8 by Yoox Col­lec­tion Pow­ered by AI Bows To­day

The men’s and women’s brand is owned by Yoox and de­buts with the fall sea­son.

WWD Digital Daily - - News - BY LUISA ZARGANI

MI­LAN — Yoox is to­day un­veil­ing its own brand, called 8 by Yoox, which is driven by ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence. The col­lec­tion of essen­tials launches with the fall sea­son and will be fol­lowed in Jan­uary by the spring col­lec­tion.

“As a group, we have one bil­lion peo­ple visit our plat­form and the amount of data is re­ally amaz­ing — we know what the Rus­sians fa­vor and that's dif­fer­ent from what the Ja­pa­nese want and that's dif­fer­ent from what the Chi­nese, the Cana­di­ans and the Si­cil­ians want,” Yoox Net-a-porter Group chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Fed­erico Marchetti told WWD.

The in­for­ma­tion is fed into an al­go­rithm pre­pared by the group's Re­search and Devel­op­ment sec­tor, ex­plained Marchetti, which “puts to­gether all the trends gen­er­ated by cus­tomers, as well as data from so­cial me­dia, Twit­ter trends and hash­tags, mix­ing words, im­ages and col­ors. The ma­chine blends this data from clients and from the out­side world and it pro­duces a mood board, then the team in­ter­prets and de­fines what cus­tomers would like. These are prod­ucts made by our cus­tomer and for our cus­tomers.”

Marchetti em­pha­sized how “the enor­mous quan­tity of data and the so­phis­ti­cated tech­nol­ogy” is bal­anced by the hu­man in­volve­ment. “There is a bal­ance be­tween man and ma­chine, we would never pro­duce items gen­er­ated by data alone or by peo­ple only. It's the com­bi­na­tion of the two that make prod­ucts we be­lieve can be suc­cess­ful.” Asked if the brand could be de­fined as gen­er­ated by crowd­sourc­ing, Marchetti re­sponded, “No, this is ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence ap­plied on prod­ucts.”

The ex­ec­u­tive in­sisted that Yoox is not launch­ing a fash­ion line. “We have no am­bi­tion to be dubbed as fash­ion de­sign­ers,” he said, un­der­scor­ing that the col­lec­tion will con­sist of easy-to-wear essen­tials for men and women. The first col­lec­tion in­cludes T- shirts, jack­ets, coats, dresses, trousers and sweaters, in line with the Yoox af­ford­able price range and the cus­tomers' fa­vorite trends, sleeve lengths, neck­line shapes, fab­rics, tex­tures and heel heights. “We are de­vel­op­ing prod­ucts with an un­der­ly­ing con­sis­tency be­cause this is what cus­tomers want,” said Marchetti, adding the av­er­age core cus­tomer base of Yoox is aged be­tween 25 and 45.

Marchetti said 8 by Yoox has been in the works for a while, as the tech­nol­ogy was be­ing de­vel­oped, and has come to life af­ter a soft launch and test­ing pe­riod. “We've seen ex­cel­lent re­sults, which have given us more con­fi­dence. This is the right mo­ment [for the of­fi­cial un­veil­ing], Yoox has come of age,” he said of the e-tailer, which he founded and launched in 2000. Asked if Mr P, the in-house col­lec­tion launched by Mr Porter last year, was an in­flu­ence in the con­cep­tion of 8 by Yoox, Marchetti ad­mit­ted that “surely, Mr P is an­other el­e­ment boost­ing our con­fi­dence, but we trea­sure and share in­for­ma­tion, best prac­tices, data and ex­per­tise within the group.”

Its name, 8 or “Otto” in Ital­ian, “re­calls the sym­bol of the in­fi­nite and the per­pet­ual mo­tion to sym­bol­ize the in­no­va­tive re­search that sits be­hind its cre­ation.” The de­sign of the logo is a play on the “oo” of the Yoox moniker, which was cho­sen to rep­re­sent the pair­ing of the bi­nary code em­braced by the Y and X of the male and fe­male chro­mo­somes. “The dou­ble ‘oo' refers to a tech­nol­ogy al­ways in di­a­logue with hu­mans and their crafts­man­ship and tal­ent,” said Marchetti.

The en­tre­pre­neur con­ceded he did not know if this was the first time ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence was ap­plied to fash­ion, but he did un­der­score that it was a unique propo­si­tion as Yoox is “a com­bi­na­tion of fash­ion-savvy, very so­phis­ti­cated cus­tomers,” whose indicators are “in­ter­preted by a team of prod­uct devel­op­ment.”

While de­clin­ing to pro­vide es­ti­mated rev­enues to be gen­er­ated by 8 by Yoox, Marchetti said the group was “think­ing long-term, this is not a mar­ket­ing ploy. We think big.”

In 2017, the multi­brand, off-sea­son busi­ness line, which in­cludes Yoox and The Out­net, recorded sales of

789.6 mil­lion eu­ros, a 13.3 per­cent rise com­pared with 2016. This chan­nel ac­counted for 37.8 per­cent of to­tal sales.

In Jan­uary, Com­pag­nie Fi­nan­cière Richemont SA launched a vol­un­tary ten­der of­fer for all or­di­nary shares of the Yoox Neta-porter Group SpA at 38 eu­ros a share, for a value of up to 2.77 bil­lion eu­ros. Richemont's plan was to ac­quire 51 per­cent of the YNAP shares it did not al­ready own, valu­ing YNAP at about 5.3 bil­lion eu­ros.

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