Laura-Maria Schober: Artificial Intelligence in the Fashion Industry

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Student Talk is a series of interviews with students that have developed their thesis under my supervision at IUBH University of Applied Sciences on projects we have designed for MusicStats.org and that have achieved an outstanding performance.

The main purpose of Student Talk is to showcase talented students, support their professional digital trace, highlight their ideas and hopefully inspire new students.

In this issue we open the stage for Laura-Maria Schober. She is a highly dedicated alumni that developed an excellent research project involving the use of artificial intelligence in the fashion industry to co-create during the development of products.

Laura-Maria, the stage is yours!


INTERVIEW

1. MusicStats.org: Laura-Maria, tell us a bit about your life story, where you come from, what study program you attended, what are your passions and what are you doing at this stage in life.

I started at IUBH in 2014 after I came back to Europe from an Au Pair year in the States. I was attending the International Hospitality Program, since I loved the program structure (international internship + a year studying abroad) and since I was eager to learn more about the business world.

I did my internship in Spain in the MICE Sales Department of the Fairmont Barcelona, and received my first bachelor’s degree in Sydney, Australia. After I came back from Australia I still had one semester and my thesis left, however I already started to look for new opportunities to grow and learn.

I already started to feel that hospitality was probably not the industry I wanted to work in for the rest of my life and so I thought why not align my future career to my passions and main interests: psychology, helping people to develop and to become the best version of themselves. Therefor I decided to do a certificate in person-centered coaching that is based on the psychological principles of Carl Rogers. And this is what I am doing now: I recently started my own business as Personal Development- and Mental Trainer and I am highly enjoying the journey.

2. MusicStats.org: You have developed a research thesis of exceptional quality. How would you describe your study (Please include research aim, when it took place, method (s), data collection process and sample sizes)?

The purpose of my study was to find out about the perception of professionals towards co-creation with artificial intelligence during product development and creation, with a special focus on professionals from the fashion industry. The question was whether the technology is seen as an opportunity to augment performance or rather as a threat to one´s skills and ultimately job. In order to assess these perceptions and attitudes, I developed a self-administered survey with a sample size of 108 participants and I conducted semi-structured interviews with a sample size of five with experts from the fashion industry.

3. MusicStats.org: What are the main application (s) of your research findings for society or the industry? And how would you suggest for researchers to advance in this topic?

My study found, that the majority of respondents did not have a proper understanding about what artificial technologies are and how they can transform major industries. Most interviewees were not aware how AI works and in what ways it can be applied. Furthermore, the study showed that there was a positive correlation between the knowledge about AI and the attitude towards it. In other words: The more knowledge and experience employees have, the stronger are the advocacy and the acceptance of AI as a co-creator.

This insight can be helpful for businesses who want to embed artificial intelligence applications into their processes and therefore, the key to create a successful synergy between employees and artificial intelligence lies in effective training and education.

For further research on this topic I would suggest conducting a similar study within one corporation in order for employers to get insight information about their employee´s attitudes and emotions towards AI.

Fashiom

 4. MusicStats.org: If you were to start all over again, what would you have done differently in your study?

When I think back now, I spent way too much time at the beginning with finding a structure and headlines for the literature review, instead of just starting to write and see how the thesis evolves. Obviously, you need to have a certain overview about what topics and frameworks to include, however, you will find out the majority during the writing process. In short: Just start writing and dive into the topic and the process will be way faster and effective.

 5. MusicStats.org: As you have achieved an exceptional performance writing your thesis, what are the main suggestions you would give to any student that is about to start or is already writing their thesis?

  • As just mentioned: get an overview about to the topic but then just start writing! You can always delete some sections in case they do not fit into your research anymore but just get going!
  • Always make sure that you create a nice flow for the reader! Have the right order of topics in your literature review and make it a priority to have good transitions between the paragraphs! Also, always keep in mind that your thesis should be understandable for anyone who reads it. Do not assume that everyone is an expert in your domain, so explain everything really well even though it might seem obvious for you!
  • When you write a paragraph, make sure that each sentence you write is essential for it. To explain what I mean with this I am going to show you the metaphor our academic writing teacher at the Bad Reichenhall campus taught us:

Imagine a flip flop and a high heel. Now imagine that you are in a club and a person wearing a flip flop steps on your foot. Well… nothing really happens, you hardly realize it. However, now imagine that a person wearing a high heel steps on your foot. Ouch! You will definitely remember that. So, what I am trying to tell you is to only write high heel sentences! Write sentences that are on point and only contain information that really contributes to your research.

  • In case you are doing interviews as your primary research: Make sure you have reliable interview participants. When I started my thesis I had everything planned, who I was going to interview, and these people also ensured me that they will be available once I have my interview questions ready. Well… the exact opposite was the case. I found myself last minute searching for suitable interviewees, since the original interviewees bailed out, and only thanks to the help of some amazing friends I was able to get the right amount of interview participants.
  • DON´T STRESS!! It will all work out!

6. MusicStats.org: How important is music in your life and what does it mean to you?

Music plays a big role in my life. It motivates me when I need motivation and it helps me calm down when I need to relax. I listen to it before every meeting, simply to push myself and to be my best self.

It always amazes me how music can change your frame of mind. I often find myself so moved by a certain piece of music that it makes me feel happy or grateful or strong throughout my whole body.

7. MusicStats.org: What were you listening to while writing your thesis? In addition, what would suggest for anyone to listen while writing his or her research?

To be honest, I cannot focus on writing when listening to music, so while I was working on my thesis it was always quiet. However, during my breaks, I was listening to Muse, Imagine Dragons and the Beatles to keep me in a good mood and to stay motivated. When I needed to relax The Lumineers and Angus & Julia Stone were my go to music.

I remember, that on the day I submitted my thesis I was listening to the song Glorious by Macklemore and I truly felt glorious :D. And I am sure you will too, on that special day!

8. MusicStats.org: Finally, what are your next professional plans and how can employers find you?

As I mentioned above, I am currently starting my own business as Mental and Personal Development Trainer. I have my office at the Adenauerallee in Bonn, where I am working in a team of trainers/ coaches and where we offer personal development classes and individual coaching sessions.

Potential clients can reach me at: info@lauramariaschober.de or through my LinkedIn profile.

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