for clues about their personal style.